The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on Monday, set up a five-member standing external advisory committee(SEAC), with former RBI deputy governor Shyamala Gopinath as the chairperson,to evaluate applications for universal banks and small finance banks (SFBs).

The tenure of this SEAC will be for three years.

Other members include Revathy Iyer, director, central board, RBI; B Mahapatra, former executive director, National Payments Corporation of India; T N Manoharan, former chairman, Canara Bank; and Hemant G Contractor, former MD, State Bank of India, and former Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.

The secretarial support to the committee would be provided by the Department of regulation, Reserve Bank of India.

The guidelines for 'on tap' licensing of Universal Banks in the private sector on August 1, 2016 and the guidelines for 'on tap' Licensing of Small Finance Banks in the private sector on December 5, 2019, had indicated that the applications for Universal Banks and Small Finance Banks would be initially screened by the RBI to ensure prima facie eligibility of the applicants.

It was also stated that a SEAC comprising eminent persons with experience in banking, financial sector and other relevant areas, will evaluate the applications thereafter and that the constitution of the SEAC will be announced by the RBI.