SBI Logo sits on the entrance of its Peddar Road branch, Mumbai, (Photograher: Anirudh Saligrama/ BloombergQuint)

SBI To Modify Rules For Startup Investments

The country’s largest lender, State Bank of India, which has not been able to invest in fin-tech startups despite earmarking funds, is now looking to modify rules to kick-start the infusion, a top official has said.

“We are a public institution and investments in startups are generally considered very risky. We understand that traditional way of investing will not work,” chairman Rajnish Kumar told news agency PTI on the sidelines of an event over the weekend.

He said the bank, which has earmarked Rs 50 crore to invest in fin-tech startups, will be modifying the rules to plough-in the money.

“We want to spend the money which we have earmarked,” Kumar stressed, adding that it is keen to create more companies like online retailer Flipkart and ride-sharing app Ola, which define the country's prowess.

Kumar said SBI has a board-approved policy to support the fin-tech sector, which has passed the necessary oversight bodies like Central Vigilance Commission.

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He said the bank has been able to make progress on two other aspects of the fin-tech engagements, including procuring goods from such startups and also playing an active role with the ecosystem through collaborations.

Kumar said the bank is also planning to invest Rs 25 crore in setting up a collaborative innovation centre in the satellite city of Navi Mumbai to promote latest technologies.

The bank, which has 430 million customers or a third of the country's population, has worked with over 150 startups till now on various cutting-edge technologies including chat bot, data analytics, etc., according to him.

The lender has held five editions of hackathons to collaborate and search for the best solutions, Kumar said.

At present, the entire bank runs from its global technology centre at Belapur in Navi Mumbai.