French firm eyes Indian consumer finance market


Kolkata : French financial services company Societe Generale (SG) Group is aiming at Rs.40 billion disbursals from its consumer finance business in India in three to five years.

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The company is also looking at entering the insurance sector with its expertise in credit insurance products.

Jean-Francois Gautier, head of SG's specialised financial services, said the group's consumer finance brand FamilyCredit will offer loans for vehicles and consumer durables. It also plans to offer personal loans shortly.

"India is a fast growing consumer credit market. The Indian operations will strengthen SG's international share of consumer finance with a network spanning 22 countries now," Gautier said.

The consumer finance will reinforce the presence of SG's specialised financial services division in India, which has already started an operational leasing activity for cars through the brand ALD Automotive.

SG entered the consumer finance business in the country by acquiring 89 percent stake in non-banking finance company Apeejay Finance, renaming it as "FamilyCredit". It has started operations from its office at Technopolis here.

SG is open to acquiring the entire stake of Apeejay Finance in case it gets Reserve Bank of India's nod, Gautier said.

He said insurance is the other sector that the company was looking at and talks were on with some companies in the country since the Indian regulation allows only 26 percent foreign participation in the sector.

In case the venture materialises, SG will bring its specialised credit insurance services in the country.

Apart from the consumer finance and ALD Automotive business in the country, SG Group holds 37 percent stake in SBI Mutual Fund, a joint venture with State Bank of India.