RBI to allow cross-border bill payments, bring credit info cos under Ombudsman scheme: Guv

Mumbai (IANS) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will allow the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) to process cross-border inbound bill payments that will help senior citizens in India while their wards are overseas, said Governor Shaktikanta Das.

The BBPS, an interoperable platform for standardised bill payments, has transformed the bill payment experience for users in India.

The Governor, who had announcing a policy rate hike of 50 basis points (bps) to 5.40 per cent, said: “It is now proposed to enable BBPS to accept cross-border inward bill payments. This will enable Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to undertake bill payments for utility, education and other such payments on behalf of their families in India. This will greatly benefit the senior citizens in particular.”

Over 20,000 billers are part of the system, and more than eight crore transactions are processed on a monthly basis.

Das also said the RBI will soon come out with comprehensive guidelines on outsourcing of activities by commercial banks, regional rural banks (RRB), housing finance companies and others.

According to him, the central bank will come out with a draft Master Direction on Managing Risks and Code of Conduct in Outsourcing of Financial Services for comments from stakeholders.

According to the RBI, the scope of these directions is being expanded to also include RRBs, Local Area Banks (LABs), All India Financial Institutions, Credit Information Companies, and non-scheduled Payments Banks.

Welcoming the RBI’s move Sugandh Saxena, CEO at Fintech Association for Consumer Empowerment (FACE), said: “In the last few years, the fintech lending ecosystem has expanded in scale and complexities. It needs clear and precise contours of engagement, stitching together various layers and interfaces, some of which ‘outsourced’.”

It is only pertinent that the regulatory framework for outsourcing and market conduct moves with market dynamics and risks to allow innovation, better customer protection and outcomes, and synergic partnerships within sound governance and operational framework, Saxena added.

In order to leverage the potential of Standalone Primary Dealers, the RBI will allow them to offer all foreign exchange market-making facilities as currently permitted to Category-I Authorised Dealers, subject to prudential guidelines.

This measure will provide customers with a wider set of market makers to manage their foreign currency risk. This will also increase the breadth of the forex market in India.

The SPDs will be permitted to undertake transactions in the offshore Rupee Overnight Indexed Swap (OIS) market with non-residents and other market makers.

This measure will supplement a similar measure announced in February this year for the banks. These measures are expected to remove the segmentation between onshore and offshore OIS markets and improve price discovery.

The RBI Governor also announced bringing in the Credit Information Companies under the Reserve Bank – Integrated Ombudsman Scheme to redress customer grievances.

Das also said the RBI will set up a committee to look into the need for transition to an alternative benchmark for Mumbai Interbank Outright Rate (MIBOR) due to the international efforts to develop alternative benchmark rates.

According to him, the RBI has been taking measures, from time to time, to develop the interest rate derivatives (IRD) market in India.

Such measures have led to diversification of the participant base and increased use of IRD instruments, such as MIBOR overnight indexed swap (OIS) contracts, Das said.

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