The two former chief financial officers (CFO) of Infosys — TV Mohandas Pai and V Balakrishnan — along with outgoing Wipro CFO, Suresh Senapaty, have submitted an application with the Reserve Bank of India to start a small finance bank which, they promise, will be a technology-driven financial institution.
The proposed small bank will have a capitalisation of Rs 100 crore, with the trio bringing in 50% of the funds and the rest coming from its strategic partner, Dastur & Co, a Kolkata headquartered engineering and consultancy company.
Balakrishnan said India is a huge market that is still underbanked and there is a lot of potential for newcomers. Infosys’ former CFO and board member remarked that technology was becoming a game-changer for many a business.
Balakrishnan and Mohandas Pai, who spent more than two decades at Infosys, have already launched a private equity and venture capital fund, Exfinity, to invest in IT products companies. Suresh Senapaty will retire as CFO of Wipro in March this year, having joined the IT major in 1980.
The proposed small bank plans to start its operations in Karnataka with a small physical presence but significant virtual connectivity. Balakrishnan said the eco-system was coming up with handsome last-mile connectivity.
“The RBI’s idea of small banks is to improve financial inclusion. We believe the time is right for the country to start such a bank with heavy use of technology,” he said.
Balakrishnan said the trio was keeping all options open as far as alliance partners go.