Unity Small Finance Bank, founded by Centrum Group and fintech start-up Bharatpe, commenced operations on Monday as a Small Finance Bank (SFB), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a statement. Unity Bank will take over the assets and liabilities of the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank.
RBI, on October 12, had issued a SFB licence to the consortium of Centrum Financial Services Limited (Centrum), the small business lending arm of the Centrum Group, and Resilient Innovations Private Limited (BharatPe).
The consortium in February 2021 had expressed interest in taking over the scam-hit Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank (PMC Bank). The RBI had in June 2021 given in-principle approval to the consortium to acquire PMC Bank.
"Unity Bank will be a digital first bank with a business model of collaboration and open architecture, uniting all its stakeholders to deliver a seamless digital experience," Centrum Group said in an official statement.
The bank commences operations with Centrum's MSME and micro finance businesses and teams, a capital infusion of approximately Rs 1,100 crore, total assets of about Rs 2,400 crore, active customer base of over 2 lakhs and 145 offices, including a branch in Centrum House, Mumbai.
Jaspal Bindra, Executive Chairman, Centrum Group, said, "We thank the RBI for giving us approval to commence operations at Unity Bank. We aim to make it a truly New Age bank. The bank is well capitalized, significantly higher than the minimum regulatory requirement, giving us the platform to build a robust technological infrastructure, hire the best talent and work with credible vendor partners."
"I would like to sincerely thank the Reserve Bank of India for granting us the approvals for commencing the operations of Unity Bank. We are committed to work tirelessly to build India's first truly Digital Bank. With the capitalization and approvals in place, we will now focus on building tech-first products that will redefine the way India banks," said Ashneer Grover, co-founder and Managing Director, BharatPe.
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