Anubrata Biswas, the MD and CEO of Airtel Payments Bank said that Airtel Payments Bank has no plan of becoming a small finance bank. Small finance banks are allowed to extend credit, unlike payments banks.
On August 21, Biswas said that the small finance bank model in no way applies to Airtel Payments Bank. He also added that it is expanding its product line across two sets, including loan process/ products and insurance.
Bharti Group’s unlisted entity said that its profit rose by 143 percent on a YoY basis and for the first quarter of FY24 the revenue rose up to Rs 400 crore. Airtel Payments saw its customer deposits increase by INR 1,922 Cr and now has 55.4 million monthly users
Biswas said that they firmly believe that they will be able to drive more value and impact if they are allowed to, as a payment bank, only micro lend. So their thought processes and actions are guided by that view.
Talking about the status of their IPO plan, he said that there was no plan for the next 2-3 years. Though they can’t place any timeline year to that, that will be based on so many things – market timing, market conditions, etc. The thing that they can tell was that the bank would eventually list – there was no question about that. But prediction of the timeframe would be difficult.
On getting asked why the payment banks have not been able to survive, he answered saying, ” One has to be very clear that this model is a low-cost-per-user and a low revenue-per-user model. Right now, lower costs for users will not happen unless you onboard a large number of users and spend that amount of time over the years. So payment banks who didn’t want to do that sort of parked the model. Players who were clear about it spent that time and now all of them are profitable.”