Banking Current Affairs 2017 – Download PDF

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Current Affairs 2017


BANKING CURRENT AFFAIRS 2017

January 2017

Axis Bank becomes third lender to offer block chain  service

Private sector Axis Bank has become the third lender in the country to announce usage of block chain  solutions for its operations, after its peers ICICI Bank and Yes Bank.

The Shikha Sharma-led bank, the third largest private sector lender, will be using the upcoming technology for cross-border remittances.

Citibank launches voice verification for phone  banking

Foreign lender Citi India has launched voice biometrics authentication that would replace the current practice of interactive voice response (IVR) for its customers.

The new technology allows clients to use their voiceprints for authentication rather than having to remember multiple PINs or respond to questions used for verifying their identities.

World Bank drops India’s growth rate to 7 %

The World Bank has sharply cut its economic growth forecast for India to 7 per cent in 2016-17 after taking into account the impact of demonetisation and the fall in private investments.

This growth forecast is lower than the 7.6 per cent growth projected in the middle of last year.

Airtel launches its payments bank across India

Airtel Payments Bank (APB), a joint venture between Bharti Airtel Ltd and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, said it will spend Rs3,000 crore to develop a pan-India banking network and digital payments ecosystem.

Through their 80:20 joint venture, Bharti and Kotak aim to disrupt a banking system that has gradually woken up to changing technology and yet incurred heavy costs in serving customers.

ICICI blocked transactions on our payments app: PhonePe CEO

ICICI Bank Ltd has blocked transactions on payments app PhonePe in at least the second such instance of a commercial bank trying to protect its turf against non-bank mobile wallet  and payment companies.

PhonePe is a unified payments interface (UPI) app which works on the ecosystem created by the National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI).

Mahindra Asset Management launches Mahindra Mutual Fund Dhan Sanchay Yojna scheme

Mahindra Asset Management Company Pvt. Ltd (MAMCPL) has announced launch of Mahindra Mutual Fund Dhan Sanchay Yojna scheme.  The scheme will close on January 24 and will reopen for continuous sale and repurchase from February 8. The scheme is for those investors who seek to take a calculated exposure in both equity and debt with a long term investment outlook.

Airtel’s Payments Bank Starts Operation with Initial Investment of Rs. 3000 Crore

Country’s largest telecom player Bharti Airtel had said it would make an initial investment of Rs 3,000 crore to build a pan-India banking system and a digital payment eco-system.

Airtel Payments Bank became the first among several such niche banks to start operations, after RBI handed over new permits to bring financial services within the reach of millions who still lack access to formal banking.

SBI-Omanese fund SGRF launches second India-focused Private Equity

The Oman-India Joint Investment Fund (OIJIF), a mid-market India-focused private equity fund, announced the first closure of its second fund, OIJIF Fund II with an initial corpus of USD 220 million.

The two investors in the fund State Bank of India and State General Reserve Fund of Oman (SGRF) which have backed the first fund continue to be investors in OIJIF Fund II. The size of the first fund was USD 100 million and closed in 2011.

PNB, India Post Bank team up

Punjab National Bank and India Post Payments Bank have signed a memorandum of understanding, whereby PNB will provide technology platform for pilot launch of IPPB on receipt of regulatory nod from the Reserve Bank of India.

IPPB has been incorporated under the Department of Posts with 100 per cent government equity.

Punjab National Bank Launches Contactless Credit Card

Punjab National Bank (PNB) has launched a Contactless Credit Card. This new credit card, which has been named PNB Wave N Pay Contactless Card, was launched by Usha Ananthasubramanian, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer.

This card could be used by just waving it across the terminal and the transaction will be through. There is no need to enter any PIN for transactions up to Rs 2,000. The cardholder has full charge back rights on the misuse,

119 banks connected with Aadhaar-enabled payment system: Minister

The government has said 119 banks are connected with the Aadhaar-enabled payment system and 33.87 crore transactions have taken place through Aadhaar-enabled payment systems.

The government will soon roll out the Aadhaar Pay service. “With this, people can visit any merchant, share their Aadhaar numbers and verify themselves using biometrics to pay and receive money.

The government has linked the BHIM app with Aadhaar so that transactions through the app happen in a transparent manner.

SBI Launches Wealth Management Product SBI Exclusif in Kochi

State Bank of India (SBI) has launched ‘SBI Exclusif,’ its wealth management offering, in Kochi. It will be rolled out in other cities in the state during the course of the year. Launching the product, S Venkataraman, Chief General Manager, SBI, Kerala Circle, said that wealth management has been one of the strategic priorities of the bank.

Digi Dhan Mela launched in Andaman & Nicobar Islands

In order to promote cashless transaction, the first ‘Digi Dhan’ mela has organised in Gurugram on December 26 where customers will be able to purchase items only by making digital payment.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar will inaugurate the mela. This is the first such fair in the country since demonetisation for educating masses on how to use mobile phones for making purchases.

RBI Prohibits FDI in Non-Cooperative Countries

Reserve Bank has prohibited Indian entities from making direct investments in any entity located in ‘non co-operative countries and territories’, as identified by the inter-governmental body FATF.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) currently comprises two regional organisations and 35 member jurisdictions, including India, US, UK, China and the European Commission.

Karnataka Bank inks pact with Tirth Agro Technology

Karnataka Bank Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Rajkot-based Tirth Agro Technology Pvt Ltd (manufacturer of agricultural equipment and implements) for financing agricultural mechanisation.

The bank has a network of 740 branches in 21 states and two Union Territories. Tirth Agro Technology Pvt Ltd manufactures agricultural implements under the brand name ‘Shaktiman’.

India Post Payments Bank starts pilot services

India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has kicked off its operations by rolling out pilot services in Raipur and Ranchi.

The paid up equity of the new bank is ₹800 crore, of which the government has already infused Rs.275 crore

FGII Enters Into Bancassurance Tie-Up with Bank Of Maharashtra

Future Generali India Insurance Company Ltd (FGIL) has entered into a corporate agency tie-up for its products with Bank of Maharashtra (BOM), a public sector bank.

With this tie-up, BOM’s customers will be able to avail of motor, home, shopkeeper and rural insurance products at any of the 1,896 branches of the bank.

February 2017

Lakshmi Vilas Bank Partners with Fisdom for Mission FINFIT

The private sector lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank in partnership with Bangalore based fin-tech startup firm Fisdom, has launched a mobile application Mission FINFIT to offer the customers of the bank financial planning and personal wealth management services based on Robot advisory.

BoB to finance small units in diamond sector at concessional rates

To give a leg up to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in the diamond industry, Bank of Baroda is planning to launch a supply chain financing product for the industry on a pilot basis in Surat.

Cutting and polishing units, which procure roughs from large companies and supply finished products back, will be provided finance at a competitive rate of interest.

HDFC Bank, KMB go live with Bharat Bill Payment System

Private sector lenders HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank are live with the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) that is aimed at easing utility and other repetitive bill payments for consumers.

The BBPS is a centralised system created by the National Payments Corporation, involving banks and non-banks and allows agents to access bill payments services in an interoperable manner

IDFC Bank, India Lends tie-up for loan services to 01st timers

Private sector lender IDFC Bank has collaborated with fintech startup IndiaLends to enable first time borrowers who do not have a credit history to take loans.

IDFC Bank said it is a differentiated personal loan solution which will offer instant loans approvals through a completely digitised process to first time borrowers.

PNB Housing Finance limited & CREDAI-West Bengal Signs MoU to train construction workers in West Bengal

PNB Housing Finance Limited (PNBHFL) has signed an MOU with CREDAI West Bengal to train 1000 construction workers in Kolkata and nearby villages.  CREDAI-Bengal would also be setting up permanent (off-site) skill development centres in Medinipur and Murshidabad – places with huge concentration of construction labour.

RBI to set up panel on strengthening cyber security

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to set up an inter-disciplinary panel on cybersecurity to examine various threats and suggest measures to deal with it.

While banks have taken steps to strengthen their defences, the diverse and ingenious nature of recent cyberattacks necessitates an ongoing review of the cybersecurity landscape and emerging threats.

HDFC Bank increases cash transaction fees on savings a/cs

The country’s second-largest private sector lender HDFC Bank has decided to steeply increase the fees for savings account holders on a slew of activities involving cash.

HDFC Bank has decided to steeply raise the charges on certain transactions, capping cash component in others and also introducing charges on certain transactions from March 1.

Government appoints 3 whole-time members in IBBI

Government has appointed four nominees, including two joint secretaries, to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI). M S Sahoo, who has served as member of fair trade regulator CCI and markets watchdog Sebi, took charge as IBBI Chairperson.

Catholic Syrian Bank’s ‘name and shame’ campaign starts paying dividends

The ‘name and shame campaign’ initiated by Catholic Syrian Bank Employees and Retirees against wilful defaulters in Kerala seems to have started paying dividends.

Of the 30 defaulters identified by the bank with dues of more than ₹50 lakh each, 10 borrowers have already approached the bank with settlement proposals, following dharnas organised at 20 locations in the State.

World Bank Group to conduct training programmes for NBFCs

International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, has teamed up with Finance Industry Development Council (FIDC) to conduct training programmes for Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs).

The training programmes will be on ‘movable asset financing’ and ‘commercial credit reporting’

Centre Allocates Rs. 500 crore to India Post Payments Bank for FY18

Government has allocated an amount of Rs 500 crore to India Post Payments Bank for the financial year 2017-18 to help it in setting up 650 branches across country by September 2017.

As per Output-Outcome Framework for Schemes 2017-18 for the Department of Posts released that out of the allocated amount, Rs. 125 crore has been allocated as capital infusion into corporate entity for India Post Payments Bank and Rs 375 crore as grant in aid to India Post Payments Bank (IPPB).

AIIMS Delhi wins Rs.5-crore govt award for cleanliness

AIIMS was awarded a cash prize of Rs 5 crore for maintaining high standards in sanitation and hygiene and was followed by Shillong’s North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) who came second and received a cash prize of Rs 3 crore for cleanliness.

The third position was awarded to Chandigarh’s Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), who received a cash prize of Rs 1 crore.

RBI Doubles Gold Loan Limit for Regional Rural Banks to Rs. 2 lakhs

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that regional rural banks (RRBs) can grant gold loans up to Rs2 lakh with bullet repayment option against the current limit of Rs1 lakh.

Under bullet repayment schedule, loan amount is paid at the end of maturity. The loans with a bullet repayment will have a maximum maturity of 12 months and the loan-to-value ratio should be 75% of the gold pledged.

Govt launches its own QR code BharatQR for cashless payments

BharatQR, another e-payment medium which has been termed the world’s first interoperable and low cost acceptance solution, was launched by the National Payments Corporation of India, MasterCard and Visa.

This is another step in the direction of making India a less-cash economy, said a joint press release by the companies.

SIDBI, Vijaya Bank combine to provide concessional loans to micro, small units

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Vijaya Bank for providing concessional finance to micro and small enterprises (MSEs).

The MoU aims at promoting and strengthening units in the MSE segment through concessional funding — that is, at the marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR) of Vijaya Bank under refinance from SIDBI.

SBI merger with five associate banks from April 1

The government has said that 1 April will be the record date for the merger of State Bank of India (SBI) with five of its associate banks.

The associate banks are State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Travancore (SBT), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) and State Bank of Patiala (SBP).

Visa-AP sign MoU to make Vizag India’s first ‘less cash’ city

Global payments network Visa has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Andhra Pradesh government to help transform Vishakhapatnam into India’s first ‘less cash’ city.

This initiative is designed to provide the foundation for the city to emerge as India’s ‘Fintech Valley’. Another focus area of Visa will be to provide support to FinTech start-ups by providing access to Visa’s APIs, providing subject matter expertise, and participating in boot camps and hackathons.

India, ADB ink $375 mn loan pact for industrial corridor

India and ADB have signed USD 375 million pact for loans and grants to develop 800—km Visakhapatnam—Chennai Industrial Corridor, which is the first phase of a planned 2,500-km East Coast Economic Corridor. ADB had last September approved USD 631 million in loans and grants for the industrial corridor.

Dena Bank rolls out RFID-enabled cards to serve valued clients better

Dena Bank has introduced RFID-enabled banking cards whereby a branch/relationship manager can identify a valued client entering a branch with the card.

The RFID card is being introduced in select branches, and Dena Bank JVPD branch (Mumbai) is the first branch to be enabled with RFID technology.

SoftBank, Foxconn form joint venture to expand investments

Japan’s SoftBank Group and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Co. Ltd will soon begin operating a joint venture that deepens ties between two of Asia’s biggest technology companies.

The move will give Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., a 54.5% stake in one of SoftBank’s existing subsidiaries for $6 million and comes as both groups step up investments in the technology sector and consider expansion in the US.

Government Issues Sovereign Gold Bonds 2016-17-Series IV

Praising National Stock Exchange (NSE) for its efforts so far for the Sovereign Gold Bond scheme, the Finance Ministry has written to this bourse urging it to actively create awareness among investors even for the upcoming fourth series. The fourth series of gold bond scheme will open and close on March 3. The bonds will be issued on March 17.

Apollo Munich and Dena Bank Enters Into Bancassurance Tie-Up

Standalone health insurer Apollo Munich Health Insurance said it is expanding its footprint across the country with bancassurance tie-up with state-owned Dena Bank. Under the tie-up the bank will distribute customised Apollo Munich Health insurance and personal accident policies to the bank’s 20 million customers nationwide.

Inter-disciplinary standing committee been appointed to review cyber threats by RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to set up an inter-disciplinary panel on cyber security to examine various threats and suggest measures to deal with it.

The panel will review the threats inherent in the existing or emerging technology on an ongoing basis. The committee will suggest appropriate policy interventions to strengthen cyber security and resilience.

KVGB brings 13 villages under digital banking

Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB) has made 13 villages under its jurisdiction as 100 per cent digital villages for banking activities, according to S Ravindran, Chairman of KVGB.

Eugene E Karthak, Regional Director of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Bengaluru, to Hulasageri village in Bagalkot district, he said the bank is planning to make 100 villages as 100 per cent digital for banking activities by the end of the current financial year.

Oriental Bank Ties Up With Chola MS To Sell Insurance Products

Haryana based Oriental Bank of Commerce has signed a corporate agency agreement with Chennai based general insurance provider Cholamandalam General Insurance Company for distribution of insurance products. The partnership will benefit our customers and through this ties up. The insurance products include motor, health, home and travel.

March 2017

Get all accounts on net banking by March 31: Govt to banks

The government may make all savings bank accounts automatically Internet-enabled by March 31, in another step to further ease the use of cashless transactions.

As of now, 65 per cent of bank account holders are Internet banking-enabled and 35 per cent have not linked their accounts to Internet banking. The government wants to make these accounts Internet-enabled by March 31.

American Express launches ‘Buyer Initiated Payments’ to eliminate cheque, draft payments

Global leader in payment solutions American Express has announced the launch of Buyer Initiated Payments (BIP), an electronic payment platform linked to corporate card that reduces processing costs and offers extended payment terms compared to traditional invoice payments.

BIP enables companies to increase the Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) while still paying vendors on time. This web-based tool linked to Corporate Card fits and works within existing processes and includes reconciliation reporting that simplifies tracking vendor payments.

Lakshmi Vilas Bank ties with Centrum for its wealthy clients

Centrum Group will offer wealth management services to rich clients of Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) as part of a tie-up.

The bank will refer its high-net worth individual (HNI) clients to Centrum Wealth Management, which will manage their investment portfolios.

Centrum Wealth manages assets of around Rs10,000 crore. Lakshmi Vilas Bank’s customers are mostly in south India.

World Bank offers over $1-billion loan to Maharashtra

The World Bank has announced an assistance programme of over $1 billion in the areas of urban transport and climate resilient agriculture in Maharashtra, over the next 2-3 years.

Over the last five years, World Bank had invested over $1.4 billion in Maharashtra in urban transport, rural water supply and agriculture.

Banks insisted by RBI to initiate special camps to literate about digital payments

The Reserve Bank of India has advised bank-operated Financial Literacy Centres to conduct special camps for one year beginning April 1, 2017 on “going digital” through Unified Payments Interface and the *99# service, in view of the government’s emphasis on increasing digital transactions post-demonetisation.

Besides these camps, FLCs will continue to conduct ailored camps for five target groups — farmers, small entrepreneurs, school children, senior citizens and Self Help Groups. The RBI said the tailored content for each target group is being prepared and will be shared with banks/FLCs in due time.

ET Money ties up with HDFC Life to launch data-led insurance policy

Long-term life insurance provider HDFC Life has launched an exclusive Data-Led Group Term Insurance Plan in partnership with personal finance app ET Money of Times Internet.

This is the country’s first term insurance plan which is based on the spending pattern of the users. ET Money Benefit, the group term life insurance plan can be exclusively availed by 1 million users of the ET MONEY app.

SBI to charge for breaching monthly average balance in saving accounts

From the beginning of the next financial year (April 1), failing to maintain a monthly average balance (MAB) in your State Bank of India (SBI) savings accounts will attract a charge.

SBI had suspended this charge in July 2012 to expand its customer base and generate low-cost deposits, as those in savings account earn interest rate of only 4 per cent.

HDFC Bank launched chatbot Eva for customer services

HDFC Bank announced the launch of an electronic virtual assistant (EVA), an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot, for customer services. Eva is India’s first AI-based banking chatbot and can answer millions of customer queries across multiple channels instantly.

 SBI launches ‘Work from Home’ facility for employees

The State Bank of India (SBI), country’s largest lender has launched a new facility to enable its employees to work from home.nThe board of SBI has recently approved the ‘work from home’ policy to enable its employees to work while at home using mobile devices to address any urgent requirement they may have, that prevents their travelling to work.nThe SBI will be using mobile computing technologies and shall have continuous control over all the enabled devices centrally to manage and secure the data and applications on the mobile devices.

 RBI Restricts Cash Loan against Gold by NBFC to Rs.25,000

The Reserve Bank of India has sharply brought down the threshold above which non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) can disburse loans against gold only by cheque.

The central bank said with immediate effect such loans amounting to Rs. 20,000 and above can be disbursed only by cheque as against the earlier threshold of Rs. 1 lakh and above. This move is in line with the rules issued under the Income Tax Act.

UCO Bank, Future General tie up

Private insurer Future General India Insurance Company (FGII) has entered into a corporate agency tie-up for its products with public lender UCO Bank. The PSU lender will provide a window at its bank branches for marketing FGII’s offerings.

The company has tie-ups with over 100 banks across the country. At present, the bancassurance model accounts for 5 per cent of the insurer’s total business. The company aims to achieve a growth of 80 per cent by FY18.

State Bank of India signs MoU with CREDAI

State Bank of India and real estate developers’ body CREDAI have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly conduct various initiatives towards development of the realty sector. The MoU will be in force for a period of 3 years. CREDAI is the largest real estate association in the country with over 11,500 members. We see a lot of synergies in working with CREDAI.

Kerala gets first private bank: ESAF Small Finance Bank

ESAF Small Finance Bank, Kerala’s first private sector bank, was launched by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The bank, promoted by ESAF Microfinance and Investments (P) Ltd, has announced that in its first year it will open 85 branches.

As per RBI guidelines, the bank is required to open 25 per cent of its branches in unbanked rural centres besides in cities like Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad in the first year.

Ministry gives approval for RBI to print Rs.10 plastic notes

The government has said the RBI has been authorised to conduct field trials of plastic notes of Rs10 that have a longer life span.

Approval for procurement of plastic substrate and printing of bank notes of Rs 10 denomination on plastic banknote substrates has been conveyed to the RBI.

ICICI Bank launches new app for rural customers

India’s largest private sector bank by consolidated assets, announced the launch of a mobile banking app for rural customers that allow them to access banking services as well as information on agri services.

The app is open for both bank customers as well as others and is available in eleven different languages.  Named ‘Mera iMobile’, it allows users in rural areas to avail as many as 135 services some of which are unprecedented in the industry on their mobile phone.

India and ADB Signed $350 Million Loan for Roads in Madhya Pradesh

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $350 million loan for improving about 1,500 kilometers of major district roads in Madhya Pradesh in line with the State’s Road Development Plan.

SBI Chief Among Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders Of The World

State Bank of India (SBI) chief Arundhati Bhattacharya has been ranked 26th in the Fortune’s top 50 greatest leaders. She is the only Indian corporate leader in the list. Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, SBI, has been ranked 26th in the fourth edition of Fortune’s World 50 Greatest Leaders list. By this, Arundhati Bhattacharya becomes the only Indian corporate leader to be featured in the list.

RBI allows exchange of Rs 4,500 in old notes in Nepal

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will allow an exchange of up to Rs 4,500 in banned Indian currency notes to each Nepali national, a visiting team of the Indian central bank in Kathmandu hinted.

The Indian proposal has sent waves of nervousness among the Nepali public as India had earlier allowed Nepali citizens to possess up to Indian Rs 25,000 each.

Use of Bitcoin not authorised by the RBI, says Govt

The government has said use of virtual currencies like Bitcoins is not authorised by the RBI and could result in breach of anti-money laundering provisions. The RBI had cautioned users, holders and traders of virtual currency, including Bitcoin, about the potential financial, legal and security risks arising from their usage.

Vijaya Bank inks MoU with Piaggio Vehicles

Vijaya Bank has entered into an MoU with Piaggio Vehicles for providing financial support for the purchase of vehicles under Small Road Transport Operators (SRTO) scheme in Bengaluru. Vijaya Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr Kishore Sansi flagged off the first batch of vehicles under the MoU in the presence of Executive Directors B S Rama Rao, Y Nageswara Rao, and Piaggio Vehicles Vice-President Praveen Nagpal and others.

Syndicate Bank opens 40 ‘Ananya’ branches

Syndicate Bank has digitally inaugurated 40 ‘Ananya’ transformed branches. “Project Ananya is a two-year large-scale transformation project undertaken by the bank to provide customers with ‘best in class’ services while improving and modernising the whole bank,” said Arun Shrivastava, Managing Director and CEO, Syndicate Bank.

ICICI Bank partners Truecaller for UPI-based mobile payment solution

ICICI Bank has announced a partnership with mobile app firm Truecaller for a new UPI-based mobile payment service. The new feature shall be called Truecaller Pay, and  it will allow users of the app to instantly create a UPI id, send money to any UPI id or a mobile number registered with the BHIM app.

SBI launches ‘Unnati’ credit card

SBI Card has launched a unique credit card ‘SBI Card Unnati’ targeted at all SBI customers, including Jan Dhan account-holders across the country.

The card was launched by Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines.

IRDAI imposed penalty on ICICI Pru Life

The insurance regulator has imposed a penalty of Rs.20 lakh on ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company on various charges, including free look cancellations not being in line with regulations; maturity claims not being settled within prescribed time period, resulting in huge number of claims outstanding; and delay in processing surrenders/partial withdrawals.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has also charged the private sector life insurer for considerable number of annuities being outstanding for want of verification certificate.

Samsung Pay launched in India

Android phone maker Samsung will launch its digital payment application, called Samsung Pay, in the country as Indians look to shift to newer payment methods after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation exercise.

The early access service is available only with a few banks – Axis, HDFC, ICICI, SBI, and Standard Chartered. Samsung is expected to add support for Citibank and American Express soon.

India signs First Loan Agreement with New Development Bank

The Loan Agreement for New Development Bank (NDB) financing of US$ 350 Million for Development and Upgradation of Major District Roads Project in Madhya Pradesh was signed between Government of India and the New Development Bank (NDB). This is the First Loan Agreement for NDB assisted project in India.

Karnataka Bank, SBI Card launch co-branded credit card

Karnataka Bank and SBI Card have launched co-branded credit cards for the customers of Karnataka Bank. Through this alliance Karnataka Bank and SBI Card will launch two variants of the co-branded credit card – ‘Karnataka Bank Platinum SBI Card’ and ‘Karnataka Bank SimplySAVE SBI Card’.

Karnataka Bank SimplySAVE SBI Card’ is aimed at value conscious consumers and offers rewards and features that enable customers to maximise their savings on their regular spends.

April 2017

82nd Establishment Day of RBI- 01st April 2017

The Reserve Bank of India is the central bank of the country. The Reserve Bank of India was set up on the basis of the recommendations of the Hilton Young Commission. The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (II of 1934) provides the statutory basis for the functioning of the Bank, which commenced operations on April 1, 1935.  After the partition of India, the Reserve Bank served as the central bank of Pakistan upto June 1948 when the State Bank of Pakistan commenced operations. The Bank, which was originally set up as a shareholder’s bank, was nationalized in 1949.

Five associate banks, Bharatiya Mahila Bank merge with SBI

Five associates and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank became part of the State Bank of India (SBI) catapulting the country’s largest lender to among the top 50 banks in the world.

State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT), besides Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB), merged with SBI with effect from 1 April.

Axis Bank ties up with Wells Fargo for US remittances

Axis Bank has tied up with Wells Fargo (the third largest American bank by assets) to offer real-time remittances from the Indian diaspora to their relatives back home.

Under the arrangement between the two banks, any member of the Indian diaspora with an account with the Wells Fargo will be able to transfer money to their relatives back home and there will be no transaction fee applicable to the money transfers from the USA.

RBI issues licence for Aditya Birla Group for its payments bank

The Aditya Birla Group said it has received licence from the Reserve Bank of India to start payments bank.  Headed by Kumar Mangalam Birla, the group’s outfit Aditya Birla Nuvo had set up a 51:49 joint venture Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank Ltd with telecom major Idea Cellular to launch payments bank services in the country.

Canara Bank partners with BSNL

Canara Bank, a public sector bank, has embarked upon an ambitious project of upgrading the bandwidth at all its branches to 2 Mbps in partnership with BSNL.

NK Mehta, Director, BSNL, reiterated the commitment of BSNL in providing seamless quality service to the Bank. While M G Ajayan, General Manager (IT) & CIO, Canara Bank, said the bandwidth upgradation activity shall be completed in three months.

HDFC Bank UPI on Chillr app

HDFC Bank has said its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) will also be available on Chillr, a multi-bank mobile payments app. Currently, UPI is available on HDFC Bank’s own mobile banking app.

UPI is an instant payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to enable faster money transfer between any two parties’ bank accounts.

Chillr has been running on Immediate Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) with 11 banks prior to this launch and has achieved a milestone of monthly transaction value of over ₹500 crore.

Flipkart Buys eBay India

India’s largest online retailer Flipkart has closed a mammoth funding round of $1.4 billion from Tencent Holdings Ltd, eBay Inc. and Microsoft Corp., in the biggest-ever start-up funding to compete with arch-rival Amazon India and takes the company a step closer to presenting itself (to investors and customers) as the only option to the US firm’s Indian arm.

Flipkart Ltd will also buy eBay’s India business as part of the $1.4 billion deal. The funding round values Flipkart at $11.6 billion, which is lower than its peak valuation of $15 billion but still higher than the valuation it was assigned by some of its own investors last year.

BRICS bank plans to issue rupee, yuan bonds this year: KV Kamath

The New Development Bank (NDB) set up by the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa  plans to issue bonds this year in Indian rupee and Chinese yuan.

The bank sold its first three billion yuan ($437 million) yuan-denominated bonds in China last year in July to fund clean energy projects in member-states.

Bank Boards Bureau evolves ‘GRAF’ for PSBs

To prime public sector banks (PSBs) to hold their own against nifty private sector rivals and also prepare them for possible mergers in the future, the Bank Boards Bureau (BBB) has drawn up an elaborate Governance, Reward and Accountability Framework (GRAF).

The GRAF seeks to ensure that corporate governance at PSBs is in keeping with various pieces of legislation, including the Companies Act, 2013, Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and Securities and Exchange Board of India (listing obligations and disclosure requirements) Regulations, 2015.

RBI issues new framework for bad loans

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a new set of enabling provisions to resolve the problem of banks’ mounting non-performing assets (NPAs), or bad loans. Through the notification titled “Revised Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework for banks.

The new set of provisions, effective from April 1, override the existing PCA framework, and are based on the financials of each bank as of March 2017. The new framework will be reviewed after three years.

FRBM Panel proposes “autonomous fiscal council” under Financial Ministry

The committee report on the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) law’s recommendation for a new fiscal council to monitor implementation comes after studying the examples of 40 other countries, advanced and emerging.

The panel, whose report was made public, has proposed the Council as an autonomous body but under the finance ministry. The proposal is part of its draft Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility law, meant to replace the existing FRBM Act.

RBI signed MoU with the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has inked a supervisory cooperation pact with the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan for information sharing. A memorandum of understanding on ‘Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Supervisory Information’ was signed by RBI Deputy Governor S S Mundra and Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan Deputy Governor Phajo Dorjee, the central bank.

The RBI has entered into MoUs, Letter for Supervisory Co- operation and Statement of Co-operation with supervisors of a few countries. The objective of such pacts is to promote greater co- operation and share supervisory information.

RBI opened the Office of the Banking Ombudsman at Chhattisgarh and Jammu & Kashmir

The Reserve Bank has opened a new ombudsman office in Jammu as part of its efforts to expand banking grievances complaint cells across the country. Earlier, the banking services related complaints from entire Jammu & Kashmir used to fall under the jurisdiction of New Delhi-I banking ombudsman office.

There are two banking ombudsman offices in New Delhi. There has been a significant increase in banking network during the recent past and the New Delhi office covers a large jurisdiction.

World Bank to give $37.5 cr for National Waterway-1 on Ganga

The project will enable commercial navigation of vessels with a capacity of 1,500-2,000 dead weight tonnes along a 1,390-km stretch. The NW-1 passes through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Paytm to invest ₹10,000 crore in banking, financial services

Fintech firm Paytm, which is backed by Chinese major Alibaba, said it plans to invest ₹10,000 crore over the next three years in its banking and financial services business. Paytm claims to have already pumped in over ₹3,200 crore in the last two years for its operations. At present, Paytm operates a mobile wallet and e¬commerce marketplace. With over 1.5 billion transactions on its platform, the company now aims to cross the 4.5 billion mark this year.

GST to push Indian growth to over 8%: IMF

The ambitious Goods and Services Tax to be implemented from July 1 would help raise India’s medium-term growth to above eight per cent, the International Monetary Fund has said adding that the reforms being done is expected to pay off in terms of higher growth in the future. The IMF believes that India is going to continue to grow at a fast pace, with a projected 6.8 per cent rate for Financial Year 2016-17 and 7.2 per cent in 2017-18.

India’s Forex reserves increase by $1.25 billion

India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves rose by $1.25 billion as on April 21, 2017. According to the Reserve Bank of India’s weekly statistical supplement, the overall Forex reserves increased to $371.13 billion from $369.88 billion reported for the week ended April 14. India’s Forex reserves comprise of foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold, special drawing rights (SDRs) and the RBI’s position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

May 2017

RBI asks ARCs to have a minimum net corpus of Rs100 crore by 2019

The Reserve Bank has said all the existing Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) must have a minimum net-owned corpus of Rs 100 crore by March 2019.

The government and RBI have envisaged a greater role for ARCs in resolving stressed assets. These companies are in the business of buying bad loans from banks to turn them around.

As per amended SARFAESI Act, 2016, no ARC can commence or carry on the business of securitisation or asset reconstruction without having Net Owned Fund of not less than Rs 2 crore or such other higher amount as the Reserve Bank may, by notification, specify.

RBI and banks spend ₹21,000 cr a year on currency management

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that the RBI and other commercial banks spend Rs 21,000 crore every year on currency management operations. Visa’s report estimates the overall cost of cash upto 1.7 per cent of GDP.

As the digital transactions rise in volumes, its costs, mainly in terms of MDR, will come down and will eventually become cheaper than cost of printing, storing, transporting, verifying, distributing and replacing currency.

India expected to achieve 7.1% growth this year: UN report

India is expected to clock 7.1% growth this year before edging up to 7.5% in 2018, according to a UN report, which warned that the country faces heightened risks related to the concentration of bad loans in the public sector banks.

The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2017’ launched that the economic growth for India is projected to be stable at 7.1% in 2017 before edging up to 7.5% in 2018, underpinned by higher private and public consumption and increased infrastructure spending.

I-T dept activates e-filing for all Income Tax Returns

The Income Tax department has activated the e-filing facility for all categories of income tax returns (ITRs) for the assessment year 2017-18. The new ITRs have been made available for filing on the e-portal of the department—https://incometaxindiaefiling. gov.in.

All ITRs are now available for e-filing on the website of the department. A taxpayer should keep ready a copy of last year’s ITR, bank statements, tax deducted at source (TDS) and savings certificates, form-60 and other relevant documents on interest paid ready before attempting the e-filing.

Govt clears ordinance to let RBI act against loan defaulters

The Cabinet recommended an ordinance empowering the Reserve Bank of India to instruct banks to act against top 20-25 loan defaulters as part of a series of steps aimed at helping lenders get bad debt off their books.

The details of the package, which was worked out after several months of consultations between the government, bankers and RBI, are expected to be announced in a day or two, once President Pranab Mukherjee clears the ordinance.

President Pranab gives nod to ordinance on banks’ non-performing assets

President Pranab Mukherjee has given his nod to the ordinance dealing with the banking sector’s non-performing loans and the amendment to the Banking Act.

The cabinet had taken some significant decisions related to the banking sector, without revealing details saying the decisions needed Presidential assent.

The new framework for non-performing assets (NPAs) will allow state-owned banks to conduct open auctions of NPAs, wherein cash-rich public sector companies will be encouraged to buy such assets in their sector.

Asia’s population growth will fall to zero by 2050: IMF

Asia’s rapidly ageing population means the region is shifting from being the biggest contributor to the global workforce to subtracting hundreds of millions of people from it, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The reversal of the so-called “demographic dividend” will drag on global growth and also that in Asia, the world’s fastest growing region, the IMF warned in its annual outlook for the area.

DIPAM launches online investor facilitation platform

Keen on creating more awareness about the forthcoming disinvestment issues, the Finance Ministry has set up an Investor Facilitation Platform that will provide information about stocks of public sector units.

Set up by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), the platform will be an interactive forum for all stakeholders, including investors, investment banks, law firms, public sector units and administrative ministries that are involved in stake sales.

Cashkaro.com ties up with YES Bank to launch card-linked offers

Banking on the Government’s drive to promote cash-less economy, cashback portal Cashkaro.com has tied up with YES Bank to launch card-linked offers as part of its loyalty programme for both offline and online shoppers.

The offer will be currently available on all YES BANK debit cards, and will be extended to all other payment products of YES Bank in the near future.

SEBI allows investors to buy mutual funds via digital wallet

Markets regulator SEBI has allowed investors to buy mutual fund schemes for up to Rs 50,000 through digital wallets, making it easier for them — especially the young generation — to purchase these instruments.

Besides, MF houses or asset management companies (AMCs) have been allowed to provide instant online access facility to resident individual investors in liquid schemes. The move is part of the efforts to promote digital payments in the MF industry and channelise household savings into the capital market.

June 2017

SBI, World Bank finance 400-cr solar projects

State Bank of India and the World Bank announced that they had financed 100 MW of rooftop solar projects worth Rs.400 crore in India. The World Bank aid helped the public sector SBI lower the lending rate to project developers, according to SBI Deputy Managing Director Karnam Sekar.

India signs Loan agreement with the World Bank for HP

An agreement for IBRD Credit of USD 36 Million from World Bank for “Himachal Pradesh Public Financial Management Capacity Building Program” was signed  in New Delhi by Shri Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (MI), Department of Economic Affairs and Mr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank (India).

The Implementing Entity Agreement was signed by the Additional Director, Treasuries, Accounts and Lotteries, on behalf of Government of Himachal Pradesh (GoHP), and the Country Director (India) on behalf of the World Bank.

RBI keeps key rate unchanged; cuts SLR, lowers GDP projection

The Reserve Bank has left lending rates unchanged citing risks to inflation due to spurt in farm loan waivers by states but raised lending capacity of banks to support economic growth. Monetary Policy Committee for the fourth straight time kept the repo rate unchanged, at which it lends to the banks, at 6.25 per cent. The reverse repo, at which RBI borrows, will be 6 per cent.

ICICI Bank commissions 200 solar powered ATMs

ICICI Bank commissioned over 200 solar powered ATM sites in the last one year as part of its efforts to reduce carbon footprint and use more clean energy.

ICICI Bank has reduced its overall energy consumption in large offices and branches from 198 million units in 2013-14 to 164 million units in 2016-17, saving 34.2 million units in last three years. This is equivalent to the amount of energy that can power 42,000 rural households for an entire year.

TCS launches app development kit for banks

Global software major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has launched “BaNCS App Development Kit” (ADK) that will enable banks to fast design and build their own apps and deploy it across devices and desktops seamlessly.

BaNCS ADK” will help banks to design and deploy both enterprise and consumer apps in a hybrid architecture, adopting modern principles of responsive web design.

Canara Bank ties up with New India Assurance Company

Canara Bank and the New India Assurance Company have entered into a corporate agency arrangement for distribution of insurance products.

The pact allows Canara Bank to offer non-life insurance products to its customers across metros and tier II and III cities through the bank’s extensive network of over 6,000 branches.

Under the agreement, New India Assurance will make offer a bouquet of products — such as motor, home, health, travel, fire, marine, and engineering insurance policies — through branches of Canara Bank.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank grants USD 150 mn loan for India Infrastructure Fund

China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has approved USD 150 million equity investment loan to the India Infrastructure Fund, the bank’s first such loan to fund private projects .

The Board of Directors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) who met in Jeju in South Korea has approved USD 150 million equity investment to the India Infrastructure Fund, said a statement from the bank.

AIIB approves membership of Argentina, Madagascar, Tonga

The board of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved the applications of Argentina, Madagascar and Tonga to be members.

The three prospective members will officially join once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit the first installment of capital with the bank.

Yes Bank partners with TerraPay for faster international remittance

Private sector lender Yes Bank has partnered with mobile payments switch TerraPay to enable real time money transfer to bank accounts in India.

Powered by TerraPay’s global clearing and settlement service, the partnership will make it faster and convenient for consumers to send money to any bank account.

Hike Messenger partners with YES Bank to launch in-app Wallet

Hike Messenger has launched the new version of the app with a completely new interface and the addition of a mobile wallet, in partnership with YES Bank.

The app now also allows users to recharge their phones and pay their postpaid bill right from inside Hike. This removes the need to have one more app just for paying mobile bills, thereby saving space on their phone and removing the need for them to add yet another app.

Meghalaya Govt signs two MoUs with SBI for digital transaction

Meghalaya government has signed two MoUs with the State Bank of India as a part of an initiative towards migrating government transactions to digital mode.

With implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), these MoUs are expected to give dealers and other citizens the desired platform for conducting financial transactions with the state government on a digital platform.

RBI initiates Prompt Corrective Action against Bank of Maharashtra as NPA mounts

The Reserve Bank of India has initiated prompt corrective action (PCA) on Bank of Maharashtra placing a restriction on the banking activities. This is the sixth bank to be placed under PCA by the RBI and of this five banks were placed under PCA in the last three months.

RBI has initiated PCA on Central Bank of India, IDBI Bank, UCO Bank, Dena Bank and Indian Overseas Bank. The move will restrict the bank from announcing the dividend, opening branches, hiring and giving loans to companies rated below investment grade.

SEBI relaxes norms for banks to take over stressed assets of listed companies to recover bad loans

Capital markets regulator, SEBI (Securities Exchange Board of India) relaxed takeover norms for the acquisition of stressed assets of listed companies to help the government and the RBI in their efforts to tackle bad loans.

SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi took the decision after a board meeting in Mumbai. SEBI’s board also approved a proposal to tighten rules for participatory notes through the imposition of a regulatory fee on issuers of such instruments. SEBI will also issue a discussion paper for easier registration of foreign investors.

Axis Bank, Kochi Metro Launches India’s First Single-Wallet Contactless, Open Loop Metro Card

Axis Bank, India’s third largest private sector bank in association with Kochi Metro Rail Corporation (KMRL) has launched KMRL Axis Bank ‘Kochi1’ Card, India’s first open loop EMV contactless metro card that would make travel a convenient and hassle free experience for commuters in Kochi.

Axis Bank has partnered with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in developing this transit EMV contactless specification on interoperable open standards.

World Bank sanctions 44 million dollars for ASPIRe

World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a loan assistance of 44 million dollars for the Assam State Public Finance Institutional Reforms (ASPIRe) Project.

The loan was sanction by World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) in its meeting held on June 15 at Washington DC, USA.

The project aims at improving predictability and transparency in budget execution and efficiency in tax administration in Assam.

RBI widens scope of Banking Ombudsman Scheme

The Reserve Bank the extended the scope of Banking Ombudsman Scheme under which banks could be penalised for misselling third-party products like insurance and mutual funds via mobile or electronic banking.

The pecuniary jurisdiction of the Banking Ombudsman to pass an award has been doubled to Rs 20 lakh. The RBI had widened the scope of its Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006, to include, inter alia, deficiencies arising out of sale of insurance, mutual fund, and other third-party investment products by banks.

India Signs Loan Agreement with the World Bank for USD 35 Million for “Assam State Public Financial Institutional Reforms Project”

An agreement for IBRD Credit of USD 35 Million from World Bank for “Assam State Public Financial Institutional Reforms Project” was signed at New Delhi.

The agreement was signed by Shri Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (MI), Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. John Blomquist, Acting Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank.

The Implementing Entity Agreement was signed by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), Department of Finance, on behalf of Government of Assam, and the Country Director (India) on behalf of the World Bank.

World Bank clears $250-million loan to train India’s job seekers

The World Bank has cleared a USD250-million loan for making Indian youth more employable through reskilling, in a move that is seen to aid the Skill India mission.

The multi-lateral lender is keen to support the Indian government in its efforts to better equip the young workforce with employable skills.


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