Technology bringing disruption in financial services sector, need for level-playing field: KV Kamath

He said that bankers should make a case with the regulator for a level-playing field and the requirement of regulatory reporting should be extended to new age players.

Kamath recognised the great transition done by the banks over the last two years during the pandemic, however, the only issue is about how to compete. (Representative image)
Kamath recognised the great transition done by the banks over the last two years during the pandemic, however, the only issue is about how to compete. (Representative image)

Veteran banker K V Kamath on Wednesday exhorted the banking industry to pitch for a level-playing field with technology-driven new age players, saying that the rise of technology has led to disruption in the financial services sector.

He said that bankers should make a case with the regulator for a level-playing field and the requirement of regulatory reporting should be extended to new age players.

“We now have a digital mindset at all levels, there is the rise of technology and the bank customers are now receptive to change. New players who are coming up and grabbing and leveraging the opportunity in the banking and financial space.

“As long as you are ring-fenced and protected by the regulator, you have the space to breathe … now you need to see that you have the level playing field with these new players. It appears from a banker’s point of view that the playing field is not level.

“I think it is up to us bankers to make the case with the regulator what is required there to make the level playing field,” Kamath said while delivering the inaugural address at the ‘FICCI-FIBAC 2021’ virtual event on Tuesday.

Kamath, who has been appointed as chairman of National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID), noted that the disruption caused by these new players in the financial space was bound to happen.

“I hope it happens with level playing field. Similarly, the regulatory reporting that banks need to have (to RBI) … I think these needs to be stretched to these players (as well). I think as we move ahead, in the next 6-12-18 months, we need to sort these out as players,” he added.

Kamath recognised the great transition done by the banks over the last two years during the pandemic, however, the only issue is about how to compete.

“We have seen Indian platforms making enormous advances as banks. The only issue is about being able to compete, but you cannot take away from them the value they have brought in.

“I would say that disruptions are on us and it is for us to see how quickly we can change. Change is not always at the cost of money, it may cost much more than money if you don’t take decision,” Kamath said.

Talking about the digital economy, India has a lot of catching up to do, he said.

“The digital economy in China is around 40 per cent of the overall economy, in India it is more likely 4-5 per cent today. Where it will go two years from now, I think it will hit 5-40 per cent,” he added.

On the operations of National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID), he said the lending institution will start disbursal of capital from April 2022.

“We have an idea of what could be their (businesses) needs…these are being internalized and I can mention that by April, we should be up for business. By then we should have the capital in,” Kamath added.

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