Digital Disruption and Beyond: Lakshminarayanan Duraiswamy Delves into the Future of NBFCs

Lakshminarayanan Duraiswamy

In a comprehensive keynote address by Lakshminarayanan Duraiswamy, Managing Director of Sundaram Home Finance, delved deep into the dynamics of the NBFC sector in India. He highlighted the resilience, challenges, and future prospects of NBFCs, emphasizing their pivotal role in the nation’s credit ecosystem at Elets 14th NBFC100 Tech Summit, which took place on 2nd Aug 2023 in Chennai.

Adding to the reference he mentioned, “NBFCs have displayed notable resilience over the past few decades. They serve as a foundational element in the credit framework of the nation. Despite encountering several challenges in recent years, NBFCs have managed to regain their growth momentum. They hold a pivotal role in the credit delivery mechanism, particularly in bridging the final gap. Examining the performance of most NBFCs in the recent couple of years reveals their stronger positioning across various metrics, encompassing growth, profitability, and asset quality. Moreover, NBFCs have showcased considerable resilience in adeptly handling their balance sheets despite the pressure of narrowing profit margins.”

The Resilient Journey of NBFCs

NBFCs have been a cornerstone of India’s financial landscape for decades. Despite facing a myriad of challenges, these institutions have showcased remarkable resilience:

Historical Perspective: Over the past few decades, NBFCs have weathered numerous storms, from economic downturns to regulatory challenges. Yet, they have consistently bounced back, underlining their importance in the credit ecosystem.

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Growth Trajectory: After facing several adversities, the growth of NBFCs is back on track. Their ability to adapt and innovate has ensured that they remain relevant in a rapidly changing financial landscape.

The Role of NBFCs in Credit Delivery

NBFCs have carved a niche for themselves by providing last-mile connectivity in the credit delivery system:

Performance Metrics: In terms of growth, profitability, and quality, most NBFCs have outperformed their benchmarks over the past couple of years. Their ability to manage balance sheets, even with thinning margins, stands as a testament to their robust operational strategies.

Facing the Goliaths: While banks are essential allies for NBFCs, especially concerning funding, they also represent formidable competition. However, the financial ecosystem in India is vast and diverse enough to accommodate both. As banks expand their footprint, NBFCs continue to find new territories and segments to serve.

Diverse Sectors of Operation

NBFCs operate across various sectors, each presenting its own set of opportunities and challenges:

Housing Finance: This segment is the largest among retail businesses and is witnessing a significant growth spurt. However, with banks aggressively targeting the home finance sector NBFCs face challenges in maintaining their margins. They are now exploring alternative avenues and leveraging technology to cut costs and stay competitive.

Vehicle Finance: Another major segment for NBFCs, vehicle finance, is undergoing a transformation. With banks dominating the new commercial vehicle segment, NBFCs are pivoting towards second-hand vehicle financing and other niches.

The Digital Revolution
The Imperative of Digital Lending: For NBFCs, transitioning to digital lending is not just an option but a necessity. The proliferation of data and platforms like Aadhaar has expedited this digital shift.

Navigating the Digital Landscape:
While the digital realm offers numerous opportunities, it also brings challenges. Evolving regulations and concerns surrounding data privacy are areas NBFCs need to navigate cautiously.

Looking Ahead:
Opportunities and Challenges The future holds promise for NBFCs, but it’s not without its challenges:

Macro Tailwinds:
The broader economic environment is conducive to credit growth, especially for NBFCs. Their diverse portfolios and improving asset quality position them well for the future.

Lessons from the Past:
Duraiswamy emphasized the importance of learning from past mistakes. Issues like governance and unchecked growth can derail the progress of the sector. It’s essential to strike a balance between growth and sustainability.

Lakshminarayanan Duraiswamy’s address was a deep dive into the world of NBFCs, highlighting their journey, challenges, and the road ahead. As the financial landscape continues to evolve, NBFCs, with their adaptability and resilience, are poised to play an even more significant role in India’s economic story.

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