The Urban Banks Department of the Reserve Bank of India is vested with the responsibility of regulating and supervising primary (urban) cooperative banks, which are popularly known as Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs).
While overseeing the activities of 1926 primary (urban) cooperative banks, the Urban Banks Department performs three main functions : regulatory, supervisory and developmental. The Department performs these functions through its 17 regional offices.
I. Regulatory Functions
(i) Licensing of New Primary (Urban) Cooperative Banks
For commencing banking business, a primary (urban) cooperative bank, as in the case of commercial bank, is required to obtain a licence from the Reserve Bank of India, under the provisions of Section 22 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (As Applicable to Cooperative Societies).
(ii) Licensing of Existing Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks
In terms of sub-section (2) of Section 22 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (As Applicable to Cooperative Societies), the primary (urban) cooperative banks existing in the country as on March 1, 1966, (when some banking laws were applied to UCBs), were required to apply to the Reserve Bank of India. They were given three months to obtain a licence to carry on banking business. Similarly, a primary credit society which becomes a primary (urban) cooperative bank by virtue of its share capital and reserves reaching Rs. one lakh (Rs.1,00,000) and above was to apply to the Reserve Bank of India for a licence within three months from the date on which its share capital and reserves reach Rs. one lakh. The existing unlicensed primary (urban) cooperative banks can carry on banking business till they are refused a licence by the Reserve Bank of India.
(iii) Branch Licensing
Under the provisions of Section 23 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (As Applicable to Cooperative Societies), primary (urban) cooperative banks are required to obtain permission from the Reserve Bank of India for opening branches.
(iv) Statutory Provisions
The regulatory functions of Urban Banks Department relate to monitoring compliance with the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (As Applicable to Cooperative Societies) by urban cooperative banks. These provisions include :
a. Minimum Share Capital
Under the provisions of Section 11 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (As Applicable to Cooperative Societies), no primary (urban) cooperative bank can commence or carry on banking business if the real or exchangeable value of its paid-up capital and reserves is less than Rs.one lakh.
b. Maintenance of CRR and SLR
As in the case of commercial banks, primary (urban) cooperative banks are also required to maintain certain amount of cash reserve and liquid assets. The scheduled primary (urban) cooperative banks are required to maintain with the Reserve Bank of India an average daily balance, the amount of which should not be less than 5 per cent of their net demand and time liabilities in India in terms of Section 42 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. Non-scheduled (urban) cooperative banks, under the provision of Section 18 of Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (As Applicable to Cooperative Societies) should maintain a sum equivalent to at least 3 per cent of their total demand and time liabilities in India on day-to-day basis. For scheduled cooperative banks, CRR is required to be maintained in accounts with Reserve Bank of India, whereas for non-scheduled cooperative banks, it can be maintained by way of either cash with themselves or in the form of balances in a current account with the Reserve Bank of India or the state co-operative bank of the state concerned or the central cooperative bank of the district concerned or by way of net balances in current accounts with public sector banks. In addition to the cash reserve, every primary (urban) cooperative bank (scheduled/non-scheduled) is required to maintain liquid assets in the form of cash, gold or unencumbered approved securities which should not be less than 25 per cent of the total of its demand and time liabilities in accordance with the provisions of Section 24 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (As Applicable to Cooperative Societies). Out of the prescribed SLR, the UCBs have been advised to maintain a certain amount in the form of SLR Securities as under :
|1. || Scheduled banks || 25% |
|2. || Non-Scheduled banks|
a) with NDTL of Rs.25 crore & above
b) with NDTL of less than Rs.25 crore
II. Supervisory Functions
To ensure that the UCBs conduct their affairs in the interests of the depositors and also comply with the regulatory framework prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India, the department undertakes on site inspection of these banks with frequency ranging from one to two years depending upon the financial condition / status of banks. The thrust of supervision is to ensure that banks' affairs are not conducted in a manner detrimental to the depositors' interest and also to assess the solvency of the bank vis-à-vis its liabilities, besides examining the banks' compliance with the existing regulatory framework. The department also undertakes off-site surveillance of scheduled banks and non-scheduled banks with a deposit base of Rs 100 crore and above based on a set of quarterly and annual returns.
III. Developmental Functions
With a view to extending institutional credit support to tiny and cottage units, the Reserve Bank of India grants refinance facilities to urban cooperative banks under the provisions of Section 17 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. The refinance is given at the Bank Rate.
Training is imparted to the middle and top management of urban cooperative banks through College of Agricultural Banking, Pune.
IV. Sections / Divisions of Urban Banks Department
This Section handles staff matters of the department.
2. New Bank Licensing and Branch Licensing
This section frames policies for issue of bank licence /allots centres for opening of branches and authorizes regional offices to take action accordingly. It also deals with conversion of cooperative credit societies into urban banks.
Returns section at each of the regional offices is responsible for monitoring receipt of various statutory returns under the provisions of Banking Regulation Act, 1949, (AACS) and Sec 42 of Reserve Bank of India Act 1934 in case of scheduled UCBs. They also verify compliance with the provisions of the Acts, ibid, and take suitable action against non-compliant UCBs.
4. Banks Supervision
This division arranges inspection of urban cooperative banks through regional offices and closely monitors the action taken by the UCBs to rectify the irregularities / deficiencies pointed out in inspection reports. The division also associates itself with the RCS of respective states in rehabilitation of financially weak UCBs.
5. Banking Policy
This section frames policies on prudential norms, investment policies, monitoring priority sector targets, refinancing, issue of directives on interest rates, CRR/SLR, etc. Policies relating to para banking activities such as merchant banking, hire purchase, leasing, insurance business, etc. are also formulated by this division. Besides, the section also attends to compliance with the directions of Local Board / Central Board / BFS, furnishes requisite material for Bank's publications such as Annual Report, Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India, Currency and Finance, etc.
Further, the section interprets the provisions of Banking Regulation Act 1949 (AACS), initiates amendments, coordinates with the Government, corresponds with various State Governments on matters pertaining to amendments of State Cooperative Societies Acts, coordinates with DICGC on matters pertaining to banks under liquidation, maintains and updates the list of urban cooperative banks, monitors cooperative credit societies having paid up capital above Rs one lakh, watches compliance to Sec 9, 29 & 31 of Banking Regulation Act, attends to cooperative banks going out of the purview of Banking Regulation Act etc.