Whatsapp likely to start digital payment service by end of February

WhatsApp may launch its much awaited payment feature by the end of February this year – thus providing the biggest boost so far to digital payments in India. The Facebook-owned messaging company is currently integrating its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with prominent banks in the country such as HDFC, State Bank of India, ICICI and Axis bank.

WhatApp had obtained the green signal from the government to integrate with the UPI in July 2017. According to Economic Times, the feature is already in beta (testing) stages with one of the partner banks; depending on its performance during the trials, the service will be made available to the users. In the face of frequent reports of Aadhaar data leaks, the feature is undergoing rigorous security checks to ensure safety of user’s bank data. One of the senior bankers involved in the integration process told ET, “To be able to send money as easily as a text message involves ensuring various levels of encryption to keep the data safe.”

Once functional, WhatsApp will join the likes of Google Tez, PhonePe, Paytm, and the government’s BHIM app (Bharat Interface for Money). Being the most widely used social messaging app in India, it is expected to bring a large section of the previously inaccessible population of the country under the digital payment ecosystem.

UPI emerged as one of the fastest growing interfaces for performing online transactions following the demonetisation drive in November 2016.

Sources: Times Now, Economic Times

SBI merges with five other banks increasing its shares

A day after Union Cabinet, chaired by PM Narendra Modi, gave a clear chit to the merger of India’s largest bank with its five associate banks, shares of SBI along with its three subsidiaries – State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur- increased between 3 per cent to 13 per cent.  The merger including State Bank of Haryana and State Bank of Jaipur is likely to result in recurring savings, estimated to be more than Rs. 1,000 crore in the first year.

Some important points to know about the mega merger:
1) Bharatiya Mahila Bank will not be a part of the merger: 

No decision as of yet has been taken on the proposal to merge State Bank of India with Bharatiya Mahila Bank.

2) Swap ratio: 

The swap ratio in the merger as announced earlier will remain the same.

3) Bigger, stronger entity:

The merger is expected to boost the government’s ‘Indradhanush’ action plan – announced by the Finance Ministry in August 2015 to help bring about a desirable efficiency in the overall functioning of PSU banks.
4) Win-win for SBI and associates: 

A global-size bank is expected out of the merger, say analysts.
5) While the merged SBI entity is seen attracting improved operational efficiency and economies of scale, it will also result in improved risk management and unified treasury operations.

Sources: NDTV, TOI

ED attaches Rs 6,630 crore assets to Mallaya

In the latest twist to the ongoing saga of money laundering and bad debts against businessman, Vijay Mallaya and his associates, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized his farmhouse, flats and FDs – worth Rs 6,630 crore on Saturday. This step was taken against the fresh case registered by CBI last month; in addition to the loan default of Rs 6,027 crore filed by SBI led consortium of nationalised banks. So far, the agency has attached assets over Rs 8,000 crore.

Multiple properties and assets including a farm house in Alibaugh worth Rs 25 crore, several flats in the Kingfisher tower in Bengaluru valued at Rs 565 crore, Rs 10 crore worth of fixed deposits at HDFC and shares of USL, United Breweries Limited and McDowell Holding company, jointly held by Mallaya and UBHL and his controlled entities, worth Rs 3,635 crore have been impounded under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Legally, a provisional attachment under PMLA restrains the accused from accessing the money or assets begotten through illegal means and it can be challenged within 180 days before PMLA’s Adjudicating Authority.

Sources: TOIThe Hindu

Companies can appoint qualified female relatives on their board, says SBI Chief

In 2013, the business world saw a great reshuffle as many of the firms got their female family members on the company’s board after India revamped its laws and made it mandatory for listed companies to have at least one woman as a board member.

Taking a cue from this, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chief of State Bank of India on Wednesday said that it is totally acceptable as long as they are eligible to hold the post and understand the nitty-gritty of their businesses. After Securities and Exchange Board of India started imposing fines on firms failing to abide by this policy from 2015, many companies jumped into appointing female board members thereby improving the skewed ratio of women in the workplace.

Bhattacharya is the first woman chairperson of SBI, India’s oldest and biggest public sector banking giant. According to the Forbes, she is one of the 5 powerful women in the world of finance. She rebuffed the common myth that there is a dearth of talented women for the board’s post. The International Labour Organization ranked India 121 out of 130 in terms of female participation in the workforce.

The main reason for women to fall off the corporate ladder is after embracing motherhood. Hence, she enforced a law that allows women to take a sabbatical of two years post their deliveries. She is also known to be vocal about her views on bad debts and the inability of Vijay Mallya to repay his loans. Investors are speculating whether she would continue as the head for the next term. Albeit, she has debunked a myth that a corporation’s responsibility cannot be in a woman’s hand.

Sources: Scroll.inEconomic Times


PSU bank employees on strike, operations hit partly

Banking operations were hit to some extent today, as a section of public sector bank employees, called a nationwide, protesting infringement of bilateral settlement agreement by associate banks of State Bank of India (SBI).

Services like notes handling at branch level and clearing of checks were affected in the branches, where All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) has a strong presence; however, officer grade of employees did not take part in the strike called by AIBEA.

Private sector banks and country’s largest lender SBI continued to function in general.

Most of the banks, including United Bank of India (UBI), had issued advisory to their customers as a precautionary measure, saying that UBI will take all essential steps in terms of existing procedure for smooth performance of branches or offices on the day of strike.

AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said, the strike call was given on December 28, 2015, to protest violation of the bilateral settlement by five associate banks of the SBI, and their try to force unilateral service setting on the employees.

Five subsidiaries of SBI are State Bank of Bikaner, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Hyderabad and Jaipur.


Sources: The Economic TimesGovernance Now

SBI and German Development bank KfW ink pact on $300 mn loan facility

The State Bank of India (SBI) and German Development Bank KfW signed a $300 Million loan facility deal on Tuesday for boosting rural and micro-enterprise on- lending in India. SBI’s priority sector lending activities will be further strengthened by this facility.

The Indian lender bank, in a statement, said that the facility will be used to provide loans to sectors which have been undeserved so far. This will contribute to growth, employment and income in India. The fund raising process will be propelled and arranged by the State Bank of India’s subsidiary, SBI Capital Markets.

V G Kannan, the Managing Director of SBI, and Rolan Siller, Director General Europe and Asia and Nicolai Tust, Principal Country Manager, on behalf of the German Development bank KfW signed the deal in New Delhi on Tuesday.

“Joining hands with India’s largest bank provides an unprecedented opportunity to translate that objective into reality.” said Mr. Siller upon signing the pact with SBI. He further stated that broader financial inclusion is one of the key objectives of the German bank for signing this pact.

Kannan said that he expects SBI’s relationship to grow with KfW in other strategic sectors like clean energy which the country can benefit out of.

Source- business standard

India-Pakistan set to open banks across the border

Courtesy: traveljournals.net

Karachi, July 5: In a landmark move directed at regularizing trade relations, Pakistan’s and India’s banks are set to open branches in each other’s countries, said prominent Pakistani industrialist Mian Muhammad Mansha.

The Express Tribune reported that Mansha disclosed that the central banks of the two countries had completed the requisite work and were waiting to be given the green signal from New Delhi.

Mansha claimed to have met Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who had given him a positive response, and further added that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had nearly processed their application.

The business tycoon also emphasized on building a trade relationship that could cushion blows, and deal with disturbances.

Mansha said,“When our government gave two names, NBP and UBL, to the Indian government, the business community in India asked for MCB Bank instead.”

The two neighbors will sanction three banks to set up branches in their respective territories.

Pakistan, which had more than 65 percent of its trade flowing in from India before 1965, will have three of its bank branches set up in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Amritsar.

In 2012, two Indian banks namely, the State Bank of India, and Bank of India were allowed to operate on Pakistani soil, while India sanctioned National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and privately held United Bank Ltd (UBL) to function within its territory.

Read more: http://www.aninews.in/newsdetail4/story223089/pak-india-set-to-open-banks-across-border-in-039-historic-039-move.html