Equitas Holdings Limited (EHL), the holding company of the Equitas Group of Companies, is a Non-Deposit taking - Systemically Important - Core Investment Company (ND SI - CIC) as per RBI Regulations. The company is the holding company of its subsidiaries, Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited (ESFBL) and Equitas Technologies Private Limited (ETPL). Apart from investments in the subsidiaries, EHL also provides loans to subsidiaries and also places deposits with its banking subsidiary Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited (ESFBL).
Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited, formerly Equitas Finance Limited (EFL), commenced operations as a Small Finance Bank (SFB) on 5 September 2016. Prior to commencement of operations as a bank, EFL, a wholly owned subsidiary of EHL, operated as an NBFC. In order to comply with the conditions prescribed in the `in-principle` approval received from RBI to set-up the SFB, the other two wholly owned subsidiaries of EHL, viz., Equitas Micro Finance Limited (EMFL) and Equitas Housing Finance Limited (EHFL) merged into EFL to form the bank. The name of EFL was changed to Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited vide a fresh Certificate of Incorporation dated September 2, 2016.
The strategy of ESFBL on the advances side is to stay focused on the low and moderate income segment of the population and roll out products relevant to their needs. The bank`s lending business is divided into 5 segments viz. Agri, Micro Enterprise & Inclusive Banking, Emerging Enterprise Banking, Business Banking, Outreach Banking and Corporate Banking. The Bank is also distributing Third Party Products like Life Insurance, General Insurance, Health Insurance and Mutual Funds on a non-risk sharing basis. The Bank has also launched digital Wealth Management services where customers can invest in Mutual Funds through `online` mode.
On the deposit side, the strategy of the bank is to focus not only on the existing borrower segments, but also on the mass and the mass affluent segments of the population and provide them strong product offerings delivered seamlessly through physical and digital channels.
Since starting the banking operations in September 2016, the Bank has built a strong network of 392 banking outlets and 321 ATMs/Cash Recycler Machines spread across 13 States and 2 Union Territories, as of March 31, 2018. As of March 31, 2018, the Bank has over 2.7 lakh deposit customers.
Equitas Holdings Ltd was incorporated as UPDB Micro Finance Private Limited on June 22, 2007 at Chennai as a private limited company under the Companies Act, 1956. Pursuant to a special resolution passed by the Shareholders on December 17, 2007, the name of the Company was changed to Equitas Micro Finance India Private Limited to convey the principle of fairness and transparency of the Company, and a fresh certificate of incorporation consequent to change of name was issued by the RoC on February 1, 2008. The microfinancebusiness of the Company was demerged into Singhivi pursuant to a Demerger Scheme with effect from April 1, 2011. Singhivi was later renamed as Equitas Micro Finance Private Limited. Pursuant to the Demerger Scheme, a resolution was passed by the Shareholders on January 30, 2012 and the name of our Company was changed to Equitas Holdings Private Limited and a fresh certificate of incorporation consequent to change of name was issued by the RoC on February 29, 2012. Pursuant to an order issued by the RBI on December 3, 2012, the Company was designated as a Non Systemically Important Core Investment Company and pursuant to the request made by the Company, the certificate of registration as a NBFC under Section 45 IA of the RBI Act was cancelled. Thereafter, pursuant to a special resolution passed by the Shareholders on June 12, 2015, the Company was converted into a public limited company and the name was changed to Equitas Holdings Limited. The RoC issued a fresh certificate of incorporation consequent to change of name on June 18, 2015.
In 2015, the company got In-principle approval for Small Finance Bank pursuant to RBI Letter dated October 7, 2015 under reference DBR.PSBD.NBC (SFB-Equitas). No 4915/ 16.13.216/2015-16.
Equitas Holdings (EHL) raised Rs 720 crore through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in April 2016, to fund the capital requirements of the subsidiaries. The Equity Shares of the Company were listed on BSE Limited and National Stock Exchange of India Limited on April 21, 2016. From out of the IPO proceeds, EHL infused Rs 616 crore in April 2016 into the three subsidiaries viz., Equitas Finance Limited, Equitas Micro Finance Limited and Equitas Housing Finance Limited EHFL.
During FY 2017-18, the Company infused a capital of Rs 5 crore in its subsidiary, Equitas Technologies Private Limited by subscribing to its equity shares on a rights basis.
During the financial year ended 31 March 2018, the micro finance portfolio collections of the bank in specific geographies were impacted post demonetisation. In a few states, a large number of micro finance borrowers, misguided by local vested elements about probable loan waivers, defaulted in their repayments. Out of such defaults, the bank had identified certain loan assets as loss assets and had made full provision for the same during the year. Subsequently these loss assets were written off to the tune of Rs 142.11 crore. This has significantly impacted the overall profitability of the bank for the year.
The rollout of the liabilities branches was completed as of September 2017 increasing the total number of branches to 375. Another 17 Business Correspondents (BCs) led banking outlets were also made operational during the year, taking the overall banking outlets to 392.
During the financial year ended 31 March 2018, the bank introduced Business Loans addressing the credit needs of micro enterprises. It also introduced funding for purchase of new (Light Commercial Vehicles as well as funding small and medium sized fleet operators having ownership of 5 and 10 vehicles respectively for working capital purposes, on the security of their vehicles.
During FY 2017-18, Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited (ESFBL), the wholly-owned Subsidiary of the Company was penalised for having commenced the business of distribution of third party products without obtaining prior approval of Reserve Bank of India. The subsidiary, ESFBL was formed by merger of three NBFC subsidiaries; carrying on the business of micro finance, vehicle finance and housing finance respectively. These Companies were arranging / distributing insurance for its borrowers, primarily to secure the loans in the event of their death or incapacitation due to accident or otherwise as well as insuring the asset which is secured to the loan, such as vehicles, property, etc. This legacy arrangement was continued after becoming a Small Finance Bank, however, there was an oversight in seeking RBI`s prior approval. Soon after noticing this omission in an internal compliance review, ESFBL promptly reported the matter to RBI admitting its lapse and sought its approval for distribution of third party products. The approval was received from RBI vide letter dated December 29, 2017. RBI also levied a monetary penalty of Rs 10 lakh on ESFBL for the aforesaid omission to obtain prior RBI approval.
During the year 2021, the Company had infused a capital of Rs 200 lakh in its Subsidiary, Equitas Technologies Private Limited by subscribing to its equity shares on a rights basis.
During the year 2022, the Company had infused a capital of Rs 100 lakh in its Subsidiary, Equitas Technologies Private Limited by subscribing to its equity shares on a rights basis.
The Board of Directors of Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited (ESFBL) and Equitas Holdings Limited (EHL) at their respective Meetings held on July 26, 2021 approved a Scheme of Amalgamation between EHL, ESFBL and their respective shareholders, contemplating amalgamation of EHL with ESFBL under applicable provisions of the Companies Act 2013. The Scheme was designed to achieve the RBI licensing requirement of dilution of promoter shareholding in the Bank and minimum public shareholding (MPS) requirements prescribed by SEBI Regulations, in a manner that is in the best interests of and without being prejudicial to EHL, ESFBL, their respective shareholders or any other stakeholders. Subsequently, ESFBL achieved the MPS through a Qualified Institutions Placement (QIP) of its shares, in February 2022, after obtaining the necessary approvals. Consequently, the aforesaid Scheme was revised to include the change in capital structure arising from QIP as well as the necessary change in objects of the Scheme. The Scheme, so revised was approved by the Boards of EHL and ESFBL in their respective
Meetings held on March 21, 2022. The Scheme was filed with the Stock Exchanges and RBI for necessary approvals/ sanctions.