RBI Imposes Restrictions on Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Online Services and Credit Card Issuance

RBI Imposes Restrictions on Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Online Services and Credit Card Issuance
RBI Imposes Restrictions on Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Online Services and Credit Card Issuance

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced substantial limitations on Kotak Mahindra Bank in an effort to ensure regulatory compliance and bolster security within the financial sector. On April 24, 2024, the RBI barred Kotak Mahindra Bank from enrolling new customers through its online and mobile banking platforms and from issuing new credit cards. This action, following the recent closure of Paytm Payment Bank, underscores the RBI's dedication to preserving stability and security in the nation's financial landscape.

The decision arises from concerns raised during the RBI's IT audits of the bank in both 2022 and 2023, compounded by the bank's failure to promptly and adequately address these issues. Specifically, the RBI has flagged deficiencies in Kotak Mahindra Bank's IT Risk and Information Security Governance for two consecutive years, contrary to regulatory directives.

While existing customers, including credit card holders, will continue to receive services, these restrictions have been put in place to protect customer welfare and mitigate the risk of prolonged service disruptions. Such disruptions could not only affect the bank's operations but also the broader digital banking and payment ecosystem, a situation that is of concern to all stakeholders.

Root Causes

The root of the problem lies in the recurring deficiencies within Kotak Mahindra Bank's IT infrastructure and risk management framework, which have proven inadequate to sustain its operations. The bank's core banking system (CBS) and digital banking channels have experienced frequent and significant outages over the past two years, with the most recent disruption occurring on April 15, 2024, resulting in considerable inconvenience for customers

RBI’s Stance

The RBI underscores that Kotak Mahindra Bank's operational resilience is compromised as a result of its inability to develop IT systems and controls in line with its expansion. Despite continuous dialogue between the RBI and the bank aimed at resolving these issues, satisfactory progress has not been attained. Additionally, the swift escalation in the volume of the bank's digital transactions, including credit card transactions, has placed additional strain on its IT systems.

Comparisons with Past Actions

This isn't the first time that RBI implemented such measures against a bank. In 2020, HDFC Bank encountered similar restrictions after facing technical disruptions over a span of two years. The RBI temporarily prohibited HDFC Bank from introducing new digital banking services and revenue-generating IT applications until the issues were addressed. Furthermore, the bank was prevented from enrolling new credit card customers. Although some restrictions were eased for specific services in June 2023, the RBI's watchfulness remains palpable.

Impact on Shares

The repercussions of the RBI's actions on Kotak Mahindra Bank's shares are anticipated to be substantial. Although the bank's shares experienced a modest increase on Wednesday, climbing by 1.64% to reach Rs 1,843.05 each on the BSE, it is anticipated that Thursday's trading session will witness a decline in response to the regulatory interventions.


In summary, the RBI's measures against Kotak Mahindra Bank highlight the critical role of resilient IT infrastructure and effective risk management in the banking industry. Though these restrictions present obstacles for the bank, they are crucial for upholding the stability and safety of the financial landscape. Going forward, Kotak Mahindra Bank must tackle the root issues identified by the RBI to restore the regulator's trust and return to regular operations.

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