Yes Bank Ltd is in discussions to acquire a 9.99% equity stake in So Hum Bharat Digital Payments Pvt Ltd, a payments industry-led entity which will apply for a license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate as a New Umbrella Entity (NUE) for retail payments, according to a press statement.
So Hum, which is led by Navin Surya, Chairman Emeritus of Payments Council of India and Chairman of Fintech Convergence Council, is one of the first entities to be set up specifically for the NUE license. Infibeam Avenues also holds a 33.33% stake as a promoter in So Hum.
“Yes Bank believes in Fintech First strategy exactly like So Hum. I have always been impressed by Yes Bank’s success in the Fintech ecosystem driven by innovative and disruptive products and solutions,” Surya said in a statement.
Under the RBI’s guideline, the NUE will need to have minimum paid-up capital of ₹500 crore and at the time of making an application for the license it should demonstrate that it has a minimum of ₹50 crore of capital. “The promoters have committed ₹52 crore as of now and we plan to raise close to ₹600 crore. For the remaining funds we are in touch with some fintech founders, strategic investors like payment companies, fintechs, companies based on the use-case, banks that have a fintech focus and eventually even financial investors,” Surya told MediaNama in an interview last month.
Several other banks are also looking to partner-up and form an entity to apply for a NUE license, while the Tata Group has also thrown its hat in the right to set up a competitor to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Further, a few global tech giants are also exploring the option of buying minority equity stake in an NUE entity.
Unlike the NPCI, which is not-for-profit entity that is backed by the banks, the NUE entity can be profit-making, according to RBI guidelines. While the RBI has invited applications till the end of February 2021, an expert committee will evaluate the applications after which the Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems will take a final call on granting licenses, within a six-month period.