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Airtel acquires undisclosed stake in lending company Seynse

Bharti Airtel has acquired a strategic stake in Seynse Technologies, a fintech company, through its subsidiary Bharti Airtel Services. The financial details of the deal were undisclosed.

Seynse runs a digital lending platform called Loan Singh, which lets users avail loans as well as lend them. The platform asks for users to keep account statements, PAN card and Aadhaar at hand when looking for a loan, to speed up the process. It claims to disburse loans within 48 hours of application.

For lenders, the company offers an interest rate of 16-19%, 20-23% and 24-28% based on risks and return preferences. Investments start off at Rs 10,000, with lenders getting to set their own tenure, between 3-24 months, for the return. The company claims to verify borrowers through credit scoring model based on data, a verification process, and machine learning algorithms.

Note that Airtel is also running a payments bank in India. Though Airtel Payments Bank cannot lend to customers directly, they will be allowed to appoint business correspondents who can facilitate loan sourcing for other financial institutions.

Airtel Payments Bank can also undertake other non-risk sharing simple financial services activities, such as distribution of mutual funds, insurance products, pension products, etc.

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The telecom company, however, should pay attention to the RBI’s guidelines which mandate that a payments bank cannot set up subsidiaries to undertake non-banking financial services activities. 

The other financial and non-financial services activities of the promoters, if any, should be kept distinctly ring-fenced and not co-mingled with the banking and financial services business of the Payments Bank.

Airtel’s investments:

Earlier this month, Airtel completed the merger of Augere Wireless Broadband’s wireless business unit. In May last year, the company had acquired Videocon’s 1800Mhz spectrum in 6 circles.

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