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Exclusive: NPCI’s UPI head Anubhav Sharma set to join Paytm Payments Bank

Paytm Payments Bank has roped in Anubhav Sharma who was heading Unified Payments Interface and Immediate Payment Service at the National Payments Corporations of India for a top role at the bank, said two sources aware of the development.

This would be one of the most senior hirings for the Noida-based bank which has faced exits of top-level executives from its group companies in payments, mutual fund and gaming in the past three-four months.

“The appointment of Sharma has been finalised and Paytm Payments Bank is likely to announce it soon. The firm would leverage his years of experience in digital payments to ramp up its UPI-based payments system and payments bank,” said one of the sources mentioned above on condition of anonymity.

Sources confirmed that Sharma has already left NPCI. However, his exact role at Paytm Payments Bank is yet to be ascertained.

Entrackr reached out to Sharma, Paytm and NPCI for confirmation. Paytm declined comment while NPCI is yet to respond. Sharma didn’t respond to WhatsApp and LinkedIn messages.

Given that Paytm has reduced its dependency on UPI to focus on banking services that include wallet, IMPS, NEFT and RTGS, Sharma is most likely to look after digital payments for the banking business. During his over eight and half years tenure at NPCI, Sharma has headed UPI/IMPS and has product management experience in NFS ATMs, IMPS, Prepaid Instruments (PPI) Business and UPI.

“Sharma’s appointment will bolster Paytm’s UPI as it has been lagging behind Google Pay and PhonePe in terms of processing number of transactions since October 2019. While shifting the focus to banking is not surprising, the fall in the number of users is worrisome,” emphasised the second source who too didn’t want to be identified.

While Paytm’s monthly UPI transactions volume stood at 124 million against Google Pay’s 541 million and PhonePe’s 444 million in May, the SoftBank-backed firm also recorded a fall in the number of users transacting on the platform to 30 million. In comparison, Google Pay and PhonePe’s respective transacting users were recorded at 75 million and 60 million.

Paytm is bringing Sharma at the time when its subsidiaries have been grappling with the exit of senior executives. Paytm’s online payment business lead Puneet Jain, Paytm First’s head Siddharth Pandey and Paytm Mall’s CFO Rudra Dalmia had recently put in their papers.

Entrackr had exclusively reported the resignations of the aforementioned senior executives.

Earlier, Pravin Jadhav, CEO of Paytm’s mutual fund arm Paytm Money, had also quit the company. Around the same time, its CTO Suresh Vasudevan and operations head Beejish Pillai also resigned from the Bengaluru-headquartered firm.

Amidst the departure of senior level executives, Paytm has also been hiring across levels. According to an Inc42 report, the firm has hired around 20 people in leadership roles including Kapil Goswami, Vineet Arora, Manmeet Dhody and Tejinder Singh.

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