In the ever-evolving landscape of financial services, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) have emerged as key players. They provide a wide range of financial services, including lending, investments, leasing, hire-purchase, insurance, and more. However, before venturing into this sector, it’s crucial to understand the intricacies of NBFC company registration. This comprehensive guide will walk you through every aspect of NBFC registration, from eligibility criteria to the registration process and different types of NBFC licenses.

Understanding NBFCs

Before delving into the registration process, it’s essential to grasp the role and scope of NBFCs. NBFCs are financial institutions that engage in various financial activities but are distinct from traditional banks. They provide a vital alternative to banking services, catering to specific financial need.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is the regulatory authority responsible for monitoring and controlling NBFCs. However, not all entities need to register as NBFCs. To require an NBFC license, a company’s primary business activity must fall within the domain of financial services. This is determined through the 50-50 test, where both financial assets and revenue from financial assets must exceed 50% of total assets and gross income, respectively. Companies involved in non-financial primary activities need not register as NBFCs.

Financial Companies not Requiring an NBFC Registration:

Several financial institutions are regulated by specific authorities and, therefore, do not require an NBFC license. These include housing finance companies, insurance companies regulated by the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India, stock brokerage, merchant banking companies, venture capital firms, collective investment schemes, mutual funds, Nidhi Companies regulated by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, and Chit Fund Companies governed by individual state governments.

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Difference Between NBFCs and Banks:

Understanding the distinctions between NBFCs and banks is crucial. Unlike banks, NBFCs cannot accept demand deposits and are not covered by the Deposit Insurance & Credit Guarantee Corporation. They also can’t issue checks drawn on themselves, which banks are authorized to do. Certain types of NBFCs supervised by other authorities have exceptions, as mentioned earlier.

Types of NBFC Licenses:

NBFCs are categorized into various types, each with its own specific functions. These include Asset Finance Companies (AFCs), Investment Companies, Loan Companies, Infrastructure Financing Firms, Systemically Important Core Investment Companies, Infrastructure Loans Funds, Non-Banking Financial Company Micro-Finance Institutions, and NBFC Factors. Understanding these categories is vital for choosing the right type of NBFC license for your business.

Process for NBFC Registration

The process of registering an NBFC with the RBI involves several steps, including applying for name approval, defining the primary business activity in the Memorandum of Association, and ensuring compliance with the RBI’s financial criteria. The documentation required for registration is extensive and includes details about management, financial records, and more.

Registration Process with RBI:

The actual registration process involves submitting the NBFC license application, either online or offline, to the RBI’s Regional Office. The applicant must ensure that the correct Regional Office is selected in the application. After online submission, a physical copy of the application, along with the necessary documents, must be sent to the Regional Office.

Required Documents for NBFC Registration:

1. Certified Copies of the Certificate of Incorporation: This document is fundamental and proves that your company is legally incorporated as a business entity. It should be certified, meaning it has an official seal or stamp of the authority that issued it. The Certificate of Incorporation provides the legal foundation for your business.

2. Memorandum of Association (MOA) Specifying Financial Business Aim: The MOA is a crucial document that outlines the primary objectives and aims of your company. For an NBFC, it must explicitly specify the intent to engage in financial activities, such as lending, leasing, or investment. It’s a legal declaration of your company’s scope of operations.

3. Board Resolutions: Board resolutions are official documents that demonstrate the consent and approval of the company’s board of directors to engage in NBFC activities. These resolutions should include declarations that the company is not currently involved in any NBFC activities and will not carry out such activities until it receives RBI registration. It also needs to express an intent to adhere to the “Fair Practices Code,” which outlines ethical practices in financial dealings.

4. Proof of Net Owned Funds (NOF): One of the critical eligibility criteria for an NBFC is the maintenance of a minimum level of net owned funds. As of RBI’s guidelines, the NOF cannot be less than Rs. 2 crores. It is essential to provide documented proof that your company meets this requirement.

5. Educational and Experience Certificates of Directors: The educational and experience certificates of the directors and key management personnel are essential to establish their qualifications and expertise in the financial sector. The RBI assesses the credibility of the leadership team to ensure that the NBFC is managed by individuals with the necessary knowledge and experience.

6. Banker’s Report: This report provides details about the company’s interactions with banks, both in terms of deposits and loans. It showcases your company’s financial relationships and transactions with financial institutions. The banker’s report plays a significant role in assessing your company’s financial stability.

7. Past Financial Records: For companies that are already operational, providing the audited balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, and director’s and auditor’s reports for the previous three years is required. These financial records demonstrate the financial health and track record of the company.

8. Ownership Structure: Documenting the authorized share capital and the most recent ownership structure, including the percentage ownership of each shareholder, is essential. This provides clarity on the ownership and control of the company.

9. Copy of Fixed Deposit Receipt: To prove the availability of Net Owned Funds, you need to provide a copy of the fixed deposit receipt along with a banker’s certificate confirming that there is no lien on the deposited amount. This serves as evidence of the company’s financial strength.

10. Bank Account Details: Detailed information about your company’s bank accounts, including account balances, credit facilities, and complete postal addresses of the branch and bank, is needed. This information is essential for regulatory and audit purposes.

11. Audited Financial Statements for Unincorporated Bodies: If any of the directors have a directorship or involvement in unincorporated bodies, financial records for the previous two years of such entities must be provided, whether or not the director holds a meaningful stake in these bodies.

These documents collectively provide a comprehensive view of your company’s financial standing, governance structure, and adherence to regulatory standards. Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of these documents is crucial for a successful NBFC registration process. The RBI uses these documents to evaluate the eligibility and credibility of your company as an NBFC.

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The Role of NBFCs in the Indian Financial Landscape

NBFCs play a significant role in broadening the financial ecosystem in India. They cater to the diverse financial needs of individuals and businesses that may not be served adequately by traditional banks. NBFCs are instrumental in financial inclusion, providing credit and investment opportunities to various sectors, including microfinance, SMEs, and consumers.

In recent years, NBFCs have contributed to economic growth and development by offering innovative financial products and services. They are instrumental in supporting the government’s financial inclusion initiatives and expanding access to credit in both urban and rural areas. NBFCs also contribute to job creation and stimulate economic activity by providing funds for various purposes, including vehicle financing, housing loans, and working capital for small businesses.

Benefits of Obtaining an NBFC License :

Obtaining an NBFC license offers several advantages to businesses. These benefits make it an attractive option for those looking to provide financial services:

1. Increased Credibility: Becoming a registered NBFC lends credibility to your financial operations. It assures customers and partners that your organization adheres to regulatory standards and can be trusted with their financial transactions.

2. Access to Financial Markets: Registered NBFCs can access financial markets for raising capital. This provides opportunities for growth and expansion of your financial services.

3. Diversification: An NBFC license allows businesses to diversify their financial offerings. Whether you want to expand into lending, leasing, or investment activities, an NBFC structure provides the flexibility to do so.

4. Exemption from Certain Taxes:Some states in India offer certain tax exemptions or benefits to registered NBFCs, making it a tax-efficient choice for financial businesses.

5. Customized Financial Products:Registered NBFCs have the freedom to develop and offer innovative and specialized financial products tailored to specific customer needs.

Challenges in NBFC Registration:

While NBFC registration offers significant benefits, it comes with its share of challenges:

1. Stringent Regulatory Compliance: Meeting the regulatory criteria, including maintaining a minimum net owned fund, can be challenging for new entrants. Ensuring compliance with ongoing regulatory changes is also essential.

2. Documentary Requirements: The documentation required for registration is extensive, and errors or omissions can lead to delays or rejection. These documents must be thoroughly prepared.

3. Initial Capital Requirement: Meeting the minimum capital requirements can be a hurdle for startups or small businesses. Securing the required financing is crucial.

4. Operational Challenges: Setting up the infrastructure and operations required for an NBFC can be complex. Efficient management and infrastructure are critical for success.

5. Risk Management: Managing the risks associated with financial activities is a significant challenge. Effective risk management practices are vital.

Ongoing Compliance and Regulations:

Once registered as an NBFC, businesses must adhere to ongoing compliance requirements. Regulatory authorities, such as the Reserve Bank of India, regularly update and modify these requirements. It’s essential for NBFCs to stay informed about these changes and ensure continuous compliance.

Key areas of compliance include reporting financial statements, capital adequacy, credit risk management, and anti-money laundering measures. Regular audits and inspections by regulatory authorities are also part of the compliance process.

Non-compliance with regulatory norms can result in penalties, loss of license, or even legal action. Therefore, it’s crucial for NBFCs to have a robust compliance management system in place and keep pace with evolving regulatory standards.


Navigating the world of NBFC company registration is a complex but essential journey for anyone looking to enter the financial services sector. This comprehensive guide has provided you with a step-by-step understanding of the process, highlighting the types of NBFC licenses and the documents required for registration. Whether you are an entrepreneur venturing into the financial world or an established business looking to diversify, a solid understanding of NBFC registration is a crucial first step. Online Legal India is dedicated to assisting businesses in this process and ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements. With this knowledge, you can embark on your NBFC journey with confidence, knowing you have a comprehensive guide to reference.