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Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFC), Types, Functions

Non Banking Financial Companies

In the world of money, many different types of companies help economies grow. One important group is called Non Banking Financial Companies or NBFCs. They work together with regular banks to help more people access financial services. NBFCs do things differently and follow special rules. They make sure more people can use financial services and they provide specific help. Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) are entities that provide bank-like financial services but they do not hold a banking license and are unregulated. In this article, you will get all about Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) in detail which is an important topic for Indian Economy.

Non Banking Financial Companies Meaning 

Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) are financial institutions that provide a wide range of financial services similar to traditional banks, but they do not hold a banking license. They are involved in activities such as lending, investing, trading in securities, asset management, and various other financial activities.

However, unlike banks, NBFCs are not allowed to accept demand deposits from the public. Instead, they raise funds through various other means like debentures, bonds, and borrowings. NBFCs play a crucial role in providing financial services to various sectors of the economy and promoting financial inclusion. You can check here Financial Regulatory Bodies in India and their role in detail.

NBFC Registration 

NBFC registration refers to the process by which a non-banking financial company (NBFC) obtains authorization and approval from the regulatory authority, typically the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in India, to operate as a financial institution and provide certain financial services to the public. The registration process involves fulfilling specific criteria, submitting required documents, meeting regulatory guidelines, and complying with financial and operational norms set by the regulatory authority. Once registered, an NBFC can legally engage in financial activities such as lending, investment, and other financial services, subject to the regulations and guidelines provided by the regulatory authority.

NBFC Regulations 

NBFC regulations are a set of rules, guidelines, and norms established by regulatory authorities, such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in India, to govern the functioning and operations of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).

  • Regulatory Authority: NBFC regulations are overseen by regulatory bodies like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in India.
  • Licensing and Registration: NBFCs need to obtain proper licenses and registration from the regulatory authority to operate legally.
  • Capital Adequacy: NBFCs are required to maintain a certain level of capital to ensure financial stability and solvency.
  • Asset Classification: Regulations dictate how NBFCs categorize their assets and loans, ensuring transparency and risk assessment.
  • Risk Management: NBFCs must have adequate risk management strategies in place to mitigate financial risks.
  • Corporate Governance: Regulations focus on good governance practices, including board composition, transparency, and accountability.
  • Prudential Norms: NBFCs have to follow specific norms related to lending practices, income recognition, and provisioning.
  • Disclosure Requirements: NBFCs are required to disclose financial information regularly to provide transparency to investors and stakeholders.
  • Interest Rates: Regulations often guide NBFCs on the maximum interest rates they can charge on loans.
  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and KYC: NBFCs need to implement AML and Know Your Customer (KYC) policies to prevent illegal activities and ensure customer identification.

Read More: Banking System in India

Types of NBFCs

There are different types of NBFCs based on the activities they are engaged in. Here are some common types:

Types of NBFCs Description
Asset Finance Company (AFC) Primarily finances physical assets like machinery, equipment, vehicles, etc.
Loan Company Provides loans and advances, including personal loans, business loans, and consumer loans.
Investment Company Invests in various financial assets like shares, stocks, debentures, and bonds.
Infrastructure Finance Company (IFC) Provides long-term finance for infrastructure projects.
Infrastructure Debt Fund Raises resources to finance infrastructure projects through issuing bonds.
Systemically Important Core Investment Company (CIC-ND-SI) Involved in acquiring shares and securities, not for trading purposes.
Microfinance Institution Provides financial services to low-income individuals or groups, especially in rural areas.
Non-Operative Financial Holding Company (NOFHC) Formed to hold equity shares in financial sector entities.
Mortgage Guarantee Company Provides mortgage insurance to lenders against the risk of default by borrowers.
Infrastructure Debt Fund-Non-Banking Financial Company (IDF-NBFC) Raises resources to provide long-term debt for infrastructure projects.
Gold Loan NBFCs Specializes in providing loans against gold as collateral.
NBFC Factors Provides services related to factoring, which involves financing accounts receivables of businesses.
NBFC Micro Finance Institutions Focuses on providing microfinance services to underserved sections of the population.
NBFC for Investment in Infrastructure Focuses on investing in infrastructure projects to support their development.

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Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) vs. Banks 

While both NBFCs and banks play crucial roles in the financial system, they have distinct characteristics, regulations, and functions that differentiate them from each other.

Aspect Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) Banks
Regulation Regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the RBI Act, 1934, but not as rigorously as banks. Heavily regulated by RBI and governed by the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
Core Function Primarily engaged in providing financial services and products but cannot issue cheques or demand drafts. Provides a wide range of financial services and products including accepting deposits, loans, and issuing cheques and demand drafts.
Accepting Deposits Some types of NBFCs can accept deposits, but they are not as secure as bank deposits. Banks are known for accepting deposits which are considered safe and insured up to a certain limit.
Credit Creation NBFCs can provide credit but do not have the authority to create money. Banks can create money through the process of fractional reserve banking.
Access to Payment Systems Limited access to payment and settlement systems, often reliant on banks for these services. Have full access to payment and settlement systems.
Regulation Scope Subject to fewer regulatory requirements compared to banks. Subject to comprehensive regulatory oversight to ensure financial stability.
Risk Assessment NBFCs may have a more lenient approach to risk assessment, resulting in higher interest rates on loans. Banks often have a stricter risk assessment process, leading to comparatively lower interest rates on loans.

Read More: Fiscal Policy

Functions of NBFCs

NBFCs play a significant role in diversifying the financial landscape by offering a wide range of services that complement traditional banking services. Here are the functions of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs):

  • Financial Intermediation: NBFCs act as intermediaries between borrowers and lenders, providing various financial services without being full-fledged banks.
  • Credit Provision: They offer loans and credit facilities to individuals, businesses, and sectors that might have limited access to traditional banking services.
  • Investment Activities: NBFCs invest in various financial assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other securities.
  • Leasing and Hire-Purchase: They offer services like leasing and hire-purchase, allowing individuals and businesses to acquire assets without the immediate need for large upfront payments.
  • Factoring and Bill Discounting: NBFCs provide factoring services where they purchase accounts receivable from businesses and provide immediate funds, helping with cash flow management.
  • Insurance Services: Some NBFCs offer insurance-related services, especially in rural areas, to provide coverage to those who are underserved by traditional insurance companies.
  • Foreign Exchange Services: Certain NBFCs offer forex services for individuals and businesses needing currency exchange and remittance facilities.
  • Microfinance: NBFCs provide microfinance services to financially underserved sections of society, particularly in rural areas, by offering small loans and financial products.
  • Advisory Services: Some NBFCs offer financial advisory services, helping clients with investment decisions, financial planning, and portfolio management.
  • Mortgage Services: They provide mortgage loans, allowing individuals to buy or improve real estate properties.
  • Vehicle Finance: NBFCs offer loans for purchasing vehicles, both for personal use and commercial purposes.
  • Retail Financing: They provide financing for consumer goods, electronics, and other retail products through partnerships with retailers.

Read about: Inclusive Growth

NBFC Crisis

The Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) crisis was a significant financial crisis that emerged in India in 2018. IL&FS was a major Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) conglomerate with involvement in various infrastructure projects and financial services. The crisis exposed weaknesses in the financial system and raised concerns about the functioning of NBFCs. The following points will demonstrate how this crisis unfolded.

  • IL&FS was a conglomerate involved in financing and developing various infrastructure projects such as roads, ports, and energy. It also had subsidiaries engaged in financial services. IL&FS borrowed extensively to fund these projects, and over time, it faced difficulties in servicing its debt obligations.
  • Default and Downgrade: IL&FS started defaulting on its debt repayments, triggering concerns among investors and lenders. Credit rating agencies downgraded its debt instruments, which had a cascading effect on investor confidence and liquidity.
  • Contagion Effect: IL&FS had numerous subsidiaries and associate companies. As its financial troubles became apparent, worries spread to other financial institutions, including mutual funds and banks, that had exposure to IL&FS and its group entities.
  • Liquidity Crunch: The crisis led to a liquidity crunch in the NBFC sector as well as in the broader financial markets. It revealed issues related to asset-liability mismatches in the NBFCs, where short-term liabilities were funded by longer-term and illiquid assets.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government took swift action to address the crisis. The government superseded the IL&FS board and initiated an investigation into its affairs. The RBI introduced measures to provide liquidity support to the financial system, including the NBFC sector.

The crisis had implications for the broader economy, including a slowdown in credit availability, dampened investor sentiment, and concerns about the financial system’s health.

The IL&FS crisis underscored the need for regulatory reforms in the NBFC sector. The RBI introduced stricter norms for asset-liability management, governance, and risk assessment for NBFCs. It also revised the regulatory framework for rating agencies to enhance their accountability.

Non Banking Financial Companies UPSC 

The topic of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) is crucial for UPSC aspirants as it aligns with the UPSC Syllabus under the Economics and Finance domain. Understanding the functioning, regulations, types, and challenges related to NBFCs is essential to grasp the broader financial landscape in India. UPSC Online Coaching and UPSC Mock Test can help build a solid understanding of NBFCs as they often cover contemporary economic issues and policy developments.

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Non Banking Financial Companies FAQs

What is a non-banking financial company?

A non-banking financial company (NBFC) is a financial institution that offers various banking services but does not hold a banking license.

What is an example of a non-banking financial company NBFC?

Bajaj Finance is an example of an NBFC in India.

Which are non financial companies?

Non-financial companies are businesses that do not primarily engage in financial activities.

What are the banks and non-banking financial companies?

Banks are licensed financial institutions that provide a range of banking services, while NBFCs offer similar services but do not hold banking licenses.

Which is the largest NBFC company in India?

Bajaj Finance is one of the largest NBFCs in India.

About the Author

I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!


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