Canindia News

Housing and finance companies gearing up for branch ‘re-entry’

Chennai, April 17 (IANS) Housing and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) companies are now chalking out ‘re-entry’ strategies for their staff into their branches with the central government allowing them to operate, said industry players.

The industry had earlier asked the government to allow them to operate so that the loan moratorium for the borrowers could be worked out.

On Thursday, the central government permitted NBFCs, housing and micro-finance companies to restart operations with bare minimum staff.

“We are working out the plan. There will be not more than five employees in a single office and social distancing will be maintained. There will be temperature scanners and no major customer walk-ins,” Alok Aggarwal, Managing Director, National Trust Housing Finance Limited, told IANS.

Aggarwal said only employees with own transport will be allowed to come to office and that too will on a voluntary basis.

Pointing out that local government guidelines have to be followed though the directive was issued by the central government, T.T. Srinivasaraghavan, Managing Director, said that the branches outside the red zone — areas classified based on the number of people affected by coronavirus — can re-open.

“The contact with the customers will be restricted,” Srinivasaraghavan told IANS.

According to him, there will not be a major impact on the non-performing assets (NPA).

An official of another leading NBFC said the company will be finalising the ‘branch re-entry’ plan by Friday evening and it has to be approved by the Board.

National Trust’s Aggarwal said the opening of branches will be gradual and those in areas classified as ‘red zone’ will remain closed.

Aggarwal said the company will also try to close its financial accounts.Meanwhile, post lockdown, there will be an increase in demand for housing, a retired senior official of a home financing company said.

“The demand for housing post lockdown will increase as more and more people will prefer owing a house. This is one of the changes that coronavirus crisis has brought in,” Srinivas Acharya, retired Managing Director, Sundaram Home Finance, told IANS.

In the same vein, he added that the employees will have to feel stability in their revenues so as to commit themselves in favour of a house.

He said that well-run housing companies will not be majorly affected because of lower cash flow during the moratorium period.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)

–IANS

vj/tsb

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