HDFC Bank has been generating headlines now and for all the good reasons as far as customers are concerned. First, the bank has cut its interest rates and secondly, it will now be undertaking a major shift towards localization of its product offerings.
The integration of loan details and other information in local languages is a major step forward for the banking giant at a time when it is steering clear of the slump in the banking sector and moving towards gaining more market share.
Details of the rate cut
HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation) has lowered its rates for home loans by 10 basis points and this has been effective from 15th October, 2019. This will majorly benefit all customers at HDFC and the new rates will hover between 8.25% and 8.65% for salaried borrowers. 90% of customers at the bank are salaried professionals.
Multiple commercial banks in India have already lowered lending rates post the latest reduction of the repo rate/key policy rate by 25 basis points courtesy the RBI (Reserve Bank of India). The repo rate now stands at 5.15%. Several banks have tied their retail loans with floating rates to external benchmarks which covers home loans, loans for MSMEs and automobile loans. This is majorly the repo rate and the decision has been taken post the nudge from the RBI. Home loans at the country’s biggest bank, State Bank of India (SBI), hover between 8.2% and 8.55% for salaried professionals.
Websites localized by HDFC
HDFC has also confirmed that its websites have been localized in not one but 6 Indian languages along with English. This will go a long way towards helping customers get home loan details and other information smoothly in languages they are more comfortable with. The website content will now be available in Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
HDFC has stated that it is the sole corporate in the Indian banking and financial services sector to provide content in 6 languages apart from English. With growing usage of tablets and smartphones and the growing preference for regional language based content, particularly in smaller cities and towns, it is now vital for emphasize on creating content and digital properties which use these local languages as per the bank’s statement. The Managing Director at HDFC Limited, Renu Sud Karnad, has also opined that it is one of the few brands operating in the BFSI segment that have executed language localization technology. She has also opined that this move is in sync with the Digital India mission of the Central Government, enabling customers to access information in their own languages. The websites in local languages will also help increase the market penetration of HDFC Bank across the country.
Other vital information worth knowing
HDFC has already received an award for the best performing lending organization in the EWS (economically weaker sections) and LIG (low income group) categories and got second place in the middle income group (MIG) category. The award was presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In March this year, the bank has received the Best Private Sector Financial Institution at PMAY Empowering India Awards 2019 for PMAY-CLSS.
The new localization drive will enable HDFC to promote the PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana) better to LIG and EWS customers, especially those in tier-II and tier-III cities and also people residing in smaller towns and districts. There will be more languages integrated into the website by HDFC in the future in a bid to draw more regional customers from across India.
HDFC has already disbursed more than Rs. 2,345 crore in subsidies under PMAY-CLSS to 1.1 lakh+ first-time home owners as of May this year. For the quarter concluding on 30th June, 2018, 35% of home loans that were approved were for borrowers in the EWS and LIG segments. This segments accounts for 17% of approved loans in terms of overall value. The bank has been issuing approval for approximately 8,700 loans every month for the LIG and EWS categories and monthly approvals stand at approximately Rs. 1,415 crore on an average. The country has 557 offices throughout India along with offices in Singapore, London and Dubai. It also has service associates operating in Oman, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Saudi Arabia (Jeddah, Al Khobar and Riyadh) and Sharjah for assisting PIOs and NRIs.