The objectives of setting up of small finance banks is to further financial inclusion by
- provision of savings vehicles
- supply of credit to small business units; small and marginal farmers; micro and small industries; and other unorganised sector entities, through high technology-low cost operations
The small finance bank shall primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to unserved and underserved sections including small business units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities.
Capital Requirements – Small Finance Banks
The minimum paid-up equity capital for small finance banks is Rs. 100 crore. The promoter’s minimum initial contribution to the paid-up equity capital of such small finance bank shall at least be 40 per cent and gradually brought down to 26 per cent within 12 years from the date of commencement of business of the bank. The foreign shareholding in the small finance bank would be as per the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy for private sector banks
RBI Norms applicable to SFC
- The small finance bank will be subject to all prudential norms and regulations of RBI as applicable to existing commercial banks including requirement of maintenance of Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR). No forbearance would be provided for complying with the statutory provisions.
- The small finance banks will be required to extend 75 per cent of its Adjusted Net Bank Credit (ANBC) to the sectors eligible for classification as priority sector lending (PSL) by the Reserve Bank.
- At least 50 per cent of its loan portfolio should constitute loans and advances of upto Rs. 25 lakh
- it shall be required to maintain a minimum capital adequacy ratio of 15 per cent of its risk weighted assets (RWA) on a continuous basis, subject to any higher percentage as may be prescribed by RBI from time to time. Tier I capital should be at least 7.5 per cent of RWAs. Tier II capital should be limited to a maximum of 100 per cent of total Tier I capital.
Who is eligible?
Resident individuals/professionals with 10 years of experience in banking and finance; and Companies and Societies owned and controlled by residents will be eligible as promoters to set up small finance banks. Existing Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs), Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs), and LABs that are owned and controlled by residents can also opt for conversion into small finance banks after complying with all legal and regulatory requirements of various authorities and if they conform to these guidelines. However, joint ventures by different promoter groups for the purpose of setting up small finance banks would not be permitted. As local focus and the ability to serve smaller customers will be the key criteria in licensing such banks, this may be a more appropriate vehicle for local players or players who are focussed on lending to unserved / underserved sections of the society. Accordingly, proposals from large public sector entities and industrial and business houses, including from NBFCs promoted by them, will not be entertained.
Promoter / Promoter Groups as defined in the SEBI (Issue of Capital & Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2009 should be ‘fit and proper’ in order to be eligible to promote small finance banks. RBI would assess the ‘fit and proper’ status of the applicants on the basis of their past record of sound credentials and integrity; financial soundness and successful track record of professional experience or of running their businesses, etc. for at least a period of five years.
List of Small Finance Banks in India
Some of the Small Finance Banks in India are:
- Ujjivan Small Finance Bank.
- Janalakshmi Small Finance Bank.
- Equitas Small Finance Bank.
- A U Small Finance Bank.
- Capital Small Finance Bank.
- ESAF Small Finance Bank.
- Utkarsh Small Finance Bank.
- Suryoday Small Finance Bank.
- Fincare Small Finance Bank.
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