Centelon believes in deploying emerging technologies, says CEO Ajit Thomas Stephen

Ajit Stephen

At Centelon technology is at the centre of the heart. Everything that we do is based on emerging tech, be it our Products, Services or Solutions, says Ajit Thomas Stephen, CEO at Centelon, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

Ajit Stephen

  1. Centelon offers cloud-enabled, artificial-intelligence powered digital lending products. This sounds innovative, would you like to explain this to us?

At Centelon technology is at the centre of the heart. Everything that we do is based on emerging tech. Be it our Products, Services or Solutions!

Lending solutions continue to remain on the trajectory of constant evolution and perpetual innovation. In our opinion, the next round of innovation in lending products lies in seamless accessibility, faster credit decisioning, data analytics and automated monitoring.

With this vision, we are harnessing the power of AI to deliver tailored solutions for our partners & customers in their end to end business lending process.

Combining AI with lending, processes is a mixture of using data analytics, self-learning ML models and the power of the configuration. If I have to give an example, for credit analysis which is a time-consuming activity for most lenders – our product Finnate has a combination of an adaptable internal credit scoring model, plus integration with multiple external credit bureaus and monitoring of real-time credit limits.

Our lending product Finnate  is all online on the cloud, hence eliminating the need and cost of hosting and deployment for our partners & clients. It comprises of various modules like

  1. Finnate-Originate, which encompasses lead management, configurable origination comprehensive due diligence, adaptable internal credit scoring model, integration with multiple external credit bureaus, self-learning ML models
  2. Finnate-Limits and Collaterals, which enables tracking and analysis of enterprise-level limits& collateral
  3. Finnate-InvestFact, which allows users to set up flexible loan products, do account management and monitor asset-level performance
  4. Finnate-Monitoring, help users manage multiple loan types while maintaining high operational efficiency and regulatory compliance

In addition, we are proud partners with Salesforce & MS Dynamics who are giants in the CRM space, and we leverage on best of the world’s CRM solutions as a platform.

  1. How do you see the business loan/ Commercial Lending market and its growth in India?

Within the financial landscape in India, the commercial lending market is still the sub-sector which is still behind in the digital journey. For retail, there has been multitudes of innovation like cluster-centred funding, point-of-sale (POS)-based lending, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, invoice-based lending and online microcredit. We see the next wave of digital innovation in the commercial lending space as lenders start deploying collaborative strategies, offering faster sanctions and improving monitoring of the existing portfolio.

Revival in the CAPEX cycle, continuation of reforms by the government and improvement in the general business sentiment are expected to provide further impetus to growth in this sector.

We are also of the view that the next wave of commercial lending market will participate by not only by public banks or private banks but also by investment funds and newer entrants to this market. We are keen to be part of this growth journey and are confident that our products will enable the commercial lending market towards realising their growth potential.

  1. What new technologies have you deployed recently? How will it help the BFSI sector?

Any technology, old or new, should solve an essential business problem or simplify processes. Given their nature of the business, the BFSI sector is always yearning to reduce turn-around time to decisioning and improving compliance.

The obvious solution is by automating manual and repeatable tasks. Hence, we have been working on automated modelling and advanced data analytics.

With automated modelling, we aim to reduce the multitude of excel files maintained for each funding proposal. This helps in maintaining compliance, audit and tracking.

Advanced data analytics leads to better turn-around time, improved insights and better reporting.

  1. What innovations are you planning to streamline the lending needs of the financial institutions further?

As I mentioned earlier, the next wave of lending will be augmented by offerings from new entrants like Alternate Investment funds (AIF). These funds typically have a portfolio thesis and are financially literate on their goals and strategy. However, on the technology side, they still have some distance to travel. We aim to make their digital journey simpler by providing a platform to manage their business.

This platform will be a one-stop place where they can offer funding through multiple assess classes including complex structures like mezzanine, CCDs and other hybrid structures.

For portfolio supervision, we have a detailed monitoring module which will enable trend analysis, call out red flags, comparison with original business plan etc. All of this is with an aim of letting the fund manager focus more on business and less on operations.

For financial institutions like banks and NBFCs, we will continue to make enhancements to our core product to keep it ahead of the technology curve.

  1. What is your vision for 2020?

The diversified Indian financial sector is rapidly expanding with the rise in skilled employment, demand for innovative financial products and forecast of high GDP growth. This has driven rising need for innovation in traditional banking methods, and related products and services. Even though traditional banks still hold the largest market share for business funding, alternative lending& investment has matured with increasing demand from credit-neglected borrowers.

For us here at Centelon, we would maintain our focus is on developing solutions to solve complex business problems. The emphasis will remain on simplification through intelligent and intuitive solutions.

From a business strategy perspective, we have clear goals like:

o Make our financial lending product Finnate suite a common name in the NBFC & AIF segment.

o Marketing and branding of our lending product Finnate to the intended audience and segment.

o  Constant evolution of our self-learning machine learning models

o Caterto other sectors in India as well like Education, NGO’s, Charitable institutions, Energy, Utilities.

o Leverage on the benefits of digitalization, being agile, innovative and scalable to contribute towards our customers growth journey!

o  Last and not least, remain a profitable and debt-free company.

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