A year on, key post for SBI official still vacant at Jio Payments Bank

In FY21, Jio Payments Bank posted a net loss of Rs 90 crore against a net profit of Rs 50 lakh in FY20.

SBI Jio payments bank
SBI is known to be concerned about the fact that the payments bank, in which it holds a 30% stake.

A key position in the risk department of Jio Payments Bank, typically held by an official on deputation from State Bank of India (SBI), has remained unfilled for nearly a year, three people aware of the matter told FE. SBI has just two of its employees in operational roles at the payments bank, down from three earlier.

Deputy chief executive officer (CEO) Kishorekumar Sonecha and an another executive in the treasury division are the only two SBI officials deputed to Jio Payments Bank at present. Two of the people FE spoke to said that the vacancy in the third spot is set to be filled after the current year’s round of promotions. The name of the person who was last on deputation in the risk department before being promoted and sent back to SBI could not be immediately ascertained.

SBI is known to be concerned about the fact that the payments bank, in which it holds a 30% stake, is yet to launch in a full-fledged manner. A senior executive said, “SBI is only a minor partner in the venture and now we are bringing back some people as well. It is up to the majority partner to decide what they want to do with the institution.”

Emails sent to SBI and Jio Payments Bank seeking comments for this story remained unanswered till the time of going to press.

Jio Payments Bank’s board’s report for FY20 shows that between June 2019 and July 2020, the payments bank had three different SBI executives in the role of deputy CEO. Rajinder Mirakhur demitted office as deputy CEO on June 29, 2019, and was replaced by Naresh Yadav on July 12, 2019. On October 10, 2019, P Hemant Kumar Pammi was appointed deputy CEO, and he held the position till June 22, 2020. On July 21, 2020, Ashok Chawla was appointed deputy CEO. Chawla demitted office on July 14, 2021, and was replaced by Kishorekumar Sonecha on July 16, 2021.

According to another executive close to the developments, SBI personnel do not have any major operational role within the bank. The launch of the retail payments bank, this person said, has been delayed due to parent Reliance Industries’ decision to first build a significant presence for the Jio brand as a facilitator of payment transactions through point-of-sale (PoS) terminals as well as a provider of credit through its non-banking financial company (NBFC) arm Reliance Retail Finance. The Group has also been working on its own payment gateway (PG) solution for online checkouts and has rolled out a unified payments interface (UPI) app called JioPay.

Jio Payments Bank’s board report for FY21, dated September 27, 2021, states that the key milestones in the year ahead includes the rolling out of UPI mandates. E-NACH is to be offered as a recurring payment product on the PG and PoS. “JioPay Biz App which will be rolled out to SMEs to accept UPI transactions digitally will be launched towards the end of the month. This will soon be followed by payment acceptance across all payment modes,” the report said.

The board’s report further said that Jio Payments Bank plans to speak to Visa and MasterCard to process the online and offline transactions and increase the roll-out of business correspondent points across Reliance Retail stores. “All existing products RTGS, NEFT, UPI, BBPS (Bharat Bill Payment System), savings and current accounts, among others, will all be worked upon actively,” the report said.

In FY21, Jio Payments Bank posted a net loss of Rs 90 crore against a net profit of Rs 50 lakh in FY20.

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