Sunday, January 29, 2017

India Post Payments Bank gets RBI nod to start ops

NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given its nod to the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) to start operations. The government has also appointed an interim CEO, who will help set up the entity.

IPPB is the third entity (got final licence from RBI on January 20) after Airtel and Paytm payment banks to get the central bank's approval, sources said. Operations are expected to start before March 31 and will be gradually rolled out in 650 districts using the network of 1.54 lakh post offices. 

The government has appointed A P Singh as the interim managing director and CEO of IPPB. A 1986 batch Indian Postal Service officer, Singh was earlier joint secretary in the department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM). He has also served as the deputy director general in-charge of financial inclusion and payment systems in the founding team of UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India). The Aadhaar enabled payments system, e-kyc (electronic know your customer) and direct benefit transfers were piloted by him. 

Payments banks are brainchild of former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, who came up with the idea of differentiated bank licences. These banks do not offer loans and several other facilities that are offered by full-fledged banks and are not allowed to accept deposits over Rs 1 lakh. But, they can be of immense help in taking banking services across the country and in remote areas.

Earlier this month, Airtel Payments Bank launched nationwide operations, offering 7.25% interest on savings, which is more than maximum 7% paid by SBI on FDs. Paytm is expected to start operations of its payments bank next month.

The India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has been incorporated as a public limited company under the department of posts with 100% equity from the government.

It will offer demand deposits such as savings and current accounts up to Rs 1 lakh, digitally-enabled payments and remittance services of all kinds between entities and individuals and also provide access to third party financial services such as insurance, mutual funds, pension, credit products, forex, and more, in partnership with insurance companies, mutual fund houses, pension providers, banks, international money transfer organisations, according to its website.

The postal payment bank will use postmen to help deliver banking services. The huge network of post offices provides enough muscle to the new player and it has also drawn up plans to offer services through internet and mobile banking, and pre-paid instruments such as mobile wallets, debit cards, ATMs, PoS (point of sale) and MPoS (mobile point of sale) terminals. Postmen will trained in soft skills to be able to carry out banking operations. 

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