Although the implementation of GST and RERA has impacted the sector negatively, we are confident that these changes would ensure healthy growth over time.
CanFin Homes has managed to hold its own in a crowded marketplace because of its unique lending approach, says Sarada Kumar Hota, managing director, in an interview to PP Thimmaya. Excerpts:
The housing sector in general has slowed post demonetisation, GST and RERA implementation. How do you see the sector performing over the next 2-3 years?
Although the implementation of GST and RERA has impacted the sector negatively, we are confident that these changes would ensure healthy growth over time. While demonetisation has helped normalise prices by discouraging cash deals, RERA offers much-needed security to the home-buyer. The initiative of ‘Housing for All by 2022’ and the attendant incentives for the sector are going to be key drivers of growth in the coming years.
What do you think of some ratings agencies flagging risks in the affordable housing sector to which you have a fairly large exposure?
Yes, some analysts/agencies have pointed at higher delinquency rates for small ticket loans. While CanFin Homes caters mostly to the LIG and lower MIG segments with an average ticket size of about Rs 18 lakh, its asset quality is one of the best in the industry. We are the first housing finance company to have introduced Affordable Housing Loan Centres (AHLCs) to lend exclusively in the peripheral areas of tier-I, tier-II and tier-III cities.
Don’t you think the target of growing your loan book to Rs 35,000 crore by 2020 is too aggressive?
The goal of a Rs 35,000-crore loan book is part of our Vision 2020 document. Notwithstanding the hurdles we face because of the economic scenario, the goal of providing Housing for All by 2022 would make it possible for us to achieve the target — may be with a lag.
Would it not be prudent to slow down lending to the non-salaried class at this juncture?
We have been consciously conservative in our lending approach to ensure good asset quality, which is our USP.
In case the interest rates go up and funds become costlier, would you pass them on to the customer?
While we have a cost-conscious approach to borrowing, a hike in the cost of funds would have to be passed on to customers.