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NBFC Registration Process in India: A Comprehensive Guide


NBFC Registration in India

Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) play a pivotal role in the Indian financial landscape by offering various financial services, ranging from loans and credit to investment products. The Reserve Bank of India are regulated NBFC and must undergo a thorough registration process to operate legally. This article provides an in-depth understanding of NBFC registration in India, outlining the key steps, eligibility criteria, and regulatory framework. This article introduces NBFCs and delves into the process of NBFC registration in India, outlining the key aspects and significance of the registration procedure.

Importance of NBFC for the Indian Economy

NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Companies) are crucial for the Indian economy due to:

  • Financial Inclusion: They extend credit and financial services to underserved segments, promoting inclusivity.
  • Diversification: NBFCs diversify the financial landscape by offering specialised services that traditional banks might not provide.
  • Economic Growth: They contribute to GDP growth by financing various sectors, including MSMEs, infrastructure, and housing.
  • Employment Generation: NBFCs create jobs by supporting small businesses and facilitating economic activities.
  • Innovation: They introduce innovative financial products, driving competition and improving financial services.
  • Risk Management: They provide risk management tools, enhancing stability in financial markets.

Understanding NBFCs

In India, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) are pivotal financial entities that provide a broad spectrum of financial services akin to traditional banks without a banking license. These institutions are crucial in enhancing financial inclusion and diversifying the financial ecosystem.

NBFCs engage in lending, investment, hire-purchase, and asset management activities. They cater to a diverse clientele, including individuals, microenterprises, and small businesses, thereby addressing the financial needs of segments that traditional banks might underserve.

Despite not being considered banks, NBFCs are integral to the Indian economy. They offer flexibility, niche expertise, and innovative financial solutions contributing to economic growth and development. However, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ensures compliance with regulatory norms, maintains financial stability, and safeguards consumer interests. This regulatory oversight strikes a balance between promoting the growth of NBFCs and ensuring their responsible functioning within the economic framework.

Types of NBFCs

In India, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) come in various types, each specializing in different financial activities and services. These NBFCs cater to the diverse financial needs of individuals, businesses, and sectors that traditional banks may need to serve adequately. Here are some prominent types of NBFCs in India:

Category A: Deposit taking & systematically important NBFC

Deposit-taking & systematically important NBFCs in India are non-bank financial institutions that accept deposits from the public and have the potential to impact the financial system’s stability due to their size and interconnectedness. These NBFCs engage in activities similar to banks, like lending and borrowing, making them essential to the economy. They are closely regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ensure their soundness, prudential norms, and adherence to rules to prevent systemic risks and protect depositors.

Under deposit-taking and systematically important Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) in India, several NBFCs accept deposits. They are considered important from a systemic risk perspective. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) classifies these NBFCs based on their primary activities.

  • Asset Finance Company (AFC): These NBFCs primarily financed the acquisition of physical assets like vehicles, machinery, equipment, and other tangible goods. They are crucial in enabling businesses to acquire essential assets for their operations.
  • Infrastructure Finance Company (IFC): IFCs provide financial assistance and funding to infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, power plants, and telecommunications networks. Their role is crucial in supporting the country’s infrastructural development.
  • Loan Company: Loan NBFCs focus on providing loans and advances to individuals and businesses. They offer various types of loans, such as personal, business, and consumer loans, contributing to increased access to credit.
  • Investment Company: These NBFCs invest in securities like shares, stocks, bonds, debentures, and other financial instruments. They facilitate investment diversification for individuals and institutions.
  • Systemically Important Core Investment Company (CIC-ND-SI): These are specialized NBFCs holding and managing group company investments. They are regulated differently from other NBFCs due to their specific investment-focused nature.
  • Infrastructure Debt Fund (IDF): IDFs provide long-term finance to infrastructure projects through the issuance of bonds. These funds play a crucial role in attracting investment into the infrastructure sector.
  • Microfinance Institution (MFI): MFIs provide small loans to low-income individuals, self-help groups, and microenterprises. They contribute significantly to financial inclusion and poverty reduction by extending credit to underserved segments of society.
  • Factors: Factors offer factoring services by purchasing accounts receivable from businesses at a discount. This provides immediate cash flow to businesses and helps manage their working capital.
  • Non-Operative Financial Holding Company (NOFHC): As per regulatory requirements, NOFHCs are set up as holding companies for financial sector entities. They ensure that financial conglomerates operate in a well-structured manner.

Category B: Non-deposit taking & non-systematically necessary NBFC

Non-deposit-taking and non-systematically important NBFCs in India are financial entities that don’t accept public deposits and are deemed less likely to impact the overall financial system’s stability. They engage in various economic activities, such as lending, investment, leasing, etc. These NBFCs are subject to RBI regulations but have a lesser impact on systemic risk than deposit-taking and systematically essential NBFCs.

  • Non-Banking Financial Company – Investment and Credit Company (NBFC-ICC): Engages in lending and investment activities, providing credit and investing in financial instruments.
  • Non-Banking Financial Company – Microfinance Institution (NBFC-MFI): It provides microfinance services to low-income individuals, especially in rural and semi-urban areas.
  • Non-Banking Financial Company – Factors (NBFC-Factor): Deals with factoring transactions and purchasing receivables from businesses at a discount to provide immediate cash flow.
  • Non-Banking Financial Company – Mortgage Guarantee Companies (NBFC-MGC): Offers mortgage guarantee services to lenders, providing insurance coverage on home loans against default.
  • Non-Banking Financial Company – Non-Operative Financial Holding Company (NBFC-NOFHC): A holding company structure was introduced for entities aspiring to set up new banks, maintaining financial independence from other group businesses.
  • Non-Banking Financial Company – Non-Systemically Important Infrastructure Finance Company (NBFC-ND-INFRA): Engages in financing infrastructure projects without being classified as systemically important.
  • Non-Banking Financial Company – Non-Systemically Important Core Investment Company (NBFC-ND-CIC): It focuses on holding shares of other group companies as investments, not for trading, and is not considered systemically important.
  • Non-Banking Financial Company – Non-Operative Financial Holding Company – Infrastructure Finance Company (NBFC-NOFHC-INFRA): An NBFC-NOFHC that specifically engages in infrastructure financing activities.
  • Non-Banking Financial Company – Loan Company (NBFC-Loan): Provides loans and advances for various purposes, such as personal, educational, or housing loans.

Eligibility Criteria for NBFC Registration

To register as an NBFC in India, certain eligibility criteria must be met:

  1. The company must be registered under the Companies Act 2013.
  2. The company should have a minimum net owned fund (NOF) of Rs. 10 crores.
  3. The main business activity of the company should be financial.
  4. The company’s financial track record, net worth, and management expertise are considered.
  5. The promoters and directors of the company should be fit and proper individuals, as per RBI guidelines.

NBFC Registration Process

The registration process for Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) in India involves several essential steps to ensure compliance with regulatory guidelines and to establish the legitimacy of the financial institution. Here is a concise overview of the NBFC registration process:

  1. Company Incorporation: The first step is to incorporate a company under the Companies Act 2013 as a public or private limited company. The company must have “Finance” to signify its financial nature.
  1. Minimum Net Owned Fund (NOF): The company must meet the minimum net owned fund requirement, currently at Rs. 10 crores. This demonstrates the company’s financial stability and capacity.
  1. Eligibility Criteria: The company’s primary business activity must be financial, aligning with the actions allowed for NBFCs.
  1. Online Application Submission: The application for NBFC registration is submitted through the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) online portal. The required documents and information about the proposed financial activities of the NBFC accompanies the application.
  1. Due Diligence and Processing: The RBI reviews the application and conducts due diligence to assess the financial soundness of the company, its promoters, and its management. This step involves evaluating the company’s financial track record, management expertise, and background of the promoters.
  1. Fit and Proper Criteria: The promoters and directors of the NBFC are required to meet the RBI’s “fit and proper” criteria, ensuring their integrity and competence to run a financial institution.
  1. Certificate of Registration (CoR): Upon completing the due diligence process, the RBI issues a Certificate of Registration (CoR), allowing the NBFC to commence its operations.
  1. Commencement of Operations: With the CoR, the NBFC can start its financial operations. It’s crucial to adhere to the RBI’s regulatory norms and compliance requirements.

Regulatory Compliance for NBFCs

After obtaining the CoR, NBFCs are required to adhere to various regulatory norms set by the RBI, including:

  1. Maintenance of Adequate Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR): NBFCs must maintain a minimum CAR to ensure financial stability and solvency.
  2. Asset Classification and Provisioning: NBFCs must follow guidelines for classifying assets and making provisions for bad loans.
  3. Prudential Norms: RBI sets guidelines for exposure to individual and group borrowers and restrictions on investments and lending to related parties.
  4. Reporting Requirements: NBFCs must submit regular reports to the RBI, including financial statements, operational data, and compliance reports.
  5. Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) norms: NBFCs must have robust AML and KYC policies to prevent money laundering and fraud.
  6. Fair Practices Code: NBFCs must follow ethical and transparent practices in their operations, especially while dealing with customers.


In conclusion, the process of NBFC registration in India holds paramount importance in establishing the credibility, legitimacy, and regulatory compliance of non-banking financial institutions. This comprehensive procedure ensures that NBFCs adhere to stringent financial and operational standards, safeguarding the interests of both consumers and the broader financial system. The rigorous due diligence, eligibility criteria, and fit-and-proper checks set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) contribute to maintaining the integrity and stability of the financial sector. By successfully navigating the registration process, NBFCs gain legal recognition and access to funding, enhancing their ability to provide essential financial services and contribute to the nation’s economic growth and financial inclusivity.

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