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Bengaluru: Merchant payments and financial services provider, BharatPe, on Tuesday said it has appointed former head of State Bank of India, Rajnish Kumar as the chairman of its board.

As a part of his new role, Kumar will be involved in defining BharatPe’s short-term and long-term strategy, and also will work closely with the other board members and executives of the company on key business and regulatory initiatives.

Previously, Kumar held the position of chairman of SBI for a three-year term starting October 2017. He also served as the managing director of the national banking group, and the managing director of compliance and risk at SBI. During his long stint at the public-sector bank, Kumar also headed SBI Capital Markets Limited, SBI’s merchant banking arm.

“It is a matter of great validation and pride for us that one of the biggest stalwarts of the Indian banking industry has agreed to join BharatPe as the chairman of the board. We look forward to invaluable guidance from Rajnish Kumar as we build India’s largest digital credit provider. We are confident that under his able guidance, BharatPe will attain new heights and build the best-in-class fintech for the new India," said Ashneer Grover, co-founder and managing director of BharatPe.

Kumar currently serves as an independent non-executive director at HSBC Bank, Asia and L&T Infotech.

“In just three years, BharatPe has come a long way in becoming a trusted name in the financial services industry. It has redefined payments with its products like interoperable QR (quick-response) and has also emerged as the largest B2B (business-to-business) lender in the industry. This company has a huge opportunity ahead and it would be great to work closely with its young and talented team to build financial services for the India of tomorrow," said Kumar on his appointment.

Recently, in August, BharatPe raised $370 million in a primary and secondary mix, as a part of a Series E funding round led by new investor New York-based Tiger Global Management. The round valued BharatPe at $2.85 billion, giving a threefold growth in valuation in six months.

Earlier in June, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had cleared the takeover of PMC Bank by a joint consortium of Centrum and BharatPe.

BharatPe was looking to infuse the new funds to capitalize distressed Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank, in partnership with Centrum Financial Services. After RBI’s approval in June, Grover told Mint that it will collectively infuse $250-300 million (or up to 2,224 crore) in PMC Bank with Centrum, over the next two years.

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