RBI Bars Kotak Mahindra Bank from Onboarding New Customers, Issuing Fresh Credit Cards

The central bank's action against Kotak Mahindra Bank highlights the importance it places on robust IT infrastructure and risk management frameworks in the banking sector.

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cracked down on Kotak Mahindra Bank, ordering it to stop onboarding new customers through its online and mobile banking channels, as well as issuing fresh credit cards. The central bank’s stern action comes in the wake of significant concerns arising from its IT examination of the bank for the years 2022 and 2023, and the bank’s continued failure to address these concerns comprehensively and in a timely manner.

In its order, the RBI stated, “These actions are necessitated based on significant concerns arising out of Reserve Bank’s IT Examination of the bank for the years 2022 and 2023 and the continued failure on part of the bank to address these concerns in a comprehensive and timely manner.”

What does this mean for Kotak Mahindra Bank customers?
The RBI’s directive prohibits Kotak Mahindra Bank from issuing fresh credit cards and onboarding new customers via mobile banking. However, the bank can continue to provide services to its existing customers, including its credit card customers.

Why has the RBI taken this action against Kotak Mahindra Bank?
According to the central bank, serious deficiencies and non-compliances were observed in various areas, including IT inventory management, patch and change management, user access management, vendor risk management, data security and data leak prevention strategy, business continuity, and disaster recovery rigour and drill.

The RBI assessed the bank as being deficient in its IT Risk and Information Security Governance for two consecutive years.

“In the absence of a robust IT infrastructure and IT Risk Management framework, the bank’s Core Banking System (CBS) and its online and digital banking channels have suffered frequent and significant outages in the last two years, the recent one being a service disruption on April 15, 2024, resulting in serious customer inconveniences,” the RBI stated.

The central bank’s action against Kotak Mahindra Bank highlights the importance it places on robust IT infrastructure and risk management frameworks in the banking sector. The RBI’s move is aimed at ensuring that banks prioritize cybersecurity and maintain high standards of IT governance to prevent customer inconvenience and potential data breaches.

While the restrictions may cause short-term disruptions for Kotak Mahindra Bank, the RBI’s intervention is likely to compel the bank to address the identified deficiencies promptly and strengthen its IT systems and processes.

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