We recently spoke to four out of six applicants for small finance banking licenses and were very surprised by what we heard. All of them seem to have given up hope of winning the license battle. They are not so willing to chase it any longer. This is a stark contrast to the enthusiasm they had even when we last spoke to them a few months ago.
In fact, the CEO of a non-bank applicant said he has now told his team to prioritize their top tasks. Until about a year ago, his team focused first on preparing and submitting responses from regulators and then finishing the job at hand. When we ate we’re just going to pile on the paperwork why hurry, he said this time. Ironically, he now believes that his business would be better off without a banking license. Well, how things change when stored in the cold!