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India’s growth as an economic power in Asia has been consistent in the past one decade. In addition to the contribution of larger corporations and the multinational companies that have forayed here, this economic growth is significantly supported by the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – a highly resilient and innovative sector that employees more than half of the Indian population.
The SME sector of India holds a huge potential for growth. However, the only challenge that could thwart their evolution is the lack of timely and adequate capital. A majority of the organisations in this sector operate as small entities that may lack the detailed documents or collateral required to procure loans from banks. Some of them are simply reluctant to offer their financial assets as security for the fear of losing them.
Given this lack of funds, small businesses face problems in meeting their operating expenses and are constrained from expanding their operations. Other problems include making payments on debt (owed to any other source of finance) and buying supplies to fulfil their contracts.
A solution against such inadequacies has emerged in the form of FinTech companies that focus on financing small and medium enterprises.
The FinTech revolution has been facilitated by digital technology wherein funds are instantly provided to eligible SMEs after the evaluation of certain documents submitted online by them. As a pioneer in Fintech lending, Capital Float has a 10-minute online application processing system, followed by a three-day disbursal TAT.
The ease of borrowing from online lenders has also raised a question – are these companies a threat to the conventional lending setup established by banks?
Contrary to what is usually perceived, FinTech companies have proved to be active partners for banks and are helping them disburse more loans. They have assisted banks in identifying good customers faster and in disbursing quick credit.
Thanks to the robust growth of the economy in the last few years and the positive outlook for the manufacturing and services sectors, there is sufficient room for growth for both traditional and new age lending institutions.
Although their functioning may differ, lending decisions for both have to be guided by a good knowledge of the customer’s ability to repay the loan. Banks typically lend to individuals or businesses that have high regular income and/or the willingness to offer collateral as security. The collateral must be a financial asset that can be liquidated in case the borrower is unable to pay back. Banks refer to income tax returns, credit bureau scores and operational history of the concerned applicant.
In comparison, and driven by their intent to know their customers better, peer-to-peer lending companies employ non-conventional data sources for underwriting loans to individuals. As these companies are in the private sector, they are not fraught by a levy of formal regulations in evaluating clients for funds. They use multiple data points, including information extracted from new age technology such as big data analytics, to assess creditworthiness. In addition, they offer unsecured loans that do not require applicants to pledge any of their assets. These companies use a streamlined underwriting process along with risk management. Their work is characterised by extensive use of sophisticated technology and lower operating costs.
As the business of FinTech lending grows, banks also acknowledge that their customers today are technology savvy, and they are looking at ways where collaborations with online lenders can help them serve their own customers better. Because of their success in the credit market, FinTech companies have proved that this can be done without operational or regulatory risk to the lender.
Since 2015, the digital lending industry has undergone significant changes, and chief among these is the shift towards a cashless system. The promotion of cashless technologies – digital wallets, Internet banking and mobile-based point of sale – has reshaped the financial sector. Later, demonetisation became a major factor that popularized the concept of online lending.
As a positive development, banks are now looking at online lenders as partners instead of as competitors in the market. Some banks have made arrangements where they, in return for a small fee, refer customers to p2p lending platforms that provide unsecured loans that not offered by banks. Through such a program, they facilitate loans for businesses that deserve to get funds but cannot procure them from banks due to long-established, inflexible rules.
Some banks are part of programs that let them use a FinTech organisation’s technology to provide small business loans. These loans are retained on the bank’s own books, but the FinTech company’s platform is used to approve and service them. The banks see this as an opportunity to offer a product they generally do not have on their portfolio but (by seeking the support of a peer-to-peer lender), it helps them retain precious client relationships.
Banks have large balance sheets that they can use to provide loans and cater to promising start-ups and SMEs with a consistent growth rate. However, their conventional underwriting practices have deterred them from promoting some SME segments. Conversely, the government has now highlighted SME as a priority sector in the economic development of India. Therefore, the banks have to meet their new business lending targets without incurring huge costs.
The credit gap in the market can be closed with a fruitful relationship between banks and peer-to-peer lending companies. Capital Float has custom-made loan products and fine-tuned technology to help banks achieve their goals. It can help them reach out to businesses in need, and banks can then use their financial strength to service them.
New age financial technology has transformed the way consumers, and businesses, borrow and spend money. The aim of FinTech lending is to enhance the convenience of financial services and bridge the gap between demand and supply of small business loans. To help their customers, banks can effectively work alongside peer-to-peer lenders instead of competing with them.
Oct 24, 2018
In the past ten years, India has seen a growth in the number of start-ups coming forward to offer customised solutions in the fields of education, hospitality, travel, transport, healthcare, entertainment, marketing, e-commerce, waste management and consulting. Most of them, however, start with modest funds. They also deal with the challenges of validating their R&D, finding profitable markets and managing office administration costs and overheads.
It is also a common for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the service segment to experience their initial expenses being higher than their revenue.
Another problem encountered frequently is that while a business may be prompt at paying the bills raised by its suppliers and utility companies, it may not have customers who pay on time. Even though Accounts Receivable is an asset for any organisation, it gets converted into cash only at a later date. How then should such a business fund its current expenses and keep fuelling its operations? The answer lies in an SME loan, which is the best resort at this point.
Taking an SME or MSME loan is also a wise decision for an enterprise that has planned its next step towards growth or wants to invest some funds immediately in utilising a new business opportunity.
What kinds of loans are available in the market?
The service industry has numerous sub-domains, and a business loan for service company are provided by banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs).
The potent ability of digital NBFCs to offer unsecured business loans have made them a competitive source of finance for micro, small and medium enterprises. With a lending model facilitated by digital technology, these companies are also known as FinTechs, and they offer bespoke credit products for organisations providing professional solutions.
Your business loan for service company could be a working capital loan, invoice finance, credit for expanding the business or any other tailored loan for professional services.
A Working capital loan is usually taken to fund the daily operations and cover expenses such as wages, purchase of equipment or to manage entries on accounts payable. These are short-term loans that help businesses to stay focused on their growth.
Similar to a merchant cash advance, invoice finance is another popular SME loan where the lender advances money against the unpaid account receivables of the borrowing business. If you have raised bills to some of your clients, and they are yet to be paid, you can use the same to get a loan from a FinTech company.
Loans can also be used for business expansion and opening new branch offices or shops. Doctors who wish to start more prominent clinics, retailers who want to add more shelves in their shop or to purchase the adjoining premises to expand, and other entities that seek a business loan for service company growth can approach a FinTech lender for quick funds.
Can these NBFCs provide adequate amounts to suit your requirements?
A loan application requires you to state the purpose of the funds. It is good to have a precise idea of the amount to fulfil such business needs, and for this, you should check the exact market costs of the assets that you plan to buy with the borrowed amount.
As an example, if you are taking a working capital loan to buy motorcycles to facilitate the courier delivery services offered by your company, find the price of these vehicles and enter the same amount in your loan application. While there are no rules against requesting a more substantial sum, it is good not to go overboard. This prudence will help you in avoiding higher EMIs.
The amount that you can get on business loan for service company may range from a few lakh rupees to almost a crore. With such a broad scope for funds, the requirements of most SMEs are conveniently met.
How to apply for a business loan: The Process in General
To avail credit from conventional sources, you generally have to visit the lender’s office at least once and discuss the complete procedure. You may be asked to submit multiple photocopies of ID proofs and business financial health documents.
An MSME loan from the digitally operating FinTech company, however, is availed on much easier terms.
While the eligibility criterion differs from loan to loan, it is accommodating enough to include a high number of businesses. FinTechs only need to be sure of the repaying abilities of their borrowers, for which they ask for at least one year of successful operational history.
Owners of any Pvt Ltd, Prop, or LLP (limited liability partnership) company can check their eligibility and apply for their business loan online. They merely need to visit the website of the FinTech lender and fill in the application digitally. Remember that the portal of a genuine lender will be encrypted with a valid security certificate, and the URL will start with an ‘https’ prefix.
Since it is a digitized process, the upload of soft copies of documents is enough to verify the authenticity and eligibility of business for the funds. Among other things, the latest copy of tax returns may also be required.
It does not take long to know the status of your application. You will learn of the lender’s decision in minutes, and for every approved loan application, the amount is disbursed in 2-3 working days. It is deposited directly in the business bank account.
Loan costs and repayment
FinTech loans are offered without hidden overhead charges such as legal fee, loan insurance premium, documentation charge, commitment fee and other miscellaneous dues.
This implies that you only pay interest and a nominal loan processing fee along with the principal in your EMIs. Additionally, the terms of repayment are flexible, and instalments can be varied as per your business earnings.
While availing of a loan to solving cash crunch, SMEs can finance their business strategies without hypothecating any valuable asset to a lender.
Capital Float has adopted a digitally refined lending framework to enable the growing number of SMEs in India to easily procure the funds they need for their ambitious plans. As an online platform offering funds for various business requirements, we have trimmed the formal loan issuing process to make it stress-free and quick for businesses.
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To get more information on loans for specific business types, please visit our website or call us at 1860 419 0999.
Oct 24, 2018
Since his appointment last year, Raghuram Rajan has been making the headlines for all the right reasons. But beyond his interventions in currency markets and the macroeconomy, a steady stream of pronouncements from the RBI Governor on potential priority sector reforms should give the SME sector in India much to cheer about.
In his inaugural address, Rajan specifically highlighted the importance of SME finance in spurring growth across the broader economy:
As the central bank of a developing country, we have additional tools to generate growth – we can accelerate financial development and inclusion. Rural areas, especially our villages, as well as small and medium industries across the country, have been important engines of growth even as large company growth has slowed…
He went on to endorse receivables financing as a key policy tool to unlock timely credit to SMEs and address the massive working capital gap in the sector today:
For small and medium firms, we intend to facilitate Electronic Bill Factoring Exchanges, whereby MSME bills against large companies can be accepted electronically and auctioned so that MSMEs are paid promptly. This was a proposal in the report of my Committee on Financial Sector reforms in 2008, and I intend to see it carried out.
On a cautionary note, it is worth noting that this is not the first formal RBI pronouncement in recent times advocating factoring or receivables-based financing as a financial inclusion tool for the SME sector. In fact, the RBI has signaled a steady commitment in recent times to SME credit growth, but its policy directives have frequently not translated into real priorities for public and private sector banks operating on the ground.
In 2013, IFMR reported that 16 out of 26 public sector banks had failed to meet their priority-sector lending (PSL) targets. Half the private sector banks also did not reach their targets, bringing the total shortfall in priority-sector lending in 2013 to USD 28 billion.
Despite these hiccups, Mr. Rajan’s strong words and visible proactivity since coming into office suggest that the RBI may embarking on a fresh chapter of promoting innovation to further financial inclusion for priority sectors. If recent sentiment across capital markets is any indication to go by, the consensus is that this Governor means business. This is good news for innovators trying to bring new and disruptive business models to sectors that have traditionally been starved for credit. But for entrepreneurs in these sectors, it could mean something more transformative – unprecedented access to an entirely new set of institutions, tools, and financial products more finely attuned to serving their business requirements and financing needs.
(Image credit: Business Today Aug 12, 2013)
Oct 24, 2018