Kerala-based NBFC Manappuram Finance has launched online gold loans (OGL), allowing customers with access to Net-enabled devices, to get gold loans anytime and from anywhere.

However, borrowers have to make a visit to the company’s branch to get their gold ornaments appraised for purity and value. They will have to then hand over the gold to the branch for which a receipt will be given.

Manappuram Finance will be responsible for the safe and secure storage of the jewellery, like the locker facility offered by banks.

A credit limit of up to 75 per cent of the market value of the pledged gold ornaments will be sanctioned as OGL, wherein the customers can withdraw the amount using a smartphone, computer or other Internet-enabled devices. The loan proceeds are instantaneously transferred to customers’ bank account.

The customer will also have the liberty to keep the pledged gold with the branches after repayment of the existing loans to get finance later.

According to Sumitha Nandan, Senior Vice-President, OGL is essentially an extension of an existing facility wherein customers can make repayments of interest and principal through online channels.

“Having succeeded with that, we realised we could do a lot more to carve a niche in the fin-tech space. Thus, the idea of a complete online process of gold loans came about,” she told BusinessLine .

Manappuram had first launched OGL with basic access in October last year. The company later decided to spin off OGL into a separate vertical.

After taking over as CEO of OGL, she said her first task was to make the product compatible with the smartphone. A simple, user-friendly Android-based app was launched in March, which has now crossed more than 10,000 downloads. An app based on the IOS platform is also on the cards.

Nandan is now leading a small, focussed team of 10 officials working on the mandate to popularise OGL across the country, as the company expanded its branch network to 3,300 locations.

“Despite minimum publicity and promotional activity, OGL was off to a rousing start. We have now rolled out a 100-day plan targeting a total of one lakh customers and one tonnes of gold by May end,” she adds.

While the enrolment of customers is short of expectations, Nandan said that her team has done well to mobilise more than 500 kg of gold jewellery as collateral with a total outstanding of ₹100 crore.

With customer feedback, she said the company intends to soon roll out an improved version of the Android app as the existing one showed some limitations in its ability to handle volumes.

Manappuram Finance hopes to extend this concept even further with a co-branded debit card that would allow customers to withdraw the amount from an ATM anywhere in the country, she added.