Any bank can now join National Financial Switch: NPCI

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has said any bank with round-the-clock core banking solution capabilities, with/out ATMs, can now join the national financial switch (NFS) through a sponsor bank. NPCI is an umbrella institution for all the Retail Payments Systems’ in the country.

The move is aimed at facilitating even non-scheduled urban cooperative banks and regional rural banks to have access to the national network of over 78,000 ATMs in the country, NPCI managing director and chief executive A P Hota said in a release. So far, access has been limited to only scheduled banks with RTGS membership, he added.

Meanwhile, the NPCI also said the total number of banks which have opted to join the inter-bank mobile payments service (IMPS) network have crossed 27 with two more private sector lenders joining the network over the past fortnight.

With the above change, two cooperative banks which are now only sub-members – The Pandharpur Urban Cooperative Bank and Dr Annasaheb Chowgule Bank at Kolhapur- have already gone live on the NFS network.

While the Pandharpur Urban Cooperative Bank has three ATMs and is sponsored by ICICI Bank, Dr Annasaheb Chowgule Bank is sponsored by HDFC Bank and has only four ATMs. But with this facility, the customers of these banks can access any ATM in the country.

“This is a step forward to inclusive growth of financial services and serving customers of the smaller banks, UCBs and RRBs,” Hota said. The sponsor bank scheme on the NFS network will improve ATM connectivity across the country, even in the remotest areas, he added.



NOTE: Both banks, viz., The Pandharpur Urban Cooperative Bank and Dr Annasaheb Chowgule Bank at Kolhapur, are amongst the clients of Sarvatra, the pioneering ASP for NSF sub-membership model.

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