HDFC: Technological push, past learning helped meet challenges
In the HDFC scheme, clients come first. And so that their home buying journey is not interrupted, we have given them access to our full range of services digitally. We were the first to focus on processing online loans in the Indian housing finance space. Our digital procurement and assessment models have both improved online loan approvals. In addition, to stay in touch with customers and respond to their requests, we have launched “HDFC Customer Connect”, a unique convergence platform. We have also taken the initiative to educate and give confidence to our clients on various digital initiatives to facilitate the home buying process.
In addition, digital services have been made available to lakhs of our depositors via an online filing platform and we have also trained our deposit agents. We have hosted global online real estate exhibitions that have allowed homebuyers around the world to shortlist the properties of their choice without having to physically visit the projects.
At HDFC, the most valuable resource are our people. All successes are the result of their dedication and motivation. We have had no layoffs and there have been no pay cuts. Employee safety remains our priority. We have organized vaccination camps for all of our employees and their immediate family members. Our staff worked out of the office on a rotational basis in accordance with applicable regulations. In some places, we have organized transportation for employees.
To protect our employees, an internal application has been designed to update the health and well-being of all our employees and their families on a daily basis.
Our IT team has played a very important role in ensuring that everyone stays connected wherever they are. We have ensured that there are adequate awareness and training programs for employees on customer privacy and cybersecurity. Taking advantage of technology, many physical training programs have come online. We have ensured that employees are trained in functional and behavioral skills to ensure they maintain the same high standards of service, even when working remotely.
We have ensured that all of our suppliers are also paid on time. We even provided assistance beyond the general supplier relationship. After all, they are not just suppliers to us, but partners.
Be a responsible lender
As part of our CSR activities for Covid-19, we have supported long-term health infrastructure across India by purchasing and distributing high quality intensive care ventilators, providing first-rate health workers line of food and rations and supporting the education of children whose families have been affected by Covid19.
With a strong focus on ESG, we have improved our Environmental and Social (E&S) due diligence for various loans and are working to deepen our footprint in financing more affordable, smarter and green homes. Although the second wave and localized blockages brought new challenges, given the scale-up of our digital platforms, coupled with the learnings of the past year, we were ready to take on existing challenges.
This is evident in the fact that our disbursements for March 2021 were the highest in our history. We remain convinced that the inherent demand for housing is strong and the pandemic has reaffirmed that there can be no greater security in life than a home.
Today, 81% of our borrowers are digitally integrated, which is several times more than in the pre-Covid era. Wet signatures, however, are still mandated to execute documents related to the property. If that were to change by allowing digital signatures, it would facilitate a complete end-to-end digital home buying process. This small step would go a long way in increasing home ownership in the country.