The Reserve Bank of India is working on “harmonising” regulations for banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), a move that could help mitigate the possibility of arbitrage for NBFCs, RBI deputy governor R Gandhi said on Monday.
Reiterating the difference between a bank and an NBFC, Gandhi said the two cannot be treated the same way. “Many of you have raised questions about the current policy of harmonisation of regulations for NBFCs with the commercial banking sector. Let me clarify that our stance is to harmonise, not equalize the regulation.”
The central banker went on to say that activities that are common to banks and NBFCs will come under similar regulatory framework. He added that the RBI is also open to recognising and approving new kinds of NBFCs if the situation demands it.
Speaking about the registration process of NBFCs, Gandhi acknowledged that the regulator had received numerous complaints regarding the registration process for NBFCs, saying it was too cumbersome. Therefore, the RBI has now decided to “simplify and rationalise” the process of registration and make it online. “The new application forms will be simpler and the number of documents required to be submitted will be reduced,” Gandhi said.
“Current data shows that though in absolute terms the number of NBFCs registered with RBI has come down to 11,700 as of March 2016, aggregate assets of systematically important non-deposit taking NBFCs and deposit taking NBFCs have grown from Rs 700 billion at the end of March 1998 to Rs 15 trillion at the end of December 2015,” he said.