While browsing through home loan providers online, I came across Home First Finance Company India (HFFC). Although it has an established reputation in the market with over 30,000 live loans, it was a heart-warming account from one of their clients, Mr Suresh Lanjewar, that won me over.
“We faced several hardships in the kaccha ghar. The roof would leak during the monsoon season – leaving no place to sleep and a flooded house,” said Mr Lanjewar. It was a story of a man who had moved from Chulhad to Nagpur and was in need of a permanent home for his loved ones – his wife and two young children.
As he recounted his experience with HFFC and how access to subsidies under the CLSS scheme (Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme) ensured affordable EMIs, I realized the impact of HFFC’s work in empowering their clients. HFFC’s clientele includes first-time buyers who might not have the documentation to access finances through other avenues.
“When we looked at how customers viewed the industry, a lot of people thought home loans were a burden. We wanted to change that mindset,” said a spokesperson from HFFC.
With the CLSS scheme (under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana), applicants with an annual income of up to INR 3 lakh and up to INR 6 lakh are eligible to obtain subsidies. HFFC is one of the few Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs) that has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Nodal Agencies to provide this facility.
Mr Lanjewar was able to obtain the sanctioned amount at an EMI of INR 5,000 along with a subsidy of INR 2,67,280 to buy a new home for his family. Overall, HFFC has passed on subsidies for over 14,000 loans – amounting to INR 334 crores.
HFFC caters to salaried and self-employed individuals, working in small private enterprises or running small businesses, with low and moderate incomes (between INR 10,000 and INR 30,000 per month).
The spokesperson at HFFC recounts experiences wherein the team often works tirelessly to ensure that a creditworthy customer is never missed out. Like Archana, a proud single mother of a lovely teenage daughter and a school teacher by profession was looking for a home for her family. With a monthly income of INR 15,000 per month, she was sanctioned a 8.5L loan within a couple of days time!
“We ensure empathy in all our actions. A majority of our customers have significant hassles and hardships to deal with, a Home Loan should be least of their worry” he said.
It is rare to see a finance company, genuinely integrate empathy into its customer touchpoints and internal processes. However, HFFC is doing this exceedingly well. The company commenced its operations in August 2010 and in 9 years, has established its presence in more than 45 cities across 12 states. It started at a time wherein the affordable housing segment was yet to be tapped by so many players.
Through direct origination by the relationship managers, ease of acquiring loans is given priority. HFFC has designed a unique process for service delivery.
The relationship manager visits the applicant’s home and equips him or her with knowledge of loan procedures and managing their finances and EMIs. They do the first level of credit, then scans the customer’s existing documents and carries out all the relevant checks to compensate for a lack of documented income proof.
The team ensures a quick turnaround time of 48 hours for most of their loan applications – saving valuable hours for the applicant. Also, to keep up with the needs of its tech-savvy customers, the company ensures seamless systems to track loans on mobile applications and options to connect with relationship managers via WhatsApp.
“We encourage people to pre-pay their loans as well to ensure their financial wellbeing. It’s quite unconventional for a home loan company,” said the spokesperson at HFFC.
HFFC currently has Assets Under Management (AUM) of over INR 2,290 crores and a CAGR of 60+ percent over last 4 years. With its unconventional, swift, and transparent approach, the company is on track for a robust growth trajectory. All the while, ensuring hassle-free, affordable housing for hardworking individuals like Mr Lanjewar.