Reliance plans to enter banking business

Reliance plans to enter banking business

"We have always regarded banking as a high-priority sector with huge potential opportunity, and are evaluating the different options contained in the (RBI's proposed) guidelines," Group Chairman Anil Ambani said at the Annual General Meeting of Reliance Capital here.

He was referring to a discussion paper recently floated by RBI on grant of new banking licenses. "It has always been our ambition to create a world-class bank," Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Capital, said.

"The Reserve Bank of India has recently come out with a discussion paper, containing revised guidelines for the grant of a banking licence," he said. "These guidelines outline a number of different licensing options for a company such as ours, namely, conversion, promotion or acquisition," Ambani told Reliance Capital shareholders at the company's 24th AGM.

Underlining the need for more banks in the country, he said that there were not enough bank branches or even ATMs to cater to the entire population. "A strong, vibrant economy needs a sound and efficient financial system. Our financial institutions and markets must become truly inclusive so that they reach out to ordinary men and women and help them achieve their financial goals.

"In common with many other sectors of the economy, there is much to be done here," he said, adding that India was a country of over 6 lakh villages but our largest bank has only 14,000 branches. "In fact, the ATMs of all banks taken together do not cross the 6-lakh number," he said.

Reliance Capital, which has presence in a host of financial services segments such as mutual fund, insurance and non-banking finance, has been interested for a long time in setting up a bank.

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