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Co-operative banks can now issue open and semi-closed wallets: RBI

It looks like there might be more wallets coming in. Now, co-operative banks will be allowed to issue semi-closed and open wallets, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a notification. The RBI said that all licenced co-operative banks with their own ATM network can issue semi-closed prepaid payment instruments (PPIs).

But to issue open system wallets, the RBI has added other requirements. The co-operative banks will have have to have a core banking solution (CBS), and a minimum net worth of Rs 25 crore with gross non-performing assets (NPAs) less than 7% and net NPAs than 3% in the preceding financial year. The RBI also said that there should not be any default in maintaining cash reserve ratio (CRR) and statutory liquidity requirements (SLR) in the preceding financial year.

Co-operative banks will have to have made a net profit in the preceding financial year and maintain a minimum capital adequacy ratio of  9% in the preceding financial year and the board should consist of at least two professional directors. These banks will also have to undergo an audit of their IT systems and make sure that their core banking software (CBS) is compliant six months before applying.

The RBI has issued nine new wallet licences this year which include e-commerce player Amazon, Delhi Metro Rail, POS player Pine Labs and Manappuram Finance Limited.

Note commercial banks, such as State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, and HDFC Bank, are allowed to issue semi-closed wallets and have been encouraging customers to adopt them. They are also allowed to partner with other financial companies to issue a wallet. An example was when FreeCharge launched its wallet service, it had partnered with YES Bank when it did not have a licence of its own.

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Wallet guidelines review: The RBI notification comes at a time when it is reviewing guidelines for wallets. The draft guidelines prescribe tougher norms including higher net worth requirements, KYC norms, and merchant guidelines.  Wallets will have to have a minimum net worth of  Rs 25 crore, a sharp turn from the earlier regulatory norms for wallets included a minimum paid-up capital needed of Rs 5 crore and a minimum net worth of Rs 1 crore.

Companies will have to convert existing wallets without complete KYC to full KYC compliant wallets within a period of 60 days from the date of issue. Failure to do so, no further credit will be allowed into these wallets. Read more here.

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