A team of World Bank officials, led by country director Onno Ruhl, will visit Bandhan’s headquarters in Kolkata next week to explore the possibility of financial as well as technical support to the microfinance major to help it transform into a bank.
Ruhl and other senior officials of the World Bank will also go on field visits to witness the activities of the MFI, which is one of the two players picked by the RBI to award new banking licences.
“The World Bank country director will visit our headquarters on July 10 and explore the possibility of financial as well as technical assistance. He is also interested in field trips. It is a big thing for us,” Bandhan Financial Services chairman and managing director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh told FE.
Significantly, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, holds close to 11% equity stake in the Kolkata-based microfinance company.
While talking to FE a few days ago, Nilesh Shrivastava, IFC manager, financial institutions portfolio, South Asia, said the financing arm was open to support Bandhan “in all forms” for its banking foray, including further infusion of fund to meet its tier-I capital requirement. “Bandhan is our strategic partner. We are open to help it in all forms, subject to its requirements and regulatory approvals,” he had said.
IFC will shortly invest R160 crore as tier-II capital in the MFI and the fund infusion will help the company boost its capital adequacy ratio. Ghosh said that currently, the microfinance major would not require any additional tier-I capital.
Bandhan has already appointed consultancy firm Deloitte as adviser to transform its microfinance operations into mainstream banking. It is also in the process of hiring professionals for senior positions, including head, retail banking, head, treasury and head, risk management, by issuing newspaper advertisements.