India’s Leading BFSI and FinTech Companies 2021

65 India’s Leading BFSI and FinTech Companies 2021 Experts’ Views Berar Finance Limited How would you summarize Berar Finance Limited’s journey since inception? What are some of the key milestones the company has achieved over the years? Berar Finance (BFL) was founded in 1990 by my father, Mr. MG Jawanjal. For the first 15 years, the Company focused on providing personal loans with operations concentrated in the Nagpur region of Maharashtra. In 1993, BFL was converted into a public limited company to expand its capital base and to raise equity from new shareholders. It also started offering housing loans through a subsidiary called Berar Housing Finance. In 1998, the Company received a license for accepting public deposits from the RBI, thereby becoming a registered deposit-taking NBFC. In 2000, the Company adopted two-wheeler (2W) financing as its main product, given the large market opportunity. It initially focused on 2W financing in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. In 2002, the housing finance arm was merged with the Company as it focused on 2W financing. In 2008, I joined the Company as Executive Director. From 2009, BFL started expanding into adjoining geographies and opened its first branch outside Maharashtra in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh. Since then, we have expanded our network extensively and currentlyhave85branches spreadacross six states - Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat. The Company has a total loan book of ` 7,000 mn (~7x growth since 2014) with ~1,600 employees. It has a total base of 200,000 live customers having served close to 500,000 customers since inception. We have diversified our products and currently offer 2W Refinance, Used Car Loans and Personal Loans, though 2W financing continues to remain our primary product. In 2020, the Company raised its first institutional equity fund from Amicus Capital, a private equity fund, to support its future growth plans. How has the pandemic situation impacted the vehicle financing business in general? How has the company dealt with the situation? The pandemic provided an impetus to the sale of two wheelers, with customers preferring personal vehicles over public transport. This was evident with the industry recording very strong volumes during the festive season between September–December 2020, with market leaders like Hero Moto Corp selling ~1.4 mn units in October–November 2020 (its highest ever volumes) and Honda selling ~1mn units during the same period. Our Company benefited from this trend as well, recording our highest ever disbursement during this period. In fact, our loan book grew by ~40% during the 9-month period ended December 2020. Moreover, our focus on rural and semi- urban locations, which were relatively less impacted by the pandemic, ensured limited disruption and a quick recovery of operations. BFL has adapted to the emerging situation through various strategic and tactical initiatives including more stringent sanction criteria, focus on collections including offeringmultiple digital payment options to customers and higher customer interaction. What is the company’s outlook for the next 3-5 years? The 2W financing market in India is estimated at ` 75,000 crore. This provides a huge opportunity for BFL, as we aim to become one of the largest 2W financing companies with a pan-India presence focusing on semi-urban and rural areas. We also plan to diversify our product portfolio and enter into other loan products to leverage the large customer base. Sandeep Jawanjal Executive Director Dun & Bradstreet