Breaking News

Shubham Housing to tap AI/ML for advanced analytics

Shubham Housing is leveraging cloud technology to help build happy homes. India has made great progress in digitalization of the financial services system with largest population segment ever under the banking system in the country today.

Still, there lies a significant share of population that is underserved when it comes to formal credit access including housing loans. Shubham Housing Development Finance Co. Ltd is catering to this segment through providing formal housing finance solutions to those having informal incomes.

Shubham Housing decided to partner with Oracle to leverage Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. They have recently shifted their workloads to OCI to optimize their cost of operations as well as enhance overall performance and ensure scalability to address future growth.

Here, Abhinav Arya, CIO, Shubham Housing, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

DQ: Can you share with us trends to watch in the NBFC space?

Abhinav Arya: Consumers’ mobile-first attitude is compelling NBFCs to develop mobile-first business models and processes to strengthen engagement. With affordable smartphones and unlimited data plans at low prices, most users are now mobile. In fact, 90 percent of our new website visitors reach us via the mobile medium.

Those organisations that build adaptive platforms and intuitive omni-channel experience processes to engage consumers instantaneously, will see sustained success in the long run. Also, consumers prefer to evaluate and even apply for loans online. So, NBFCs are designingautomated digital lending journeys with no/minimal offline processes. It’s just a matter of time when we will be seeing NBFCs starting tocompete with FinTech firms in this domain.

Another trend we are observing is the ensuing digitalization of the mortgage ecosystem in our country. The influx of modern technologies, coupled with the Government’s push for acceleratingdigitalization across the board, are disrupting the way NBFCs operate. Take property documents for instance, which is now going digital,with unique property ID allocation tagged to exact geo coordinates.

DQ: How are NBFCs advancing universal financial access in our country?

Abhinav Arya: The contribution of NBFCs in driving inclusive growth is very significant, especially in a country like India. A sizable majority of people residing in rural areas today have access to financial services due to NBFCs. This segment also includes people working in informal sectors.

Owing to NBFCs’ deep relationshipswith customers, good insights on regional market dynamics, proven recovery processes and customized services, we are seeing even non-salaried professionals, individuals, and traders brought into the ambit of the formal lending system.

NBFCs are also one of the key employment generation sectors in India, given the quantum of economic activity they drive pan India.

DQ: How has Shubham’s success journey been in the housing finance space?

Abhinav Arya: We were one of the first-few entrants in theaffordable housing space. The early mover advantage certainly helped us, as we were able to develop a deeper understanding of the market. From day one, we have worked very hard to realize our vision – of driving financial inclusion and bringing those employed in the informal income segment into the ambit of the formal, mainstream economy – and help transform their quality of life.

Our business model is very robust. As a company, we have always had a strong focus on modern technology led innovation and operational excellence. We were one of the first companies in India to migrate from traditional, document-based underwriting, to offercustomized credit programs for our customers. We continue to grow our loan portfolio, adding new initiatives as we go along with regular frequency.

DQ: How did you deal with the challenges brought about by the pandemic last year?

Abhinav Arya: Our strong technology foundation and the collective resolve of all our employees helped us tide over the challenges of last year. We strengthened our BCP strategy to make it more agile, and with minimal adjustments, we had all employees set up for seamless remote working fairly quick.

We viewed the situation as an opportunity to introspect and see how we could enhance business resilience. We introduced some new, innovative services, including a mobile helpdesk, a video conferencing based personal discussion appand a WhatsApp based engagement/service channel, to name a few.

It’s also important to have the right technology partnerships when such unforeseen situations come up. Our strategic partnership with Oracle has played a key part in helping us continue running our business smoothly, resulting in minimal disruption to our customers.

We moved our core lending system ‘Finnone Neo’ by Nucleus Software, to Oracle’s secure, second generation cloud infrastructure. By moving to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, we realized 2x improvement in application performance plus 25% additional cost savings vis-à-vis our previous cloud provider. This has helped us improve business agility and enhance customer focused innovation initiatives.

DQ: What are your growth plans? How do you see technologyinnovations contributing to business growth?

Abhinav Arya: The next steps in our digital journey will focus on salesfocused mobility solutions to customerfocused servicing channelsspanning mobile apps, social media channels, such as WhatsApp, to deliver a wholesome omni-channel experience to internal and external customers.

As part of this process, we are extending our cloud journey from cloud infrastructure to middleware systems. This can support easy interoperability and multimodal interactions seamlessly with the core systems. In collaboration with the Oracle team, we are on track totransform our application experience for all stakeholders.

We will look to tap AI/ML for advanced analytics in the coming months to speed up the insights to decisions cycle, helping us assesscustomer sentiment and preferences better, so we can personalize our services even better. There’s also a plan to set up a cloud based data.

Further, we intend to tap FinTech APIs like face match, Video KYC, e-sign technologies and assimilate these into our onboarding process.