Banking & Finance Current Affairs 2017 - Current Affairs Today

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  • Reliance Capital Arm and YES Bank in Bancassurance Pact

    Reliance General Insurance, a subsidiary of Reliance Capital, has signed a comprehensive bancassurance-corporate agency agreement with YES Bank. YES Bank with its network of 1,040 branches across all 29 States and seven Union Territories will enable Reliance General Insurance to reach a large base of retail and MSME clients. This is the first partnership signed by YES Bank since the open-architecture norms under the corporate agency regulations were introduced by the IRDAI in April 2016.

    Paytm and ICICI Bank collaborate to offer short-term instant digital credit

    Digital payments services company, Paytm entered into a tie-up with ICICI Bank to jointly launch ‘Paytm-ICICI Bank Postpaid’, that offers short-term credit to their common customers. The offers instant digital credit for various transactions including payment for movie tickets, bill payments, flights, as well as physical goods without any documentation or transaction fees. Under this facility, real-time credit assessment of customers is done through  Big Data based algorithm of ICICI Bank.

    RBI Governor Urjit Patel Appointed to Advisory Board of BIS

    RBI Governor Urjit Patel was appointed to the Financial Stability Institute Advisory Board of the Bank of International Settlement (BIS). The Bank of International Settlement is a global financial organization owned by major central banks from across the world. The Financial Stability Institute (FSI) of the BIS assists financial sector authorities worldwide in strengthening their financial systems.

    BSE Appoints S Ravi as its New Chairman

    Eminent chartered accountant Sethurathnam Ravi appointed as the chairman of the leading Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Ravi, who was a public interest director at the BSE, replaced Dhirendra Swarup. The appointment has been approved by Market regulator SEBI.

    RBI Rejects HDFC Bank's Request to Declassify HDFC as FII

    The Reserve Bank of India has reportedly rejected HDFC Bank's plea to declassify its parent Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC) as a foreign institutional investor (FII). The RBI has rejected the request citing current rules which require HDFC to be classified as FII. The move will have an impact on HDFC Bank's fundraising program from qualified institutional placement (QIP). FIIs being barred from investing in the bank will limit the fundraising options as it can only be raised from domestic investors.

    India to Become 3rd Largest Economy by 2028 BofA ML Report

    A report by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch stated that in the next decade, India will overtake Japan to become the third-largest economy. The factors that will enable this are reduced dependency on other nations, financial maturity, and higher income and affordability. The report also adds that India is likely to become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2019. As per data available in the report, India is likely to cross Germany and Japan in nominal GDP by 2028 assuming that the nation witnesses a 10% growth every year for the next 10 years.

    Home loan limit for Central Government employees raised to Rs.25 Lakh from earlier Rs.7.5 lakh

    The government has raised the maximum amount that a Central government employee can borrow from the government for house-building to Rs.25 lakh from the earlier Rs.7.5 lakh. The interest rate on the loan amount shall be at a uniform rate of 8.5% at simple interest, in place of the earlier four slabs of interest rates ranging from 6% to 9.5%.

    Federal Bank gets RBI nod to open offices in Kuwait, Singapore

    Federal Bank has obtained RBI approval to open representative offices at Kuwait and Singapore. The bank already has its representative offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and it has tied up with 110+ overseas banks/remittance partners.

    RBI asksbanks to provide doorstep banking facilities to senior citizens of more than 70 years of age

    The RBI asked banks to provide doorstep banking facilities to senior citizens of more than 70 years of age and differently-abled persons by December this year. Banks have been directed that senior citizens and specially-abled persons, including the visually-impaired, should be provided basic services like pick-up and delivery of cash, chequebooks and demand drafts at their residence.

    Dubai based Emirates NBD bank begins operations in India

    United Arab Emirates (UAE’s) second largest bank, Emirates NBD started operations in India by opening a branch in Mumbai. plan to invest USD 100 million capital into its Indian operations over a period of time. The Mumbai branch is Emirates NBD’s fifth international branch outside of its UAE. Emirates NBD’s Mumbai branch will offer a range of services to corporate, institutional clients and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

    IDFC Bank Partners with MobiKwik

    IDFC Bank entered into a “strategic alliance” with mobile wallet major MobiKwik to launch a co-branded virtual Visa prepaid card for customers of MobiKwik.  Important feature of this alliance is one need not be a customer of IDFC Bank to use the co-branded pre-paid card.

    PayPal Launches Domestic Payments in India

    American digital payments company PayPal launched domestic operations in India. At launch, Indian consumers will be able to make transactions at select online merchants. Merchants offering PayPal will be able to process both local and global payments through the platform getting access to PayPal’s more than 200 million customers around the world and in India through a single integration. The company is yet to receive a prepaid payment instrument (PPI) license from the Reserve Bank of India.

    Reserve Bank of India to launch public awareness campaign through SMSes

    Reserve Bank of India - RBI launch a public awareness campaign through SMSes to educate public about various banking regulations and facilities available. It is the first time it uses the media SMS and emails as those used by the fraudsters. The public can give a missed call to 86919-60000 to get more information through Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) on fake calls and emails as well as invest wisely and cautiously in chit funds.

    Bank of China Begins Operations in Pakistan

    Bank of China formally launched its operations in Pakistan, with its first branch inaugurated in Karachi. The bank would strengthen the "brotherly relations" between the two countries in the financial sector.

    IPPB Bank to become operational in 650 districts by April 2018

    India Post Payments Bank will become operational in all 650 districts of the country by April next year. These banks will be linked to 1.55 lakh rural post offices and carry out banking services.

    India Signs Loan Agreement with World Bank for US $119 Million

    A Financing Agreement for IBRD loan of US$ 119 million (equivalent) for the “Odisha Higher Education Programme for Excellence & Equity (OHEPEE) Project” was signed with the World Bank. The Objective of the project is to improve the quality of 'students’ equitable access to selected institutions and enhance governance of the higher education system in Odisha. The closing date for the project is 30th November, 2022.

    Paytm introduces BHIM UPI for seamless money transfer

    Paytm introduced payments using BHIM UPI through which users can create their own Paytm BHIM UPI ID on the app, using which customers can transfer money. Using BHIM UPI users can create their own Paytm BHIM UPI ID on the app, which will be issued by Paytm Payments Bank. As per the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) guidelines, users can send up to Rs. 1 lakh a day using BHIM UPI and there is no receiving limit.

    HDFC Bank makes RTGS, NEFT online transactions free

    HDFC Bank Limited made online transactions through RTGS and NEFT free of cost from with an aim to promote a digital economy. For a customer can avail one chequebook of 25 leaves free, only once in a year. If a cheque is returned due to insufficient funds, each such cheque will attract a penalty of Rs 500. In cases where cheques deposited are returned unpaid, the charge has been raised to Rs 200 per instance.

    India pledges additional $100 million towards UN partnership fund

    India pledged an additional 100 million US Dollar towards the UN partnership fund, significantly scaling up it support to sustainable development projects across the developing world. It was announced by the Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, Anjani Kumar on Monday at the 2017 UN Pledging Conference for Development Activities.

    HSBC Bank pledges $100 billion of finance by 2025 to combat climate change

    HSBC Bank pledged to provide $100 billion in financing and investment by 2025 to help combat climate change. They promised $100billion of finance for low-carbon technology and sustainable development by 2025 as part its commitment to tackling climate change and other “green” goals. They would become more transparent about risks to its business and to those of its clients from climate change by adopting recommendations made by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures.

    SBI reduced interest rates for home, auto loans by 0.05 percent

    State Bank of India (SBI) has reduced the interest rates on home and automobile loans by 0.05%, effective November 1. It has cut interest rate on home loans to 8.3% and on auto loans to 8.7%. SBI also cut its fixed deposit rates by 0.25% to 6.25% for most maturities and for senior citizens, the rate has been reduced to 6.75%.

    Maximum Age of Joining NPS Increased from 60 to 65 years: Finance Ministry

    The Ministry of Finance increased the maximum age of joining the National Pension System (NPS) from the existing 60 years to 65 years under NPS - Private Sector (i.e. all citizen and corporate model). In accordance with several initiatives undertaken by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) during the last few years, now any Indian citizen, resident or non-resident, between the age of 60 - 65 years, can join NPS and continue up to the age of 70 years.

    India Makes it to Top 100 in ‘ease of doing business World Bank

    India broke into the top 100 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, notching up the biggest improvement among all countries on the back of big gains on a number of measures. The rise to the 100th position from 130 last year made India one of the top 10 best-improved countries and rounded off a day of good news on the economic front for the government. The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2018 is Reforming to Create Jobs’ report ranks 190 countries on the basis of a combined score on 10 parameters. India is the only large country this year to have achieved such a significant shift.

    India and World Bank Signed $200 Million Loan Agreement for Assam

    The Government of India and the World Bank signed a $200 million Loan Agreement for the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project. The Project will support Assam to facilitate agri-business investments, increase agricultural productivity and market access. The Project will be implemented in over 16 Districts of Assam. Over 500,000 farming households will directly benefit from the Project.

    Union Government Makes Use of Public Finance Management System Mandatory for Central Schemes

    The Centre has made the use of Public Finance Management System (PFMS) mandatory for all central schemes. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated that making use of the PFMS mandatorily will ensure benefits of government schemes to reach the last mile.  The move would help in tracking and monitoring the flow of funds to the implementing agencies.  A total of 613 schemes of the central government will be covered under PFMS. The ambit of PFMS coverage includes central sector and centrally sponsored schemes as well as other expenditures including the Finance Commission grants.

    SIDBI Revamps Portal for Easy Credit Access

    Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) revamped its portal with enhanced features to provide easy access to credit and hand-holding services for micro small medium enterprises (MSME). The portal is mobile-enabled and provides a self-assessment module (auto assisting in categorization). It sends various information on registered MSMEs from time to time. It also allows loan applications to be perused and picked up by multiple lenders.

    India and ADB Signed $65.5 Million Loan to Support Coastal Protection

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $65.5 million loan agreement in New Delhi to continue interventions to check coastal erosion on the Western Coast in Karnataka. The loan is the Second Tranche of a $250 million financing facility under the Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Program. The financing will be used to address the immediate coastal protection needs and for strengthening institutional capacity of Karnataka’s Public Works, Ports and Inland Water Transport Department.

    Reserve Bank of India Slaps Rs2-crores Penalty on IDFC Bank

     The Reserve Bank of India imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 2 crore on IDFC Bank for contravention of regulatory restrictions pertaining to loans and advances. The penalty has been imposed in the exercise of powers vested in RBI under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, taking into account failure of the bank to adhere to certain directions issued by RBI.

    India and Asian Development Bank Sign $300 Million Loan

    The Asian Development Bank and the Government of India signed a $300 million loan to continue a series of fiscal reforms in the State of West Bengal to improve the quality of public service delivery. The Second West Bengal Development Finance Program targets a further increase in public investment through the reduction of unproductive expenditure.

    Union Cabinet Approves Rs 2.11 lakh crores PSBs' Capitalisation Plan

    The Indian government announced an allocation of Rs 2.11 lakh crore over 2 years for the recapitalization of public sector banks. As part of the plan, the government will essentially issue bonds to banks worth Rs 1.35 lakh crore while Rs 76,000 crore will come through budgetary support. Lenders will subscribe to these bonds as part of their investment portfolio. The money raised by the government will then be used to recapitalize banks.

    IndusInd Bank Launches m-wallet with MobiKwik

    IndusInd Bank, in association with MobiKwik, announced the launch of a co-branded wallet ‘IndusInd MobiKwik’ that allows its customers to pay at the MobiKwik merchant network using their accounts, with a ’Direct Debit Feature’. The direct debit feature will allow IndusInd Bank account holders to link their accounts just once and pay using the co-branded app as and when required, thereby eliminating the need to load the MobiKwik prepaid wallet separately.

    SBI launches ‘2nd SBI Digital Hackathon’ Digitize For Bank

    State Bank of India (SBI) launched the second edition of its Hackathon. This hackathon has been named ‘Digitize For Bank’. The main focus is on four ‘Cognitive’ themes namely Facial Recognition, Signature Recognition, Voice based Authentication and Cheque Truncation Value Enhancers. The winners will get an opportunity for incubation and acceleration with SBI.

    HSBC Appoints Jayant Rikhye as CEO India

    The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) announced the appointment of Jayant Rikhye as the Chief Executive Officer for India. He succeeds Stuart Milne. Mr. Rikhye is currently Head of International, Asia-Pacific, responsible for 11 markets in the region.

    Linking Aadhaar number to bank accounts is mandatory, says RBI

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) clarifies that linking bank accounts to Aadhaar is mandatory under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, dismissing media reports which suggested that such a linkage is not mandatory. The government had notified under PMLA that every bank account should be linked to Aadhaar by 31 December, failing which the accounts will become inoperative. The government in June had made Aadhaar mandatory for opening bank accounts as well as for any financial transaction of Rs. 50,000 and above.

    Income Tax dept Launches ‘Online Chat’ to answer Taxpayers Queries

    The Income Tax Department launched an ‘online chat’ service for taxpayers so that they can seek answers to their basic queries and doubts relating to direct tax issues. A window has been hosted on the main page of the department’s website —  with a prominent icon stating ‘Live Chat Online - ask your query.’ A team of experts from the department and independent tax practitioners has been deputed to answer the general queries of a taxpayer. The first-time initiative is aimed to enhance taxpayer services in the country.

    MCX launches first commodity options trading with gold

    Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) launched trading in Gold option’s contract in presence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Underlying for Gold options contract which is currently available for trading are Gold (1 Kg) futures expiring on November 28, 2017, and January 29, 2018. The Options in securities and commodities market are primarily meant for hedging. However they are also used for speculation.

    Bangkok Bank signs deal with Intellect Design for Digital Transaction Banking Platform

    Bangkok Bank is Thailand’s market leader in corporate and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) banking. The digital portal which will be developed by iGTB for Bangkok Bank will integrate a number of previously separate platforms, thereby enabling a consistent and consolidated view of clients’ working capital and payments activities, irrespective of the country they operate in. With back-end processing of transactions, risk management and reporting, all centralised and handled in one place, Bangkok Bank’s transaction processing rate will improve significantly.

    IBM Launches Blockchain Banking Network To Speed Cross-border Payments

    International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) announced the launch of IBM Blockchain, a new blockchain banking solution, that will help financial institutions for cross-border payments. It is partnered with regional financial services company KlickEx Group and, a nonprofit organization that supports an open source blockchain network for financial services.

    Amazon and Microsoft Ties up to Launch Deep Learning Platform

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft have teamed up to launch an open-source and deep learning interface 'Gluon' that will help developers to deploy machine learning models across several platforms. The interface would give developers a place where they can prototype, build, train and deploy machine learning models.

    Mastercard Launched its First Innovation Centre in India

    US-based fintech company Mastercard has announced the launch of its global research and development arm Mastercard Labs in Pune, India. After Singapore, this will be the second Mastercard Labs in Asia-Pacific, and ninth in the world. The initiative aims to bring and harness new commerce, payment and technology ideas at a fast pace in the country.

    Standard Chartered Bank opens new GBS centre in Bengaluru

    Standard Chartered Bank opened its Global Business Services (GBS) center in Bengaluru which will complement its existing GBS centers in China, India, and Malaysia. The GBS in Bengaluru will deliver support, client due diligence and advisory services for Standard Chartered’s corporate and institutional banking customers. The Latest technologies in data, robotics and software development will be used at this center.

    PNB MetLife appoints Ashish Kumar Srivastava as MD, CEO

    Private life insurance company Punjab National Bank (PNB) MetLife appointed Ashish Kumar Srivastava as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. He was an interim CEO at PNB MetLife. Srivastava joined PNB MetLife in 2013 as the Head of HR for the India business.

    GoM Set Up to Review Composition Scheme

    A Group of ministers (GoM) set up under Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to make the composition scheme more attractive and also revisit GST rates on restaurants. With only 15.50 lakh businesses out of the total 98 lakh registered under the goods and services tax (GST) regime opting for the composition scheme, the GST Council has decided to set up the GoM to examine measures to make it more attractive.

    Reserve Bank of India to soon Launch Financial Literacy Drive in 9 States

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is to launch a financial literacy drive in 80 blocks in nine states on the pilot basis to educate people on e-transactions, formal sector borrowings, and insurance purchases. According to RBI, it commissions 9 states of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh by the 6 NGOs in collaboration with the sponsor Banks. The main aim is to inculcate the habit of making a household budget and recording financial transactions, encourage transactions in savings accounts, and active saving by depositing in banks through fixed deposits and recurring deposits.

    Reserve Bank of India opens branch in Dehradun

    Reserve Bank of India (RBI) opened a branch in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The branch was inaugurated by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. Earlier, all the banking related works of the Uttarakhand State Government were carried out through the Reserve Bank of India branch at Kanpur.

    Union Government Names Rajnish Kumar as SBI's Next Chairman

    The Union Government named Rajnish Kumar as the new chairman of State Bank of India for a three-year term. He succeeds Arundhati Bhattacharya.

    Union Government Keeps Interest Rates Unchanged on Small Savings Schemes

    The Small Saving Schemes like PPF, Kisan Vikas Patra and Sukanya Samriddhi for October-December quarter. Investments in the Public Provident Fund (PPF) scheme will fetch annual rate of 7.8 percent while Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) investments will yield 7.5 percent and mature in 115 months. The one for girl child savings, Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme will offer 8.3 percent annually. Similarly, the investment on 5-year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme will yield 8.3 percent.

    India Jumps to 14th Rank as Best Country for Expats HSBC Survey

    According to the HSBC survey, India placed at global rankings by 12 places to take the 14th spot in terms of best country for expats to live and work. The list is part of HSBC's latest 'expat explorer survey' that covered 27,587 expats from 159 countries and territories in March and April 2017. About 71 percent expats in India reported high levels of confidence in the local economy, while 58 percent exuded optimism on political stability.

    Union Government finalising Electoral Bonds Scheme

    The Union Government is finalizing electoral bonds scheme in order to bring greater transparency in the funding of political parties. The scheme was announced in 2017-18. According to Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), most political parties use lax regime on donations to accept cash donations from anonymous sources. Nearly 70% of Rs.11,300 crore in party funding over an 11-year period came from unknown sources.

    Asian Development Bank to Increase Annual Lending to India to $4 billion

    The Asian Development Bank will increase its annual lending to India to a maximum of $4 billion between 2018 and 2022 to help fasten inclusive economic transformation towards upper middle-income status. The proposal was endorsed at new ADB Country Partnership Strategy for 2018- 2022. The new lending programme, which includes private sector operations, is much higher than the average $2.65 billion a year in loans extended during 2012 and 2016.  

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