We recently spoke to four out of six applicants for small finance bank licences, and we were very surprised with what we heard. All of them seem to have given up hope of succeeding in the battle for licences. They aren’t so much keen to pursue it any longer. This is a stark contrast to the enthusiasm they had even the last time we spoke to them about a few months back.

In fact, a CEO of a non-bank applicant said he’s now told his team to prioritise their core tasks. Until about a year back, his team would focus on readying and dispatching the regulators’ replies first and then finish the job at hand. When we ate just going to pile on to the paper work why hurry, he said this time. Ironically, he’s now of the view that his business would be better off without a bank licence. Well, how things change when put to cold storage!