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Paytm strengthens top management for payments bank

Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: Ahead of unveiling the blueprint of its planned payments bank, Paytm run by One97 Communications Pvt. Ltd is strengthening its team by hiring several senior executives to help lay out its strategy.

The company, which recently hired former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) executive Shinjini Kumar as its chief executive officer, has hired RBI deputy general manager Vipin Surelia to head its risk and compliance division.

Paytm is looking to hire close to 1,500 people in its payments bank team during the next 12 months, according to the company. Noida-based Paytm has already hired close to 60 people for the payments bank team.

The online mobile payments firm that also runs an e-commerce platform has added seven senior executives including ex-Amazon executive Vikas Purohit, Bharti Airtel’s Saurabh Sharma, Krishna Hegde from Barclays Bank, Kumar and Surelia from RBI and Citibank’s Abhishek Arun, since December 2015.

Surelia is a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology and has been involved with the payments industry for more than 19 years and has closely worked with Unique Identification Authority of India, RBI and was also in charge of rolling out various National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI) initiatives such as mobile payments, Aadhaar-based systems and the Unified Payments Interface.

He was a member of the founding team at NPCI and spent six years building up the organization as part of the executive management team. He was also previously a key member of the RBI payments operation team.

“I have been involved with RBI and NPCI for a lot of years now. I will largely help Paytm interact with the regulators. I will also help them build strong control and processes with regard to risk mitigation,” said Surelia.

Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma received an in-principle nod from the RBI to set up a payments bank last year.

Paytm is among 11 companies which got the licences in August 2015. The others are Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd; Airtel M Commerce Services Ltd, a part of India’s largest telecom company Bharti Airtel Ltd; Cholamandalam Distribution Services Ltd; the department of posts; FINO PayTech Ltd; National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL); Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL); Tech Mahindra Ltd; Vodafone m-pesa Ltd, a unit of telco Vodafone India Ltd; and Dilip Sanghvi, founder of Sun Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Paytm plans to roll out its payments bank operations from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring areas, after which it will look at expanding towards north-east and central India.

Paytm has investors such as Alibaba Group, SAIF Partners and Sapphire Venture on its board. Launched in 2014, Paytm wallet claims to have over 120 million users, with over 90 million transactions every month.