Midsize private sector lender RBL Bank has increased its stake in microlender Swadhaar Finserve to 60.48 per cent for an undisclosed sum and now possess rights to up it to 100 per cent. The transaction comes amid similar ones by rivals Indusind Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and IDFC Bank to acquire microlenders to deepen reach and help meet the mandated priority sector loans. In September last year, RBL Bank had acquired 30 per cent of Swadhaar, which now operates as the bank’s business correspondent in 17 states and Union Territories through 242 branches. RBL’s managing director and chief executive Vishwavir Ahuja said Swadhaar is now a subsidiary for the bank and increasing the stake is in line with its vision and strategy.
“The bank sees Swadhaar as a vehicle to execute its strategy to become a significant player in the financial inclusion and micro banking segment,” he said, adding its micro advances book stands at around Rs 4,600 crore serving 1.9 million borrowers. Swadhaar alone has helped the bank create assets under management of around Rs 1,000 crore as of September 2017, it said. Subject to regulatory approvals, RBL can now up its stake in the company to 100 per cent, a statement issued by the bank said.