Aspire Home Finance Corporation (AHFCL), a subsidiary of Motilal Oswal Financial Services (MOFSL), has its strategy aligned with the government’s initiative of “Housing for All”. The company works on the business philosophy of financial inclusion of Lower and Middle Income (LMI) Indian families by providing them access to long-term housing finance.
AHFCL has serviced more than 60,000 Indian families and has a presence in 125 locations across nine states. It employs more than 1,200 people.
Technology has been a key enabler for Aspire in providing consistent services that exceed the expectations of its large client base.
The robust IT team, headed by Tahir Shah, Vice President – Business IT, Aspire Home Finance Corporation, has helped the company secure and strengthen its operations and scale up the business.
Excerpts from interaction with Tahir Shah:
Q: What opportunities do you foresee in using AI for better business deals In India’s home loan market?
Shah: In today’s world, every business is focused on achieving efficiency, speed and accuracy in terms of offering services to customers. Artificial Intelligence (AI) helps attain these parameters. The financial services industry has seen a great impact of AI including the home loan business segment. There is a plethora of opportunities in store for the home loan business in near future leveraging AI.
AI is critical in providing better, faster and efficient customer services in today’s highly competitive home loan segment. AI plays a significant role here. The technology helps in developing an understanding of the customer before disbursing a loan.
Another area where automation technologies make a huge difference today is cybersecurity. Machine learning, for instance, has been extensively leveraged today in preventing fraudulent financial transactions.
AI also provides us with insights in reaching out to the right customer at the right time. That’s one critical element for business growth today.
Q: How have you adopted this technology at Aspire?
Shah: Motilal Oswal Financial Services has always been a pioneer in terms of adopting new age digital technologies that would provide better customer service and operational efficiency. AI is definitely a key focus area for us at Aspire. Some of our recent AI initiatives have been primarily around chatbots and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
The ‘intelligent chatbot’ that we deployed helps us greatly in resolving customer queries in a quick and effective manner, which provides a good customer experience in terms of addressing queries quickly and accurately.
As one of the first users of RPA in the home loan segment, we have witnessed a significant increase in operational efficiency. We have automated banking tasks by using intelligent software robots so that customers can receive reports and updates as soon as possible rather than waiting for hours.
Q: Can you throw more light on the integration challenges around AI technologies? How did you prepare the legacy environment for the new technology?
Shah: There were a few challenges to overcome before we could successfully implement AI-based solutions.
One of the major challenges was to make a few modifications in the core business applications so that the integration with new technology would be smooth. The integration challenges were mostly due to external factors. We applied our expertise and domain knowledge to handle it. We are in the constant zest to search for better technology which can result in RoI and due to that legacy systems are not much of a problem for us.
Q: Typically, a new technology might result in replacing some of the old applications or infrastructure, which is a big cost factor. How was this addressed?
Shah: We have a systematic evaluation process in place with a 360-degree approach for assessment of any new technology. We have a dedicated technology research team which explicitly works on the identification of new technologies. The journey of transition from old to new is very systematic and we ensure appropriate RoI in such transitions very carefully.
Q: What are the RoIs on automation/AI technologies, which are perceived to be expensive?
Shah: As mentioned, we have a technology research team which carefully evaluates the technology such as its RoI and its longevity. The niche technologies are selected based on multiple criteria and cost is not the only factor aligned with it.