A non-banking finance company may be defined as an institution which mobilizes the savings of the community and diverts them for financing different activities. A bank also performs similar type of activities. Then what is the differesnce between bank and non-banking finance company? The difference can be seen from two points of views.
Firstly, from the legal point of view, bank may be defined as an institution which is governed by the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
Secondly, a more practical definition of a bank may be that it is an institution which accepts, short and long-term deposits up to an unlimited extent, and money can be withdrawn by drawing a cheque on any accounts maintained with it.
A non-banking financial intermediary does not fulfill any of these two criteria. The activities of non-banking companies are similar to those of banks and they are often referred to as Para banking institutions. Such intermediaries cover a wide range of institution differing in their main activities and the services they offer, the one essential feature being the same, viz., mobilization of the savings of the public and their utilization for financing various types of economic activities.
Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) are fast emerging as an important segment of Indian financial system. It is an heterogeneous group of institutions (other than commercial and co-operative banks) performing financial intermediation in a variety of ways, like accepting deposits, making loans and advances, leasing, hire purchase, etc. They raise funds from the public, directly or indirectly, and lend them to ultimate spenders. They advance loans to the various wholesale and retail traders, small-scale industries and self-employed persons. Thus, they have broadened and diversified the range of products and services offered by a financial sector. Gradually, they are being recognized as complementary to the banking sector due to their customer-oriented services; simplified procedures; attractive rates of return on deposits; flexibility and timeliness in meeting the credit needs of specified sectors; etc. The working and operations of NBFCs are regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) within the framework of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (Chapter III B) and the directions issued by it under the Act. As per the RBI Act, a 'non-banking financial company' is defined as:- (i) a financial institution which is a company; (ii) a non banking institution which is a company and which has as its principal business the receiving of deposits, under any scheme of arrangement or in any other manner, or lending in any manner; (iii) such other non-banking institution or class of such institutions, as the bank may, with the previous approval of the Central Government and by notification in the Official Gazette, specify. Under the Act, it is mandatory for a NBFC to get itself registered with the RBI as a deposit taking company. This registration authorises it to conduct its business as an NBFC. For the registration with the RBI, a company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 and desirous of commencing business of non-banking financial institution, should have a minimum net owned fund (NOF) of Rs 25 lakh (raised to Rs 200 lakh w.e.f April 21, 1999). The term 'NOF' means, owned funds (paid-up capital and free reserves, minus accumulated losses, deferred revenue expenditure and other intangible assets) less, (i) investments in shares of subsidiaries/companies in the same group/ all other NBFCs; and (ii) the book value of debentures/bonds/ outstanding loans and advances, including hire-purchase and lease finance made to, and deposits with, subsidiaries/ companies in the same group, in excess of 10% of the owned funds. The registration process involves submission of an application by the company in the prescribed format along with the necessary documents for RBI's consideration. If the bank is...