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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2002

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GIC Housing Finance sees scope for growth

Vinson Kurian

The company has made an exception in the case of Thiruvananthapuram considering the volume of business that is being generated already and the potential to do much more.


ENCOURAGED by the quality of assets and the largely untapped potential for business in the State, housing finance major GIC Housing Finance (GICHF) has decided to go out of its way to focus on Kerala and upgrade services.

As a first step in this direction, the company has upgraded its Thiruvananthapuram operations to that of an Area Office.In doing so, it was only `too willing' to disregard its own criteria for upgrading existing operations.

Speaking to Business Line, Mr N. Sowmyan, Chief Executive, GICHF, said that the business potential in the State has always been good and continued to be so.

The quality of business is also excellent, he added.

"I have always wanted to concentrate more on Kerala. During the last year, we did a business of Rs 6 crore here and another Rs 7 crore from the other office in Kochi," he said.

"I had told my staff here to target Rs 10 crore for this year. But they have done better already and the target will easily cross Rs 10 crore this year. Kochi is also doing very well.

"Taking this into consideration, we have upgraded Thiruvananthapuram to an Area Office.''

Usually, an Area Office controls a business of a minimum Rs 30 crore.

But the company has made an exception in the case of Thiruvananthapuram considering the volume of business that is being generated already and the potential to do much more.

An Area Manager is vested with both sanctioning and disbursing authority.

Branch offices are not authorised to either sanction or disburse on their own.

They have to look to the Area Office for this.

Previously, Thiruvananthapuram was attached to the Bangalore office.

Naturally, this delayed the movement of papers between the two offices and business was found to have been affected. On the other hand, competition was catching up fast.

"Considering this and the level of service expected from us by clients, the company thought it should do something. The upgradation of office will speed up service delivery."

On the sanctioning and disbursement limits for the new Area Office, he said that the limit was applicable only for sanctioning - which is Rs 10 lakh.

"This will suffice, as only in rare cases has the demand crossed this limit in places like Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. But the disbursement limit is unlimited.

"It can go to any size, even Rs 50 lakh, because disbursement is only a logical conclusion once the sum is sanctioned from higher-ups," he said.

Mr Sowmyan added: "Our main office is in Mumbai. But the Area Manger can issue cheques at par and operate our Mumbai bank account. Previously, the Thiruvananthapuram office could only hope to present the cheque signed by someone in Mumbai. The power and authority vested have further boosted staff morale.''

The company is encouraging healthy competition between the Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi offices and the clients will stand to benefit, according to him.

"Product-wise also, we are very competitive. We offer the lowest rates among housing finance companies,'' he added.

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