Indian Central Bank rejects Chaitanya India Fin Credit’s bid to become a bank, a major setback for Flipkart billionaire Sachina Bansala, who sought take his new venture, Navi, Public.
The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday rejected four bids, including Chaitanya Bansala (a microfinance division of Navi Technologies), saying they were “unfit” to run full-fledged banks in the world’s second most populous market.
Tuesday’s decision is a serious blow to Bansal, who has been seeking a banking license for years. The license would pave the way for the Bansala firm, which offers customers insurance and credit products, improves its financial performance and launches additional products.
A full banking license in India would allow Navi to take customer deposits and then use these funds to lend to others. (Otherwise, firms should look for other banks and sources of financing where borrowing costs them more interest.) The license would also allow Navi to make international transactions and run its own credit cards, a financial technology manager who wishes to be explained anonymously.
Bansal, who was in a separate press release at the time of the announcement, said Navi would analyze the central bank’s decision and evaluate options. Bansal, who was a co-founder of Flipkart, left the e-commerce giant in 2018 and founded Navi in the same year. He introduced Navi as a technology-savvy financial company.
“We will ask [the] RBI is the reason for this decision. This decision can be appealed from us, ”he said, adding that this decision is“ not the end of the road ”for the startup.
Navi, which applied for an IPO of $ 440 million earlier this year, applied for a banking license in early 2020. Earlier, the startup tried to hold a round of financing worth more than $ 4 billion and cooperated with a number of investors, including SoftBank, but negotiations previously reported by TechCrunch, fell due to inability to obtain a license.
Local media reports in recent quarters have said that Navi allegedly violates foreign exchange rules, fights to maintain good governance at the firm and does not handle personal and confidential customer data responsibly.
The other three firms that have not reduced the RBI to a universal banking license are the UAE Exchange, the Cooperative Finance and Repatriation Development Bank, and a proposal by former Citibank CEO Pankaj Vaisha. The RBI has been very conservative in issuing banking licenses in the country. Over the last 10 years only a few firms, including Bandhan and IDFC First.