National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has widened its shareholder base by allowing payment banks and fintech firms to be its shareholders.

India’s retail payments body completed the private placement of 4.63% of its equity shares worth INR816.4m ($11.04m).

It was joined by payment and small finance banks and payment operators.

“NPCI made an offer for the private placement to 131 RBI regulated entities, out of which 19 evinced interest and were allotted shares in NPCI,” it said in a statement.

UPI-payments crossed the two billion transaction count in India last month.

Small finance and payment banks who joined NPCI as shareholders include AU Small Finance Bank, and India Post Payments Bank.

The digital payment fintechs such as BillDesk, Amazon Pay, PayU India, PhonePe, Paytm, Pine Labs and MobiKwik also joined NPCI’s shareholding, among others.

Each of the aforementioned entities own up to 0.44% of NPCI shares.

NPCI chief of finance Rupesh Acharya said: “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this exercise and the confidence expressed in NPCI’s continued growth and larger purpose.

“With this we have also broad based our shareholding to include new categories like payment banks, small finance banks and payment system operators in addition to existing public sector, private sector, foreign, co-operative and regional rural banks.”

This development comes after NPCI was in the news for looking to onboard new partners earlier this month.

NPCI, which is a not-for-profit initiative of the RBI and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA), now has 67 shareholders in total.

State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda (BOB), and Punjab National Bank (PNB) are the largest shareholders in NPCI, with each owning a 9.15% stake.

Additionally, new-age entities such as Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), Dhanlaxmi Bank and IDFC First Bank were also added by NPCI as its shareholders.

Collectively, these state-owned lenders, including Canara Bank, own more than 40% stake in NPCI, and 77% when counting the private banks HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and HSBC.

NPCI hired ICICI Securities to advise on the private placement and Khaitan & Co as legal advisor.