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MUMBAI : Riya Bhattacharya, CEO, Navi Finserv, speaks to Mint about the company's expansion plans in the lending segment. Edited excerpts:

Q. Could you tell us a bit about Navi’s lending business?

We believe financial services present a very large opportunity and there is a huge need to offer the right kind of customer experience for the digitally-savvy, middle income, aspirant Indian. Lending is quite underpenetrated in India and there is a lot of scope to offer products on the back of technology with lower costs and better ability to underwrite loans.

Last year, we launched our completely digital personal loan offering via our lending app, and we built the entire technology stack in-house. So, right from the onboarding of customers, to underwriting, accounting, collections and communications thereafter - we have one view of the customer, and it is not broken down into pieces. As a result, our business model is highly scalable and greater control on technology helps us keep the customer experience very simple. This is our front-end. On the back-end, we make extensive use of machine-learning and data analytics capabilities which help us go beyond the traditional approach to lending and offer what is right for the customers.

We also launched home loans this year where customers can seek in-principle approval on the mobile app with minimum steps. We continue to expand this offering geographically and expect to be in the key cities in India by the end of this year.

Q. So how long has it been?

We launched personal loans in May last year, and we launched home loans this year in January.

Q. How big is the loan book currently?

Our current disbursal run rates are close to Rs1,500 crore. We expect this to grow three times by the end of this year. We’re confident that we can achieve more than Rs15,000 crore in personal loans in the next 2 years, which could put us in the top 2 NBFCs in the country. We continue to experiment to determine what is right for our customers with a strong focus on risk and best practices at the same time.

Q. Among the trends that have gained traction are Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) – so, is that something you all are willing to explore later?

All our decisions are driven based on the needs of the customers. If our customers ask for an offering which presents a meaningful market opportunity, we go after it. Yes, we are evaluating BNPL and will explore it when the time is right.

Q. What would be the average ticket size?

A core need that we have seen with most of our customers is higher ticket size loans. While access to smaller ticket size loans has gained traction, customers need access to higher ticket size loans in line with their growing aspirations. Hence, now our focus is on larger ticket size loans. We currently offer loans up to 5 lakh and will take this up to 20 lakh by the end of the quarter.

Q. Another trend that has gained traction is P2P lending and borrowing. Are there any chances that you will be looking in that direction?

As an NBFC, we remain financially well-funded with a healthy mix of debt from banks and financial institutions and our own substantial equity, and hence, we are very comfortable to lend from our own books. So P2P lending is not something we are exploring currently.

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