In a moment of pride for every Indian, a homegrown Indian company will for the first time rank among the world's most valuable banks after completing a merger, marking a new challenger to the largest American and Chinese lenders occupying the coveted top spots.
The titie-upf HDFC Bank Ltd. and Housing Development Finance Corp. creates a lender that ranks fourth in equity market capitalisation, behind JPMorgan Chase & Co., Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of America Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It's valued at about $172 billion.
With the merger likely effective July 1, the new HDFC Bank entity will have around 120 million customers - that's greater than the population of Germany. It'll also increase its branch network to over 8,300 and boast of total headcount of more than 177,000 employees.
The 2,000 banknotes were introduced in November 2016 under Section 24(1) of the RBI Act, 1934 -- which allows the central bank to issue notes of any denomination not exceeding 10,000 -- primarily to meet the currency requirement of the economy "in an expeditious manner" after the big demonetisation exercise, in which the legal tender status of all Rs 500 and ? 1,000 banknotes in circulation at that time was withdrawn, the Reserve Bank of India has said.
"With fulfillment of that objective and availability of banknotes in other denominations in adequate quantities, the printing of Rs 2000 banknotes was stopped in 2018-19," RBI said.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das today said the exercise is part of the "currency management system" of the central bank, and "there's no reason to rush to banks" as people have four months to change or deposit Rs 2,000 notes.
RBI Governor said the bank expects most notes to come back. "We will decide what to do next after September 30. But it will continue as legal tender," he said and assured the people, even those living in foreign countries, that the RBI will be sensitive to all their problems.
A total of 7,813 complaints have been received against banks and NBFCs pertaining to digital lending apps and recovery agents under the Integrated Ombudsman Scheme of RBI during the period April 1, 2021 to March 3, this year.
Most of the complaints pertain to lending apps promoted by entities not regulated by the RBI such as companies other than NBFCs, unincorporated bodies and individuals.
Major concerns raised in such complaints were issues of exorbitant interest and charges levied by digital lending apps, and harassment of customers for loan repayments.
In a reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Monday, the Finance ministry said that RBI had cautioned the general public not to fall prey to unscrupulous activities of unauthorised digital lending platforms/ Mobile Apps and verify the antecedents of the company offering such loans.
The RBI has also issued advisories to state governments to keep a check on unauthorised digital lending platforms/ mobile apps through their respective law enforcement agencies.
The RBI has constituted a Working Group on digital lending including lending through online platforms and mobile apps, to study all aspects of digital lending activities in the regulated financial sector as well as by unregulated players.
The thrust of the report has been on enhancing customer protection and making the digital lending ecosystem safe and sound while encouraging innovation.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced "The Reserve Bank - Integrated Ombudsman Scheme, 2021" wherein complaints against Banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) regarding digital lending can be lodged. Under the said scheme, the Ombudsman shall have power to pass an award for any consequential loss suffered by complainant up to Rs 20 lakh, in addition to, up to Rs 1 lakh for the loss of the complainant's time, expenses incurred and for harassment/mental anguish suffered by the complainant.
The increase in prepaid payment instruments transactions could lead to higher than expected growth in wallet transactions and revenue for Paytm, says a Goldman Sachs report
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on June 24 released its 'Payments Vision 2025' report, which talks about the way forward for the Indian digital payments industry. With this comes a big boost for digital payments, which will be a positive for listed players like Paytm.
The RBI expects more than 3x increase in digital payment transactions, an increase in PPI (prepaid payment instruments) transactions by 150 percent, an increase of payment transaction turnover vis-a-vis GDP to 8, an increase in debit card transactions at PoS by 20 percent, card acceptance infrastructure to increase to 250 lakh, increase of registered customer base for mobile-based transactions by 50 percent CAGR and more.
This overall growth will be beneficial for Paytm as it has established itself beyond UPI, and created a full-stack payment ecosystem. Paytm, which introduced India to digital wallets and the QR code, has a host of flexible payment instruments -- Paytm Wallet, Paytm UPI, Paytm Postpaid (Buy Now, Pay Later), Debit Cards, Credit Cards, NetBanking, and EMI and is also a leader in the offline payments market with its devices like Smart PoS and Soundbox.
A Goldman Sachs report dated June 19 notes that this will translate to $98 billion in value of transactions in FY25 (wallet+ cards) vs $39 billion in FY22. Additionally, it is expected that full KYC wallets only will be on UPI rails, where Paytm is a market leader.
"We note that digital wallets formed 77 percent of total PPI transaction value in FY22, a segment where Paytm has 67 percent market share (April 2022). We estimate wallets made up roughly one-third of Paytm's payments revenues in FY22, and a higher than expected growth in wallet transactions could positively impact the market leader Paytm," said the report.
The RBI's vision also states that there will be increased regulations for the fintech sector.
However, companies like Paytm being listed are already aware of regulatory measures and adhering to digital banking guidelines.
So, while it might be disruptive for the industry but it might be immaterial for Paytm.
As venture capital (VC) funds squeeze the flow of money to traditional startups and invest in emerging tech like Web3.0, Binance Labs, the venture capital and incubation arm of leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, on Wednesday announced closing of a $500 million investment fund to boost Blockchain, Web3.0 and value-building technologies.
The fund is supported by leading global institutional investors such as DST Global Partners, Breyer Capital, as well as other major private equity funds, family offices, and corporations as limited partners, Binance said in a statement.
The new fund will invest in projects that can extend the use cases of cryptocurrencies and drive the adoption of Web3.0 and Blockchain technologies.
"The goal of the newly closed investment fund is to discover and support projects and founders with the potential to build and to lead Web3 across DeFi, NFTs, gaming, Metaverse, social and more," said Changpeng Zhao 'CZ', Founder and CEO of Binance.
Since 2018, Binance Labs has invested in and incubated more than 100 projects from over 25 countries.
Its portfolio includes industry-leading projects such as 1inch, Audius, Axie Infinity, Dune Analytics, Elrond, Injective, Polygon, Optimism, The Sandbox, and STEPN.
With the new fund, Binance Labs will make investments across three different stages: incubation, early-stage venture, and late-stage growth.
Early-stage venture investments include token and equity investments across all sectors of cryptocurrency and Web3.0, including infrastructure, DeFi, NFTs, gaming, Metaverse, social, and crypto adoption platforms.
Late-stage growth investments target more mature companies looking to scale or bridge into the Web3.0 ecosystem with the Binance ecosystem as a solid strategic partner, said the company.
Earlier, US-based investment firm Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z) announced two new funds -- a massive $4.5 billion fund for crypto and Blockchain companies and Web3.0 startups and a $600 million 'Games Fund One' that is exclusively focused on the gaming industry.
A group of former executives from one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges Binance has also reportedly created a $100 million venture fund.
Web3, or Web 3.0, represents the next generation of the Internet.
The Indian currency rupee touched yet another all-time low against the US dollar earlier this morning.
The rupee fell 14 paise to 77.69 per US dollar.
Money market participants are currently closely watching the domestic share market for clues to fund flows.
An expectation of tightening monetary policy rates in the US also weighed on the rupee as any rate hike in the advanced markets typically follows with fund outflows from the emerging markets in order to accumulate higher returns.
Rupee has been under pressure after the global central banks started the normalising policy and last week RBI too started raising key interest rates.
Besides, the rupee weakened on account of a surge in the global crude oil prices.
Shares of the much-awaited Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) made a weak listing on the stock exchanges on Tuesday.
The Indian insurance major listed on the stock exchanges at a discount of 8.62 per cent at Rs 867, from its Initial Public Offering (IPO) issue price of Rs 949.
The initial public offering of LIC had, however, received robust response from investors as the insurance major's offer has been subscribed 2.89 times.
It received bids for 46.77 crore equity shares against IPO size of 16.2 crore equity shares.
The portion set aside for policyholders has been subscribed 5.97 times, employees bid 4.31 times the allotted quota and retail investors 1.94 times, while the reserved portion of qualified institutional buyers has booked 2.83 times and that of non-institutional investors 2.8 times.
The long-awaited IPO for the LIC was open for subscription till May 9.
The government has brought down the issue size from 5 per cent to 3.5 per cent -- Rs 21,000 crore.
It will be a landmark public issue in the history of the Indian capital market and is poised to be India's biggest IPO till date.
The IPO values LIC at Rs 6 lakh crore.
The issue offer of the LIC was in the price band of Rs 902 to Rs 949.
Also, the policyholders were offered a Rs 60 discount, while for retail investors, the discount was at Rs 45.
The Pakistani currency depreciated by Rs 0.60 to an all-time low of Rs 188.66 against the US dollar in the interbank market on Tuesday, as looming uncertainty over the resumption of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme took a toll on the local unit, Geo News reported.
The local currency surpassed its April 7 record low of Rs 188.18.
Currency dealers believe that a delay in the IMF programme, lack of immediate financial support from friendly countries, depleting foreign exchange reserves and surging trade deficit kept the pressure on the domestic currency.
The new government's reluctance to remove subsidies on fuel and electricity -- which are the pre-conditions for the revival of the IMF programme -- dampened investors' sentiment.
Moreover, investors are concerned about the falling foreign currency reserves -- as the inflows from remittances and export proceeds are not sufficient to meet the market demand -- and growing external debt payments and soaring imports. This is putting pressure on the rupee, Geo News reported.
There is also ambiguity over the financial support from Saudi Arabia, UAE and China. The political temperature was also rising following the former Prime Minister Imran Khan's announcement that he would march with his supporters to Islamabad after May 20 to demand new elections.
Hailing the India digital payments growth story, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai has said that the company's payments strategy is very similar to the strategy it has for commerce overall.
During the company's quarterly earnings call, Pichai said that the digital payments work in India is "certainly what really got everything started".
"We now have 150 million people across 40 countries using Google Pay. We're making sure it works across the board, works well, easy to use for all the sites. And then over time, we will innovate and build new digital experiences," Pichai said late on Tuesday.
He emphasised that the company seeks Google Pay to work smoothly, both on the merchant and the financial institution side, "and making sure they can connect with the customers well".
'We are really building for scale, building for simplicity. And then over time, we will layer on additional helpful features," Pichai added.
According to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), unified payments interface (UPI) processed 5.04 billion transactions till March 29, amounting to Rs 8.88 trillion.
This was 11.5 per cent higher than the volume of transactions processed in February and 7.5 per cent higher in terms of value of transactions processed.
The Indian digital payment space is currently dominated by PhonePe, Google Pay and Paytm.
High crude oil prices combined with fears of rising inflation are expected to keep the Indian rupee under pressure, next week. Lately, the Brent crude oil price has remained elevated due to the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The price has hovered in the range of $100-$110 in the last few weeks. "Rupee has been under pressure due to rising US bond yields, inflation and high crude oil prices," said Sajal Gupta Head Fx & Rates Edelweiss.
"These circumstances are going to be tough for the Indian rupee to appreciate. Expect rupee to trade between 75.50 and 76.25 in the next week." Last week, the rupee closed at 75.90 to a greenback.
"Next week is a relatively shorter week but market participants will be keeping an eye on the inflation and industrial production number to gauge a view for the currency," said Gaurang Somaiya, Forex & Bullion Analyst, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.
"Expectation is that inflation could remain elevated following the recent rise in energy and food prices. On the other hand, industrial production could grow at a slower pace in January and could further weigh on the currency."
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) is slated to release the macro-economic data points of Index of Industrial Production (IIP), Consumer Price Index (CPI) on March 12.
On the other hand, expectations of India Inc's healthy Q4FY22 results season should attract fresh equity-focused foreign funds which might cub any sharp weakness in the Indian rupee versus the US dollar.
"Dollar index has surged past week and it is now trading near the crucial psychological mark of 100," said Devarsh Vakil, Deputy Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.
"Rupee is likely to consolidate next week on back of improving sentiments for equity markets. In the near term, spot USD INR is expected to trade in the range of 76.20 to 75.70. with a bias towards appreciation."
As the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) barred Paytm from taking on new customers for its Payments Bank, a new report on Thursday said that fintech platforms' dominance in digital payments may not result in significant data advantage over banks.
According to Moody's Investors Service, the introduction of the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) in 2017, which allows funds to be transferred instantaneously, has been a key catalyst to the development of digital payments due to the ease of use of apps running on the system.
"However, their dominance may not lead to significant advantages over banks, because the UPI's open architecture means that a large user base does not necessarily make a particular service provider more competitive than others on the system," said Srikanth Vadlamani, Moody's Vice President and Senior Credit Officer.
Also, banks that are playing a crucial role in facilitating UPI payments, have access to transactions on the network.
"Because of this, fintechs' dominance in digital payments may not result in a significant data advantage over banks," the report mentioned.
Large Banks, on the other hand, have significantly improved their digital capabilities for key retail services.
Private sector banks and industry leader State Bank of India have significantly improved their own digital products in other areas, with customers adopting them widely.
"This will help these banks fend off competition from fintechs outside the payment segment. On the other hand, public sector banks other than SBI have relatively weak digital offerings and will be negatively impacted from the heightened competitive intensity," the report noted.
Fintechs will continue to try to expand into other financial services, particularly personal loans and loans to small merchants.
"However, at the same time, the overall market may also expand as technology creates more opportunities, allowing banks to counter pressure on margins with business growth," the Moody's report said.
Overall, fintech payment companies in India have led the rapid growth of digital payments in the country, but their dominance may not translate to competitive advantages to expand into other financial services.
In addition, India's major banks have significantly beefed up their digital product offerings and can withstand the competition from fintech, according to the report.