India set to standardise 'know your customer' banking checks

FILE PHOTO: Commuters walk past a bank sign along a road in New Delhi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's financial stability panel plans to roll out a uniform approach to verifying customers across the financial sector and prevent illegal lending based on online applications, it said on Wednesday.

It is unclear when the plans will be enforced. Their announcement follows a meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC), which brings together all the country's financial regulators.

India's fintech sector has been thrown into crisis after India's banking regulator on Jan. 31 directed Paytm Payments Bank to stop accepting fresh deposits in its accounts or popular wallets from March. The regulator cited "persistent non-compliances and continued material supervisory concerns in the bank".

Wednesday's statement made no direct reference to Paytm Payments Bank, saying only the FSDC discussed Know Your Customer (KYC) norms.

Different financial institutions currently follow different ways to verify the account holders and the panel said the process should be standardised to enable "inter-usability of KYC records across the financial sector".

Wednesday's statement said the body also discussed steps to prevent the harmful effects of illegal online lending apps.

The apps, which became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, charged high interest rates and employed predatory recovery practices.

(Reporting by Nikunj Ohri; editing by Barbara Lewis)