Flipkart cofounder Sachin Bansal’s Chaitanya India Fin Credit (CIFCPL) has submitted an application to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a universal bank license. The license is sought to increase financialisation by making banking simple, accessible and affordable via a consumer-centric and technology-driven approach.
In September 2019, Bansal announced that he has acquired Chaitanya Rural Intermediation Development Services Private Limited (CRIDS), a non-banking finance company (NBFC) and took over as the CEO of the company.
CRIDS, which runs CIFCPL provides the underbanked population in rural areas access to credit. Founded in 2009 by Anand Rao and Samit Shetty, the majority of its business is in microfinance. It also provides loans for two-wheelers, housing, small business and education.
With the license application, CIFCPL aims to bridge the credit gap for the retail and MSME sector by developing industry-leading technology and global best practices as a mainstay.
“Building a universal bank is a reflection of our commitment to provide financial services to those who need them most,” said Sachin Bansal, CEO, Navi in a statement.
He also added that the company’s vision is to go beyond what hitherto has been broadly defined as ‘financial inclusion’ and provide access to formal financial services using technology that people can use intuitively and easily.
CIFCPL is a microfinance company with more than 40 branches in five states including Karnataka, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.
Ankit Agarwal, CFO, Navi, added that the objective was to go beyond basic services. “We are looking at a potential customer as undertaking a financial journey, not just looking at episodic transactions,” Agarwal said. “We are fellow-travellers; we are looking beyond the traditional way of delivering banking services to people with a focus on ease of use and customised offerings. It is going to be an exciting journey.”
In one of his earlier media interviews during the acquisition, Bansal said that what he has seen in Chaitanya so far is that they are a great team, great founders building the microfinance business starting from scratch in 2009.
Bansal and Agarwal’s Navi Technologies (formerly known as BAC Acquisitions) announced an acquihire deal with Bengaluru-based technology consulting firm MavenHive, which is a tech firm that specialises in end-to-end product development and training. Bansal and Agarwal registered BAC Acquisitions in Bengaluru in December 2018, and the company was later rebranded to Navi. The company helps develop platforms to optimise business automation and computerisation of processes across sectors.