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Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC bank and ICICI bank on Tuesday said that they have picked up stake in a newly incorporated fintech firm IBBIC Pvt Ltd (IBBIC).

ICICI bank picked up 5.44% whereas KMB, HDFC bank and Axis Bank have each picked up 5.55% stake in IBBIC. IBBIC is a financial technology company with an objective of providing a platform for exploring, building and implementing Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) solutions for the Indian financial services sector, the banks said in separate filings to exchanges.

Set up by 18 banks in India, the new company will use blockchain technology for processing inland letters of credit (LCs), with equal shareholding.

This includes RBL Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, Yes Bank, South Indian Bank, Federal Bank, IDFC First Bank, State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda (BoB), Indian Bank, Canara Bank, IDBI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India and Standard Chartered. Each bank will invest Rs5 Crore in the company, making the total capital INR 75 Crores. Separately, Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), the technology and research arm of RBI, is also in the process of developing a model blockchain platform for banking needs.

IBBIC will use Infosys Finacle Connect platform to digitise and automate inter-organisation trade finance processes. With this, the banking system in India is taking a new leap in digitisation of trade finance, which has traditionally been bogged down by legacy systems and paper-driven processes. A blockchain, acting as a shared ledger can maintain real-time records of transactions among supply chain stakeholders, enhancing transparency in transactions and traceability of the supply chain. Creating such trusted digital data flows can reduce costs, make transactions error-free and enable faster transactions.

In India, frauds associated with LCs have been a cause of concern. It is difficult to verify the authenticity of LCs issued in physical format. In a notification by RBI to banks in 2012, issuances of LCs were made mandatorily through Structured Financing Messaging System (SFMS). SFMS is managed by Indian Financial Technology and Allied Services (IFTAS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India.

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