‘Even without a bank licence there is great opportunity for NBFCs to grow’

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Published: March 23, 2018 3:44:31 AM

With close to 25 million customers, Bajaj Finance is the biggest diversified NBFC in India. managing director Rajeev Jain tells FE that even without a bank licence there is great opportunity for NBFCs to grow.

Bajaj Finance, NBFC, India, MobiKwik, banking licence, rural business, gstThe investment was made as part of our strategy to increase customer engagement.

With close to 25 million customers, Bajaj Finance is the biggest diversified NBFC in India. managing director Rajeev Jain tells FE that even without a bank licence there is great opportunity for NBFCs to grow. Excerpts:

How big is Bajaj Finance’s balance sheet likely to be in the next 5 years?

Our consolidated assets stood at Rs 77,970 crore, as of December 31, 2017. The loan book of the company is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20-25%. As a
company, we are quite comfortable with our growth stance for the medium-to long-term.

You have picked up a stake in MobiKwik to facilitate business digitally and also cross-sell products. How is it shaping up?

We have a 12.6% stake in MobiKwik. The investment was made as part of our strategy to increase customer engagement. We went live with the co-brand wallet in November, 2017. Since then, over 1 million of our customers have been onboarded to the wallet. We are now in the process of developing the functionality of co-brand wallet customers accessing our suite of cross-sell products. We expect to go live with these functionalities, in a phased manner, in the next few months. We think this digital capability can transform point of sale experience for our customers in the near future.

Besides digitisation, do you anticipate any major trend emerging in the near future?

Data is the new oil. Digitisation coupled with our large customer franchise of 26-27 million customers will enable us to generate and effectively utilise a humongous amount of data. The end purpose of this is to offer the right products at right price and right time to the right customer. With India stack components like
Aadhaar, e-KYC, E sign etc percolating down to cover large mass of India’s population, NBFCs should plug in to these components enabling them to offer best in class service to customers.

Would you say Bajaj Finance is hamstrung without a banking licence?

We believe it is effective utilisation of capital that generates long-term returns. We have delivered ROEs in the range of 18-22% in the past 7 years, which is among the most efficient in the NBFC space on a sustainable basis. The current penetration of financial products and services leaves a large headroom for both banks and NBFCs to tap, if they are efficient.

Your share of rural lending is at 7%, up from 1% in 2014-15. How do you see it growing in the coming years?

The AUM of the rural business stood at Rs 5,497 crore, as of December 31, 2017. We are now present in 588 locations and expect to increase our reach to 1,200 rural locations in the next 5 years. As a result, the rural lending share is likely to move up from 7% to 9-10% in the coming years.

What is the potential for small business loans?

We are witnessing a slow recovery in small businesses after the disruption caused by demonetisation and GST. The impact over the next two years should be positive as we see GST leading to more transparency in income disclosures for SMEs. This would eventually lead to more demand for organised borrowing.

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