New banking licence panel schedules its first meet on November 1

The external committee chaired by former Reserve Bank of India (RBI)  governor Bimal Jalan that will vet applications for new bank licences will hold its first meeting on 1 November.

The panel will hold its first meeting on November 1, said RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday after announcing the second quarter review of monetary policy 2013-14, according to reports.

Earlier this month, the central bank announced the names of three members who will assist Jalan in the external committee. The members of the high-level advisory committee (HLAC) include former RBI deputy governor Usha Thorat, former Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) chairman CB Bhave and director of the central board of directors of RBI Nachiket Mor.

In July this year, the central bank announced the list of banking aspirants. As many as 26 firms, including corporate houses such as Tata Sons, L&T, Reliance Group, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Bajaj, Shriram and Religare sought banking licences. Among public sector units, India Post and IFCI submitted applications. Microfinance institutions such as Bandhan Financial and Janalakshmi Financial, too, expressed interest.

Rajan also said the RBI would expedite the procedure because the RBI deputy governor Anand Sinha, who looks after new bank licences, retires in January.

Unlike, when Yes Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank were given banking licences in 2004, the RBI’s norms for sanctioning such licences were

expected to be strict, as the banking industry has gone through a tumultuous period over the last few years (only some private banks such as ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank that have been successful in building good assets over the years have proved to be aberrations).

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