Encouraged by the Reserve Bank of India’s invitation to set up Self-Regulatory Organisations (SRO) for financial services and payments industry, the Board of Business Correspondent Federation of India (BCFI), the body representing companies working towards delivery of financial services to underbanked and unbanked citizens, has approved the formation of SRO, subject to due consent from RBI, and appointed Mr. Sunil Kulkarni as the new Head of BCFI and CEO (designate) for the SRO. Mr. Kulkarni is an industry veteran, one of the founding members of BCFI and been on its board since inception.

The team at BCFI will improvise upon the Code of Conduct and Grievance Redressal Mechanism developed last year, and implement them in the earnest among its members with key focus towards ensuring customer protection and betterment of service standards.

In complete alignment with the government’s financial inclusion policy framework and RBI’s vision of National strategy on Financial Education, BCFI SRO team would work towards expediting accessibility of financial services to the citizens and standardisation of banking processes to different corporate BCs. The body continues to play a unique role in building standards and practices for the sector and addressing burgeoning issues and structural challenges whilst putting the customers’ needs at the centre.

“The RBI’s invitation to form an SRO for Payment System Operators is deeply encouraging, and further fortifies our intent to deliver uninterrupted financial inclusion to the unbanked and underbanked citizen of India. We take pride and privilege in proposing Sunil Kulkarni, a veteran in the payments and business correspondents space, as the CEO (designate) of BCFI SRO”, said Sasidhar N Thumuluri, Chairman, BCFI who has taken the responsibility last year from Dr. Anand Srivastava (the founding Chairman of BCFI).

The passion and efforts of BC industry to revolutionise banking and make it ubiquitous has been apparent during this global crisis, as millions have benefitted from the deeply entrenched Agent Business Correspondents (ABC) network in the country. We look forward to grow further under the dynamic leadership of Mr. Kulkarni and his decades of industry expertise. In this increasingly technologically empowered environment, we are duty-bound to ensure that no community is marginalised in the digital payments revolution”, said Anand Kumar Bajaj, Vice Chairman of BCFI.

Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Sunil Kulkarni said, “I am delighted & honoured to have been appointed by Board of BCFI for this position. Through interactions with Banks, Regulators and Government, the Self-Regulatory Organisation for BCs, will work towards setting and enforcing rules and standards relating to the conduct of Corporate BCs and Agent BCs in the industry (members) with the aim of protecting the customer and promoting ethics, equality, and professionalism. We are encouraged by customer and industry friendly policies by RBI, and will continue to strive to provide uninterrupted banking services at the last mile. We are poised to reach a million touchpoints soon, and will refine processes to meet expectations of the regulator from time to time.”

Sunil Kulkarni brings more than 34 years of experience in Services distribution, branchless banking, telecom and mobile wallet technology projects. Sunil was responsible for launching India’s first e-Distribution Network for mobile recharge/Bill Payments in 2004 over Point of Sale (POS) terminals in retail. He was, till recently, Joint MD of Oxigen Services India Pvt Ltd.

About Business Correspondent Federation of India:

Business Correspondent Federation of India (BCFI) is the national federation of Corporate Business Correspondents (CBCs) and Agent Business Correspondents (ABCs) in India. It is a not-for-profit organization that aims to promote responsible finance by systematizing and harmonizing the delivery of financial services to the poor through the critical last mile i.e. the ABCs. The federation interalia also does policy advocacy, promotes financial literacy and customer awareness. BCFI undertakes studies, workshops/conclaves and supports collaborative development activities related to financial inclusion in general and the BC sector in particular. The federation works with its stakeholders towards setting up a quality network, standardized systems and processes that address both supply and demand side challenges holistically.


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