NITI Aayog Releases Report On Digital Banks, Proposes Licensing And Regulatory Regime

by Swarajya Staff - Jul 21, 2022 09:04 AM +05:30 IST
NITI Aayog Releases Report On Digital Banks, Proposes Licensing And Regulatory RegimeRepresentative Image

NITI Aayog on Wednesday (20 July) released a report to offer a template and roadmap for a licensing and regulatory regime for digital banks.

The report, released by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Suman Bery and its CEO Parameswaran Iyer, focuses on avoiding any regulatory or policy arbitrage and offers a level playing field to incumbents as well as competitors.

‘Given the need for leveraging technology effectively to cater to the needs of banking in India, this report studies the prevailing gaps, the niches that remain underserved, and the global regulatory best practices in licensing digital banks,’ said NITI Aayog CEO Iyer.

The report recommends a carefully calibrated approach, comprising the following steps:

  1. Issue of a restricted digital bank licence (to a given applicant) (the license would be restricted in terms of volume/value of customers serviced and the like).

  2. Enlistment (of the licensee) in a regulatory sandbox framework enacted by the Reserve Bank of India.

  3. Issue of a ‘full-scale’ digital bank licence (contingent on satisfactory performance of the licensee in the regulatory sandbox, including salient, prudential and technological risk management).

The report also maps prevalent business models in this domain and highlights the challenges presented by the ‘partnership model’ of neo-banking - which has emerged in India due to a regulatory vacuum and in the absence of a digital bank licence.

The methodology for the licensing and regulatory template offered by the report is based on an equally weighted ‘digital bank regulatory index’. This comprises four factors - (i) entry barriers; (ii) competition; (iii) business restrictions; and (iv) technological neutrality.

The elements of these four factors are then mapped against the five benchmark jurisdictions of Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Australia and South Korea.

The report has been prepared by NITI Aayog based on inter-ministerial consultations.

NITI Aayog had last year released a discussion on the subject for wider stakeholder consultations. The comments received from 24 organisations were suitably addressed in the final report, a NITI Aayog release said.

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