The Finance Ministry may relax the eligibility criteria for selection of chief executive officers (CEOs) and managing directors (MDs) of five public sector banks if applicants in the ongoing selection process fail to pass muster with the Reserve Bank of India's scrutiny.

"We may relax certain eligibility criteria after the applications that we received are scrutinised by RBI," official sources said.

About 40 applications were received by the Department of Financial Services for appointment as Managing Director and CEO in Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Canara Bank and IDBI Bank for a fixed term of three years.

If the RBI is not able to provide us adequate number of shortlisted candidates for the interview then the ministry may have to invite applications again with somewhat relaxed criteria, sources said.

If at all there is relaxation, it could for board level experience or age criteria so that serving executive directors of the public sector banks or more candidates from private sector could be eligible for the vacancies, sources added.