Published On: Fri, Jan 30th, 2015

If mobile numbers can be ported why not bank accounts: RBI Dy Guv Mundra

Mumbai: As technological advancements continue to change the world of finance and banking, Reserve Bank Deputy Governor S S Mundra today called upon bankers to “reinvent themselves” if they want to remain relevant.

RBI Deputy Governor S S Mundra

RBI Deputy Governor S S Mundra

“If there is a cloud-funding, if there is P2P lending today, then what is the role of banks? What they would be expected to do? Probably banks will have to reinvent themselves to maintain their relevance in the world of finance,” Mundra said speaking to a select audience consisting of leading bankers at a meet organised by business daily ‘Mint’.

In this context, he spoke about bank account portability and wondered if mobile numbers can be ported, why not bank accounts.

“If mobile number portability is possible, why banking account number portability is not possible?”

He went on to add that if banking account portability becomes a reality, “it would be a major disruption in the industry and every bank must be quite cautious about this. Also, it would be interesting to watch how banks would deal with this issue.”

Asked whether RBI will extend the deadline for ending the provisions norms for restructured loans from April 1, 2015, Mundra did not offer a direct answer, saying “let the IBA (apex body of bank managements) first approach us”.

On whether the regulator will consider deadline extension if banks approach them, the Deputy Governor said, “We never refuse to listen to anyone. When they approach, we will listen to them.”

Last May, RBI had said banks would have to make full provisions if they recast loans effective April 1 this year.

Earlier this week, Union Bank of India Chairman and Managing Director Arun Tiwari said Indian Banks Association might request the regulator to extend the April deadline and continue with the present set of norms on loan recast.

Asked whether there are some concerns about monetary policy transmission as only two small banks have cut base rates after the RBI surprisingly lowered repo rate by 25 bps early this month, Mundra said the impact comes with a lag.

“It is not our expectation that if we (RBI) do a rate cut today, then we expect banks to cut their rates immediately. They have their asset liability committees to meet and take call and other approval system,” he said.

On the steep fall in oil prices, Mundra said it would help the country save at least USD 50 billion this year. On ownership of banks, he said a large section of them will see change in their ownership going ahead.


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