How to Ensure Ethical Lending Practices in Your NBFC?

To ensure ethical lending practices in NBFC, you must adhere strictly to all relevant financial regulations and guidelines issued by regulatory bodies like the Reserve Bank of India. Regular internal and external audits should be conducted to ensure compliance. Operations should be transparent, with clear and concise terms and conditions provided for all loan products, ensuring customers understand the interest rates, fees, and repayment terms.

What is the Code of Conduct Set by FIDC for NBFC?

The Finance Industry Development Council, the representative body for Non-Banking Financial Companies, has issued a Code of Conduct to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and uphold standards of fair business conduct. This code aims to enhance responsible lending practices and ensure ethical business operations. FIDC states that the code will help restore confidence in the non-bank leading sector by promoting discipline and harmony among NBFCs through ethical lending practices in NBFC.  

Requirements and Guidelines for NBFCs to Follow

Let’s delve into the world of NBFCs by understanding the necessary key requirements and guidelines which need to be followed by NBFCs:

1. Registration and Licensing

The initial step for any entity wishing to function as an NBFC is to obtain NBFC Registration from the regulatory authority, typically the central bank or a financial regulatory body. This process involves submitting required documents such as a business plan, financial statements, and background checks of directors and shareholders to obtain successful licenses.

2. Requirements of the Net Owned Fund

NBFC must maintain a minimum level of net owned funds as stipulated by the regulatory authority because it represents the company’s owned capital minus investment in shares of other companies.

3. Capital Adequacy Ratio

NBFCs must maintain a minimum level of capital adequacy to protect against financial risks. The capital adequacy ratio (CAR) is calculated as a percentage of the company’s risk-weighted assets, measuring the proportion of capital to these assets.

4. Prudential Norms

NBFCs must adhere to prudential norms to ensure financial soundness and stability. These guidelines cover income recognition, asset classification, provision for bad debts, and exposure limits, and compliance with them is required to ensure transparency in financial reporting and effective management of credit risks.

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5. KYC and Anti-money Laundering Regulation

To combat money laundering and terrorist financing, NBFCs must implement robust KYC procedures, which involve verifying customer identities, assessing risk profiles, and conducting due diligence checks. AML regulations also require NBFCs to monitor and report suspicious transactions to relevant authorities.

6. Fair Practice Code

NBFCs are expected to adhere to the Fair Practices Code, which promotes ethical and responsible lending practices. This code includes guidelines on loan applications, loan appraisal, transparency in loan agreements, grievance redressal mechanisms and debt recovery practices. Following these codes helps protect borrowers’ interests and ensures fair treatment for all stakeholders.

7. Reporting and Compliance

NBFCs must submit periodic reports and disclosures to the regulatory authority, including financial statements, prudential returns and other specified information. Compliance with these reporting requirements is crucial for maintaining transparency and enabling regulators to monitor the financial health and compliance status of NBFCs.

Promoting Ethical Lending Practices in NBFC

Promoting ethical lending practices in a Non-Banking Financial Company involves a combination of regulatory compliance, transparent operation, customer-centric policies and internal checks and balances. Below are several key strategies to achieve this:

1. Regulatory Compliance

Ensure that all lending practices comply with the relevant financial regulations and guidelines issued by the financial authorities and regulatory bodies such as RBI. However, there is a requirement for regular conduct of internal and external audits such as the NBFC Compliance audit to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

2. Transparent Operations

There will be clear, concise, and understandable terms and conditions for all loan products and ensure that customers are fully aware of the interest rates, fees, and repayment terms. There should be full disclosure of all costs, including hidden charges, penalties, and fees, to borrowers before they agree to the loans to maintain the ethical lending practices of NBFC.

3. Customer-centric Policies

The NBFCs must ensure fair competitive interest rates to avoid predatory lending practices that take advantage of customers’ financial situations. The NBFC ensure responsible lending by assessing the repayment capacity of borrowers carefully to avoid over-indebting them which includes assessment of credit and background checks and establishing a grievance redressal mechanism to address customer complaints.

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4. Internal checks and balances

Develop and enforce a strong code of ethics that all employees must adhere to, which also includes guidelines on responsible lending, customer interaction, and conflict of interest. Implement a system for continuous monitoring and evaluation of lending practices to identify and correct unethical behaviour.

5. Technology and Data Security

NBFCS ensures customer data security and confidentiality by using advanced technology to safeguard against data breaches and unauthorized access. The NBFCs must use unbiased and transparent credit scoring models to assess borrowers’ creditworthiness.

6. Corporate Social Responsibility

NBFCs engage with the community to understand their needs, offer financial products that support their economic well-being, and provide financial literacy progress to educate customers about managing finances, understanding credit, and making informed borrowing decisions.

7. Practices of Ethical Marketing  

NBFCs must ensure that all marketing and advertising materials are truthful and not misleading. They must avoid making false promises or exaggerating the benefits of loan products. NBFCs must also avoid aggressive marketing tactics that pressure individuals into taking loans they cannot afford.

8. Feedback Mechanism

NBFCs regularly gather and act on customer feedback to improve services, address any ethical concerns the borrowers raise, and consider independent reviews and assessments of lending practices to ensure objectivity and transparency.

9. Risk Management

NBFCs must manage risks effectively, focus on identifying sources of uncertainty related to their objectives, and integrate risk management into their organizational process. All NBFCs must establish a risk management committee at the board or executive level, which reports to the board of directors.

Ensuring Financial Integrity: Combating Predatory Practices in NBFCs

NBFCs play a crucial role in providing credit and financial services yet they often sometimes fall into unethical practices which will eventually lead to the problems of the vulnerable populations. Predatory lending is a significant issue with NBFCs providing loans to people with poor credit histories which leads to excessive interest rates and hidden fees due to which individuals face debts.

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So, to overcome these issues, NBFCs are required to comply with proper regulations, NBFC Compliance audits, grievance redressal mechanisms, and ethical lending practices in NBFCs, hence initiatives like these provide fair resolution, while government intervention emphasizes the need to treat borrowers with sensitivity, ensuring financial integrity and borrower welfare.


In conclusion, NBFCs must adhere to strict regulatory frameworks and implement robust ethical lending practices in NBFCs to protect borrowers and ensure financial integrity. By promoting transparency, responsible lending and customer-centric policies, NBFCs can mitigate predatory practices and support the financial well-being of their clients. Continuous monitoring, NBFC compliance audits, proper NBFC registration, and ethical marketing are essential for maintaining trust and stability within the financial sectors.


  1. What does the FIDC state about the NBFCs?

    The FIDC states that the NBFCs cannot use any violent or unethical methods for the collection of loans, or any coercive practices of recovery and make sure that all the practices are as per the guidelines of the RBI.

  2. What is the understanding of the ethical lending practices in NBFCs?

    Ethical lending prioritizes social responsibility and fairness over mere profit in lending practices, and it considers the broader impacts of lending decisions, including social, environmental, and economic factors.

  3. What are the RBI's fair lending practices?

    The RBI introduced fair practices code guidelines for the regulated entities to emphasize fairness and transparency in interest charged by lenders to maintain flexibility in the policies of loan pricing. 

  4. What are the lending practices standards?

    The standard lending practices are:
    · To provide borrowers with details on security,
    · Guarantees
    · Indemnity
    · Inform potential guarantors about their obligations.
    · Limit unrestricted guarantees

  5. What is the full form of FIDC?

    The full form of FIDC is the Finance Industry Development Council.

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