Digitization Is Boosting Homebuyers Sentiments
Nalin Jain, Chief Customer Officer & Head of Operations, Godrej Housing Finance
Are people looking to invest in homes in 2021?
As the current crisis unfolds with the second surge of Covid pandemic, it is bound to have an impact on consumer sentiments which otherwise would have been on a steady recovery. This pandemic has taught us that uncertainties of this magnitude can set us back significantly on our personal, professional and financial goals. Access to healthcare facilities, maintaining wellbeing & financial stability has been among the top priorities for everyone. At the same time, with the prolonged Stay at Home phenomenon, we are seeing an emerging trend among consumers being inclined to owning a home or upgrading to a larger house. This presents a good opportunity for trusted brands to step up and cater to this demand.
Continuous Government impetus to boost demand & encouraging digitization, has also been conducive to aid home buying. Across real estate developers and home finance players, we can see brands induce and incentivize purchase by tailoring products, payment plans etc. to suit the new environment & expectations. Since the future is uncertain, it has become a priority for people to secure themselves, with a significance of having a roof over their head, a roof they can call their own.
What are the hurdles customers are facing while acquiring home loans and what is Godrej housing finance doing to address the same?
For customers, at a macro level, the uncertainty associated with current pandemic coupled with worry about their own financial stability is a matter of concern. At Godrej Housing Finance we understand this very well. Our approach has always been to keep customer at the centre of everything we do. Hence we are focussing on bringing in products which enhance flexibility & affordability for our customers in a simplified way. Our customers can choose to split their own contribution (down payment) of the home in smaller more comfortable amounts, as per the stage of construction. While our Variable Own Contribution product allows customers far more flexibility in designing their own payment plans – making their purchase decisions easier. Our goals are driven at providing a class apart service, with ease of accessibility, especially during testing times.
Currently, need of the hour is to ensure safety of our customers and employees alike and we at Godrej Housing Finance have eliminated physical meeting with the customers with our digital application process enabling paperless sanctions.
How can digitisation improve housing loan journey?
Based on current situation, across all categories, brands have accelerated the use of digital platforms to extensively attract & engage with customers. Mortgage lending industry is plagued with being complex and documentation heavy. With use of digitisation across acquisition, KYC, underwriting, risk control, electronic signatures we are seeing home loan process become more customer friendly with quicker turnaround times on both sanction & disbursal.
Being a Digital first HFC, we at Godrej Housing Finance also are building a digital first tech platform which is a huge advantage we have over established players who have legacy systems & process to accommodate for. Our stack is built entirely on the cloud with open APIs that have enabled seamless partnerships with FinTech companies, in areas such as acquisition, authentication and analytics. We are in the process of launching a product that allows customers the convenience to design their own payment plans administered almost entirely digitally. We have also spent time training our team members on digital platforms and have provided early support to help them adapt to the communication and collaboration tools required for remote working. For Instance, preparing our teams to seamlessly embed Video KYC and other digital processes has required upskilling and a tweak in operations across the company.
Godrej housing finance products and services for the consumers
We are at present focusing on the mortgage business starting with home loans, balance transfer followed shortly by Loans against Property & commercial property loans. Our product offerings are guided by three pillars – flexibility (enabling customers to customize the payment of their own contribution and EMI schedule), affordability (offering competitive pricing with best interest rates) and personalization (using data-driven decision making to micro segment customers and tailor-made loan offerings). We have four geographies that we have started with – Mumbai, NCR, Pune and Bangalore. We are partnering with developers including Godrej Properties, to build a superior financing experience for their customers. We are very confident that we are on right track to build a long term, sustainable retail financial services business in India.