Commenting on the collection trends, Mr. P N Vasudevan, Managing Director and CEO of Equitas Small Finance Bank said: In view of the lockdowns in different parts of the country, normal commercial life has been disrupted. Our customers who are majorly small traders and business people engaged in daily use products were unable to open their shop and their livelihood has been accordingly impacted. Our conscious plan to grow the unsecured microfinance book at a slower pace compared to the rest, has helped mitigate the overall credit cost impact on the bank.”
As of March 31, 2021, the unsecured micro finance advances were 18% while the remaining 81% were secured loans. The least impacted product which is Small Business Loans secured by house property, constitutes 45% of the total advances. Last year we had seen as much as 90% by number of clients and 98% by value avail moratorium in April ’20 but post September ’20, we had seen a strong pick up in collection efficiency and ended the year with March ’21 at pre-covid level collection efficiencies.
As and when the severity of Wave 2 recedes from the country and life comes back to normal, our customers are expected to bounce back quickly, since they deal largely in daily use products and services. We are beginning to see some relaxations in the lockdowns in June and hope that 2nd quarter would be largely back to normal.
We will be studying the impact of stress created by wave 2 on our customers and any possible restructuring they may require to help revive their livelihood. As a country we need to guard against a possible 3rd wave of the pandemic. While wearing masks and maintaining distance is important, large scale vaccinations is currently believed to be the only long term tool available to us to protect ourselves against any such future waves. We, at Equitas have been doing our significant bit towards working with various State and local Governments in mass mobilising people for vaccination camps across the country. We have so far helped organise 656 vaccination camps across the country and helped vaccinate around 42,800 people who are all from the low-income segments.