paytm crisis: Two independent directors quit Paytm Payments Bank board

Crisis-laden Paytm Payments Bank (PPBL) has seen at least two independent directors resigning from its board as it battles to assuage regulatory concerns over its operations after February 29 to retain consumers, merchants, and other stakeholders.

Shinjini Kumar, the former Bank of America and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) executive, resigned from the payments bank’s board in December, sources aware of the matter said. While her resignation was accepted and a replacement was being finalised, she is said to have attended two board meetings as a special invitee to meet RBI rules, people briefed on the matter said. Kumar also served as the chief executive of Paytm Payments Bank between 2016-2017 and is currently the cofounder of Salt, a women-focussed financial services platform.

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Manju Agarwal, who was the deputy managing director at State Bank of India (SBI), is also reported to have quit from payments bank board.

People aware of banking rules said the payments bank needed to have more independent directors than executive directors on its board, which led to Kumar’s involvement in a board meeting through special invite.
Paytm Payments Bank did not respond to ET’s queries.

With the latest exits, PPBL’s board consists of three independent directors including – veteran banker Arvind Kumar Jain who was the former executive director, Punjab & Sind Bank; former Accenture managing director Pankaj Vaish, and former Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) secretary, Ramesh Abhishek.

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From One 97 Communications directors include group head of regulatory affairs, Dr Srinivas Yanamandra, as well as chief operating officer and president, Bhavesh Gupta.

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma and PPBL managing director and chief, Surinder Chawla, are other members of the Noida-based payments bank board.

Last week, the Noida-based payments and financial services provider found itself in a difficult spot after its associate entity Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) was barred by the RBI from accepting any fresh deposits or providing banking services after February 29.

Last week, the Noida-based payments and financial services provider found itself in a difficult spot after its associate entity Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) was barred by the RBI from accepting any fresh deposits or providing banking services after February 29.

Speaking at a post-monetary policy interaction with reporters on Thursday, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said the regulator would come out with clarifications soon.

Governor Das said the regulator has always laid emphasis on ‘bilateral engagement’ with regulated entities, nudging them to take corrective action with ‘sufficient time’ provided to take these steps. He said on Thursday the regulator would come out with clarifications on the Paytm issue in the coming week.