Money & Banking

'New banks should be allowed to maintain competition, says Rangarajan

Anjana Chandramouly Chennai | Updated on March 12, 2018

Mr Pratip Chaudri, Chairman, SBI, with Dr C. Rangarajan, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister at Bancon 2011, in Chennai. - Bijoy Ghosh

BANCON1   -  Business Line

If the banking system needs to remain competitive over time, there should be no bar on the entry of new banks, Dr C. Rangarajan, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, said at the Bancon-2011 here on Saturday.

“A closed system could only become oligopolistic. The ‘threat’ of entry should not be eliminated,’’ he added. It is up to the RBI to lay down norms for entry and also decide on who satisfies the criterion of “fit and proper’’.

Dr Rangarajan also said that the recent financial crisis has “forced us to re-evaluate the size, role and rate of growth of the financial sector’’.

The regulatory regime needs to be restructured to make the banking system more sound.

“Excessive risk taking and leveraging by banks need to be discouraged by appropriate regulatory measures or controls,’’ he said.

In order to enable the financial system to meet the diversified needs of a growing economy, there is the “need to encourage the emergence of a vibrant corporate debt market’’, which will help not only large industries but also SMEs.

“We would also need institutions which will serve as market makers offering two-way quotes. This will provide the required liquidity to the market and make it attractive to the investors,’’ he said, adding that banks should explore innovative ways of financing infrastructure.

Even as regulatory oversight of innovations is necessary, Dr Rangarajan said that regulatory perspective on innovation “must not become too restrictive’’. Policy-makers should strike an appropriate balance between the “need for financial innovations to sustain growth and the need for regulation to ensure stability’’.

He also urged the banks to take a re-look at the organisational structure of rural branches to meet the credit needs of marginal farmers.

The banks should also play a proactive role in organising self-help groups, and it is important to enlarge the scale and scope of activities of the SHGs. “This would enable the banks to reach out to people with low incomes including marginal farmers,’’ said Dr Rangarajan.

According to him, the business correspondents’ model of financial inclusion has not been satisfactory. Hence, banks should explore the possibilities of looking at other alternatives.

“We should explore the possibilities of looking at low-cost brick-and-mortar branches in panchayat headquarters. Profitability rests on making the operational cost of such branches low,’’ he pointed out. He added that it was worthwhile to re-open the issue of setting up local area banks.

Published on November 05, 2011

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