The government announced a new scheme for small and medium business owners as a festive gift, ‘business loans / MSME loans within 59 minutes. The announcement had the business world buzzing with excitement as the scheme promises business loans up to `1 Crore. However, little else was clear about the due process to be followed for getting these quick business loans. In this post, we analyze the feasibility of the latest scheme and the hurdles one might face during the loan approval process. Furthermore, we will also have a look at other government initiatives for funding MSMEs and startups, and compare their performance to NBFC loans in India.
The loan being offered under the government scheme is mainly a working capital loan of 10 lakh up to 1 Crore. The minimum business loan rate of interest offered is 8% but it may vary based on the applicant’s credit score, business activities and other factors that determine the financial health of an MSME. There are no collateral requirements for this loan, hence making it an unsecured business loan – similar to the working capital loans offered by NBFCs like Lendingkart. Processing fees and charges are pegged at 1000 plus applicable taxes for borrowers who are accepted for lending.
Now, coming to the main highlight of the ‘59 Minutes Loan’ scheme. Participating banks offering products under the scheme are required to provide approval in principle to the borrowers whose proposal matches their product. While this approval will be given within 59 minutes, the actual disbursal of the loan will still take 7-8 working days.
The application starts with a ‘new user’ registration on the official website, https://www.psbloansin59minutes.com/home.
The thing to note here is that the ‘59 Minute Loan’ scheme is not the first initiative by the current government to ease business finance. A similar fast track business loan scheme called the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna (PMMY) is already in place. The PMMY is also backed by the public sector banks and offers loans up to ₹ 10 lakh to MSMEs and startups. However, a closer analysis of the scheme reveals some major bottlenecks and drawbacks of government-run financial schemes for small businesses in India.
For example, since the Mudra program was started in 2015-2016, a whopping 4.68 lakh crore have been disbursed to 9.9 crore loan applicants. While the sum of loans given is impressive, simple math tells us that the average amount per application is just 47,249. So, the question that needs asking is, can anyone setup a successful enterprise with less than 50,000?
While someone may be able to setup a shop or similar retail business for that amount, keeping it up and running is not possible without some minimum working capital expenditure. Thus, the amount of money offered under the Mudra program is not sufficient for startups and MSME funding at all.
Moreover, the CBI is already investigating a senior Punjab National Bank Official for fraud after his PNB branch approved ₹ 62 lakh in lieu of 26 loan applications under the Mudra program. The charges as quoted in the CBI complaint are “without conducting meaningful pre-inspection or physical verification of spot of business or residence and without ascertaining end use of the loan amount or creation of assets from the loan amount”.
Now, isn’t that the Mudra program? The PMMY was meant for offering quick business loans without collateral requirements and stringent check and balances. Which in turn makes the ‘59 Minutes Loan’ scheme susceptible to unforeseen hindrances. Since the new scheme offers unsecured business loans up to 1 crore, bank officials are going to be even more cautious in scrutinizing loan applications. Also, similar to the Mudra scheme which was a refinancing scheme, for which the funds were provided by banks, NBFCs and MFIs under pressure from the government, the new scheme also adds the burden of funding loans on public sector banks (PSBs). Thus, given the NPA crisis faced by almost all PSBs, the 7-8 days loan disbursal policy also seems a little far-fetched right now.
The concept of fast business loans is not a new one and the latest government scheme is just an extension of same-day loan approvals being given by NBFCs like Lendingkart, albeit with some sugar-coating. Some of the features being touted by the new loan scheme, such as online portal for loan application and digital submission and verification of documents, are already in use by NBFCs like Lendingkart. Moreover, the simplicity and steps involved in loan application process are also fewer for NBFC business loans.
Here are some of the key differences between the ‘59 Minutes Loan’ scheme and NBFC business loans.
|Particulars||NBFC Loans||59 Minutes Loan||Difference|
|Time for Approval||Same Day Approvals||Within 59 Minutes||Same concept|
|Time for Disbursal||Within 3 Days||8-10 Days||NBFC loans are faster by almost a week|
|Loan Amount||50,000 to 1 Crore||10 Lakhs to 1 Crore||NBFC loans have a wider window that increases the possibility of getting a business loan|
|Documentation||Minimal Documentation||Personal, Educational and Financial documentation required||NBFC business loans are easier to get|
|Process||FinTech process||Bureaucratic process||NBFCs use IoT technologies to minimise delays in loan disbursals|
|Funding||Self-funded||Available from selected public sector banks||NBFCs have ready cash available for disbursals whereas PSBs are already burdened by an NPA crisis|
|Flexible EMIs||Yes||As per bank rules||NBFC loans come with bi-weekly and monthly EMI options for faster and easier repayment|
|Prepayment Policy||No Charges||As per bank rules||NBFC loans offer hassle-free early repayment in full|
|Auto-renewal||Available||Not available||NBFC business loans offer better revolving credit facility than bank loans|
In its current form, the new scheme by government is a tough sell once you go beyond the face value. Here are some of the things which an NBFC business loan still does better than the ‘59 Minutes Loan’ scheme.
While we should laud the government’s efforts to make India more business-friendly, only time and numbers will tell the real story here. The political detractors of the government were quick to point out that the new MSME finance scheme has all the trappings of a same-day approval loan and that it is merely a pre-poll sop. Even several bankers have questioned the feasibility of the ‘approval within 59 minutes’ approach as the public sector banks which are expected to shoulder the burden are still reeling from a bad loan crisis and the shadow effects of demonetization. The most concerning part of the scheme remain the actual turnaround time for the business loan. The disbursal time of 7-8 working days can easily stretch up to 8-12 days when you count weekend holidays and public holidays. So, in reality, getting a business loan from the bank will still remain a cumbersome task.
On the other hand, NBFCs are offering a wider range of loan options and complementary products and services like auto-renewals and zero penalty pre-closures, which are hard to ignore. Add to that the possibility of getting a business loan within 72 hours and the government’s proposal loses some of its sheen. So, when compared head on, NBFCs like Lendingkart are still offering better value to their customers until the time the government scheme matures.
So, in the end, answering the question ‘is it really possible to get a business loan within 59 minutes?’. Unfortunately, the answer is no. You can get a business loan approval within 59 minutes, but all it means is that the banks refinancing the government’s scheme will follow their usual application and verification process after that. The actual loan will only be given after the process is complete, which can take up to 12 days. You can, however, get a business loan within 3-days by signing-up on Lendingkart’s website or mobile app.
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