The Reserve Bank, which issued clarifications on the new bank licence guidelines, is expected to grant new licences by March next year.

On Monday, the central bank issued clarifications making it more stringent for getting new bank licence even as it allowed the aspirants to have the holding and capital structure of the bank-holding company in place within 18 months of getting the in-principle nod, instead of 12 months prescribed earlier.

RBI also said aspirants from the NFBC/insurance spaces will have to get the go-ahead from their concerned regulators like SEBI and IRDA and that their views on the same will prevail over the RBI’s own views on the proposed non-operative financial holding company (NOFHC).

On the holding and capital structure of NOFHC, RBI said it is not necessary that individual along with his related parties have shareholding in the holding company.

Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Takru in February had said that he expects new bank licences to be issued by the end of March next year.

“I think with all going well, with all clearances, by end of the financial year (2013-14) we will see some success,” he had said.

Takru had said the RBI guidelines aim to “ensure that only responsible people enter the (banking) space”.

When asked if public sector entities hold edge over private corporates, he had said there will be a level playing field and RBI would not show favour to any entity.

RBI, in clarifications, also said it will not be possible for it to issue licences to all eligible applicants, making it tougher for aspirants to enter into the banking fray.

RBI will look for very high quality applications to launch new banks, it said.

Replying to a specific query on the lack of level-playing due to the insistence on having 25 per cent presence in rural areas, RBI said all the incremental branches by the existing players are opened in the same proportion.

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