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Watch: How digital lending startups are coping with Covid-19 woes

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is testing the resilience of India’s burgeoning digital lending sector as repayment and credit flow have taken a major hit.

Online lending startups have sought clarity on the moratorium benefits granted by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) even as private sector banks remain undecided on passing on a corresponding relief on their liabilities. It has brought about a severe asset-liability mismatch for several digital lenders.

These lenders, who typically offer personal loans to salaried employees and unsecured loans to small and medium enterprises, have tightened their credit threshold and are tweaking policies to control default rates.

In a conversation with TechCircle, Satyam Kumar, CEO and co-founder of LoanTap, and Sashank Rishyasringa, co-founder and managing director of Capital Float, said the sector is witnessing early signs of revival.

“Initially there was a lot of uncertainty around how the moratorium would play out… I think there are definitely green shoots coming out. There are specific cities, sectors, customer profiles types and product types that are actually starting to see a revival or in some cases, actually doing better than pre-Covid,” Rishyasringa said.

For Capital Float, ecommerce financing, both suppliers and consumers, have been one of the key growth categories since lockdown. Also, a special focus on smaller cities helped the company as they constitute the lowest percentage of loan book under moratorium and highest repayment rates currently.

Rishyasringa said cash flows are returning to decent levels in many sectors including agri, pharma, manpower services, retail and FMCG.

LoanTap’s Kumar said customer acquisition has become much easier as his digital lending peers are less aggressive in the market. LoanTap has been able to keep its credit loss to about 1.2%. Kumar said he doesn’t expect a significant shift in the credit losses.

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