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SHADOW BANKS IN INDIA



  Jun 08, 2024

SHADOW BANKS IN INDIA



WHAT ARE SHADOW BANKS?

Shadow banks, also known as Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), are financial institutions that provide services similar to traditional banks, such as lending and investment, but operate outside the regulatory framework of traditional banking. They are called “shadow banks” because they function in the shadows of the traditional banking system without the same level of regulatory oversight.

WHY ARE THEY CALLED SHADOW BANKS?

Shadow banks are termed as such because they perform banking-like activities but are not subject to the same regulations and oversight as traditional banks. They often engage in complex financial transactions and take on higher risks compared to traditional banks, leading to concerns about potential systemic risks to the financial system.

HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT FROM TRADITIONAL BANKS?

Shadow banks differ from traditional banks primarily in terms of regulation, structure, and activities. While traditional banks are tightly regulated and supervised by central banks, shadow banks operate with greater flexibility but also face less regulatory scrutiny. Shadow banks may not have access to central bank funding and are often more reliant on short-term funding sources.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH SHADOW BANKS?

• Lack of Regulation: Due to their less regulated nature, shadow banks can engage in riskier activities that may not be well-monitored, leading to potential financial instability.

• Systemic Risk: If shadow banks face liquidity issues or fail, it could create a ripple effect across the financial system, impacting traditional banks and causing broader economic consequences.

• Run on Short-Term Funding: Shadow banks often rely on short-term funding sources, which can become problematic during times of market stress, as seen during the global financial crisis.

• Asset-Liability Mismatch: Some shadow banks may engage in maturity transformation, where short-term funding is used for long-term lending, potentially leading to liquidity issues if short-term funding dries up or loans are not repaid in time.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC DEPOSITS

Chief executives of NBFCs have requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow them to accept public deposits. This move aims to diversify their liabilities and reduce reliance on bank borrowings. However, the RBI has been cautious about NBFCs engaging in deposit mobilization activities to protect depositors’ interests and maintain financial stability.

The RBI’s approach reflects concerns about ensuring a robust financial system while promoting financial inclusion and innovation. The NBFC sector’s growth and systemic significance have prompted discussions about balancing innovation with regulatory safeguards to prevent potential crises like those witnessed in the past.

CONCLUSION

Shadow banks, or NBFCs, offer financial services outside traditional banking regulations. While they bring innovation and financial inclusion, their less-regulated nature poses risks to the financial system. The request for public deposits by NBFCs highlights the ongoing dialogue between promoting financial inclusion and maintaining financial stability.


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