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Home First Finance rethinks lending to narrow India's home ownership gap
The dream of home ownership is often left unrealised for India’s low and middle-income earners. Supply of affordable housing is one issue which the government is addressing through its “Housing for all by 2022” initiative. Still, no matter how affordable, financing these homes can be a challenge. Those lacking formal documentation of wages are often turned back by traditional lenders, creating a barrier that Home First Finance seeks to resolve.
“We believe everyone should own their dream home, including this vast segment of the market which has been underserved,” said Ajay Khetan, Chief Operating Officer at Home First Finance. “That’s why we’re changing the rules and using technology to make it possible.”
Salesforce is powering the business’ trailblazing model, helping it to connect with its customers and operate at speed. The new technology also helps make Home First Finance an exciting place to work.
Growing the business and changing lives
Home First Finance has grown in a profitable and prudent manner with low default ratios and a Compound Annual Growth rate of more than 50% since its inception in 2010. While this is impressive, making home ownership a reality for customers is about much more than growing profit.
The business has provided housing loans to more than 15,000 families. Licensed by the National Housing Bank, Home First Finance is also able to offer subsidies through the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme. These subsidies are worth over Rs two lakh and make an enormous difference to families who might otherwise take four years to save that amount.
Underlying Home First Finance’s success to date and scalability for the future is smart use of technology. Salesforce has become the business’ workflow engine, supporting a paperless home loan process and making it easy to communicate with customers.
Everyone in the business, from Home First Finance’s operations team to its relationship managers, has information at their fingertips to work smarter and faster. Using the Salesforce Mobile App, relationship managers digitally capture the information they need to process an application face-to-face and attach it to the customer’s record in Sales Cloud. Integration with third-party applications such as a credit report database let relationship managers initiate background checks right from the field. Using SMS Magic from the Salesforce AppExchange they can also quickly follow up with customers for more details in a seamless flow of information.
With processes streamlined and employees using Chatter to collaborate in real-time, loan decisions are exceptionally fast. “When we first started the business, we found industry turnaround time on loan decisions was anywhere from 15 to 20 days. We planned to bring this down to four or five but, already, we’re turning around 60% of applications in one day,” said Khetan.
“As a startup, it’s paramount to have processes and technologies supporting a lean crew. If you give employees the tools to work productively, you can empower them to do the best work of their career, Salesforce enables that for our employees, and helps us plan for growth and expansion throughout India.”
Creating a culture of innovation
Home First Finance is continually looking at new ways to improve the experience of its customers and employees. Salesforce supports rapid innovation by allowing it to quickly connect apps from the AppExchange and build new ones with Heroku. Home First Finance is also innovating with Salesforce Communities and has built a custom portal where customers can securely access their account details and balances.
All of these solutions make life easier for customers and employees, and support the business’ growth across India.
“As a startup, it’s paramount to have processes and technologies supporting a lean crew. If you give employees the tools to work productively, you can empower them to do the best work of their career,” said Khetan. “Salesforce enables that for our employees, and helps us plan for growth and expansion throughout India.”
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