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2-min read

Budget 2019 Likely to Focus on Traders, Housing Sector to Boost Credit Growth

Currently, NBFCs and HFCs account for about a quarter of the total systemic credit, while their exposure to MSMEs and other retail segments account for more than half of their total credit outstanding.

News18.com

Updated:February 1, 2019, 9:54 AM IST
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Budget 2019 Likely to Focus on Traders, Housing Sector to Boost Credit Growth
(Representative image/Reuters)
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New Delhi: Given the union government’s focus on alleviating stress faced by the micro and small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and on furthering its other initiatives, including the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban and Rural), allocation towards the above to be one of the key focus areas in the upcoming interim budget is expected.

Non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and housing finance companies (HFCs) with niche positioning, differentiated product offering, good market knowledge and better customer understanding play a crucial role in the overall credit growth and outreach in the country.

Currently, NBFCs and HFCs account for about a quarter of the total systemic credit, while their exposure to MSMEs and other retail segments account for more than half of their total credit outstanding.

The current tight liquidity situation, coupled with the averseness of investors and lenders towards NBFCs and HFCs, is exerting pressure on their growth and liquidity profile.

Recommendations that will support a steady and seamless flow of credit to NBFCs/HFCs is expected. These may include a priority sector tag for bank credit to NBFCs based on their on-lending, relaxation in securitisation norms to make high-yielding NBFC/HFC loans eligible for sale, and relaxation in risk weights for capital allocation by banks on their exposures to NBFCs/HFCs.

Moreover, in additional refinance support to NBFCs/HFCs, considering the current limitation in fund availability, is expected. Increased allocations under the rural infrastructure development fund (RIDF) and Affordable Housing Fund are also expected, which should improve refinance to NBFCs/HFCs.

For the actual implementation of any such measures, the Government would need to have the regulators, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and National Housing Bank (NHB), on the same page.

With entities looking to diversify their funding profile and focus on retail sources, some relaxation in conditions for the public issue of debentures and suggestions to the RBI/NHB for increasing the issuance of deposit-taking licences to NBFCs/HFCs may be a possibility.

Mutual funds (MFs) are an important funding source for the corporate sector including NBFCs/HFCs. Thus, the maintenance of liquidity and availability of contingent funding, considering the developments in recent months, will be crucial from a systemic perspective.

As MFs largely deal with corporate debt, access to the corporate debt repo market or any other refinance route would improve their liquidity, thereby reducing the impact of any unforeseen shocks on the borrowers. Debt-oriented MF schemes have a sectoral exposure limit of 25 percent, and an additional exposure not exceeding 15 percent (over and above the limit of 25 percent) in the financial services sector is available only to HFCs.

Any changes in the income tax slabs for the tax-paying middle class or in the deduction limit under Section 80C, in view of the impending general elections in April/May 2019, would have a bearing on the disposable income. This would impact the near-to-medium-term retail credit demand and would thus remain a key monitorable.

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