01 June 2016
In conversation with Mr. Rakesh Singh, Director, Aditya Birla Housing Finance Limited (ABHFL). Speaking about the growth plans for the business and on making a differentiated product offering to home buyers, Rakesh also talks about the challenges and the opportunities for ABHFL in an already cluttered home loans category.
Q: What were the company's key highlights and achievements in its first full year of operations?
We started the housing finance business last year and it has been a very interesting 12 months. Being a late entrant in such a cluttered market is not easy. But right at the outset we identified the customer segment and the markets that we would operate in and that made it easy for us to adopt a focused strategy and drive our efforts towards our goal. In addition to having a clear goal it is important to have a good team to get things done. We have hand-picked an extremely able team of professionals across all levels and functions and this gives me immense confidence in providing the highest quality of service and offerings to our customers.
In our first full year of operation in FY 15-16, we achieved a book size of more than Rs. 2,000 crore. and established our footprint across 28 locations and 37 branches. It was a very challenging time for us as we entered a crowded field. Last year, especially, saw increased competition from banks and housing finance companies. Despite stiff competition we not only managed to build a sizeable book but also maintained healthy margins.
Q: Tell us more about your unique product positioning and how do you stand out in such a competitive field?
At ABHFL, we believe that we should provide a solution to our customer and not just a loan. Given our rich experience in lending to self-employed and corporate borrowers, we bring a very unique approach to the home loan segment. Home loan providers determine the loan eligibility based on traditional and cumbersome documents which often does not reflect the consumers' true repayment capability.
Our research gave us the insight that a home loan customer in India rues the fact that he is not considered worthy of a home loan amount on the basis of what he is truly worth. While their current and past reality is considered, their future potential is not given any weightage. With this insight, our endeavor was to work with our customers to help them buy their dream home and the first step is for the customer to find out his or her TRUE WORTH. This is our positioning - to provide the loan to buy the home that the customer deserves. Our home loans are structured in such a way that in addition to offering the usual features such as attractive interest rates, easy online application, hassle-free loan processing, we assure the consumer of a loan eligibility which is holistic in nature. We understand their ambitions to grow and unlike other lenders, we are happy to build in assured future income cash flows while taking into account income from various sources other than their primary business.
Q: How does this proposition translate on ground?
Our frontline teams are trained to spend the necessary time understanding the consumers' business model in detail and ensure that the loan we sanction is of a value reflective of the inherent strength of the business. The underlying message that we want to give our consumers is - Don't settle for less. Know your true worth and get the home your truly deserve - "Ghar wahi jo aapke kaabil ho!” And we used the opportunity to combine the consumer need and our product proposition to give birth to www.truworth.co.in - a tool that helps home buyers realise their true worth. This also became the central idea of our communication campaign that is currently running across multiple touch points.
Dr. Pragnya RamGroup Executive President, Corporate Communications & CSRAditya Birla Management Corporation Private LimitedAditya Birla Centre, 1st Floor, 'C' WingS.K. Ahire Marg, WorliMumbai 400 030.
91-22-6652 5000 /2499 5000
Fax: 91-22-6652 5741/ 42