The RBI agreed to consider the application of India Post in consultation with the government and advised other applicants to apply afresh after the central bank comes out with new guidelines on granting licences 'on tap'.
"The in-principle approval granted (to the two entities) will be valid for a period of 18 months during which the applicants have to comply with the requirements under the guidelines and fulfil the other conditions as may be stipulated by the RBI," the central bank said in a statement.
The bank licences were awarded a day after the Election Commission granted approval to the RBI to go ahead with the process. "This is a very heartening development. After a long time it has happened. It will pave the way for more entities to come forward and expand the banking network. It augurs well for the economy and banking sector," Financial Services Secretary G S Sandhu told PTI.
Bandhan Financial Services Private Ltd, the first microfinance firm to get a bank licence, said this is a recognition of the microfinance sector and their hard work to reach unbanked areas and provide financial services.
"We will be able to offer full-fledged banking services to the poor people," Bandhan Chairman Chandra Shekhar Ghosh said. According to IDFC Chairman Rajiv Lall, "We prepared for the hard work, which begins from now. Our application was for a universal license and we are going to proceed with having a universal bank."