Housing finance major Deutsche Postbank, which had earlier acquired Birla Home Finance, is all set to increase its focus on the self-employed to increase its presence and marketshare. Achim Vogt, managing director of the company, feels that the worst may be over but the ride ahead may not be easy for the industry. Excepts:
How is the business looking now that the worst seems to be behind us?
It is almost back to normal. The last few months have been good. Disbursements in October stood at Rs 154 crore and we are happy with that figure. We have also tightened our lending criteria.
How bad was the situation?
The market had completely collapsed and there were no new takers for home loans.
Business had come to a halt but we used that period to set our home right. We wanted to put in place every system that was required so that we could be ready once the market bounced back. We did not resort to job cuts. No employee on the rolls of the company was asked to leave. However, we did trim our direct sales agents.
You acquired Birla Home Finance in 1999 and ITC Classic Home Finance in 1995. Any plans of other acquisitions?
No. We are not looking at acquiring any other business. We would now concentrate on organic growth. We have recently got our five-year business plan approved and we are targeting a growth of 25 per cent (in disbursement) this fiscal.
Any growth targets for the next fiscal?
We are targeting a 40 per cent growth for the next fiscal. That apart we also expanding our reach by opening new branches. However, we have no plans to go to the tier II cities. We would continue our focus on metros and tier I cities.
Do you see interest rates going up in the near future?
Interest rates have bottomed out. We may see rates firming up. We charge interest rates between 8.75 per cent and 10 per cent depending upon the loan size and tenure.
Have you seen an increase in bad loans?
There has been a marginal increase in the non performing asset level. In March 2009, it was 0.76 per cent and now it is 0.86 per cent. But it is still below the 1 per cent level.