Major Indian Conglomerates Line Up For Bank Licenses

Ambani's Reliance Capital has applied for a banking license along with Japan's biggest life insurer Nippon Life Insurance Co and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc.

Former Citigroup Inc chief executive Vikram Pandit has teamed up with JM Financial.

The RBI had issued guidelines for 'Licensing of New Banks in the Private Sector' on February 22 and came out with clarifications in the first week of June.

It is, however, not yet clear how many new bank licences will be issued.

RBI Governor D Subbarao had earlier said that "our effort will be to make that judgement as transparent as objective as contestable as possible...I want to say that not everybody who is fit and proper will be given a (bank) licence because we expect the number of eligible applicants will be much larger than what is meaningful number of licences we can give".

In its clarification, the RBI had said the entities getting licences to open new banks will be given 18 months to open branches, and promoters would have to transfer their holdings to the non-operative financial holding company (NOFHC) in a stipulated period.

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