Monday, February 28, 2011

The JPC Scam

For the last few months parliamentary democracy in India has been brought to a dead standstill by what can only be called the JPC scam. In the season of scams, this is the mother of them all.

Our honorable Parliamentarians will now waste more of the nations time on issues such as the size of the committee, who should be on it, proportional representation etc. Hopefully by the time all these serious issues are debated and compromised on, the original scams will no longer excercise the public outrage.

What makes them think that any of them have the competence, leave alone the credibility to sit in judgement on anybody?  They all had their hands in the jar at some time or the other, and now they point those soiled fingers and wave their criminal hands on prime time TV, in indignation at being left out of the current orgies.

Their solution? Start a new orgy. Call it the JPC. Which will be nothing but a legitimate forum for sharing the spoils of all previous scams, and some meaningful flogging of dead horses and horse trading of the rest. Then there will be some public hand wringing, and some insignificant scape goat will be named and life will go merrily on.

Havent we learnt anything? From our past experiences with JPC's? Do we need any further insult to our intelligence as a nation? Why cant we disqualify the entire lot of them from any public office for ever? Even if they did not partake in the feast, they were party to it, or at the very least turned a blind eye to the loot of a nation.

We dont need another JPC. Let us at least nip this scam in its bud.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

CONTACT:                                                                                  RELEASE

Rhea Rakshit                                                                                                                    24 Jan 2011
Micro Housing Finance Corporation          

Micro Housing Finance Corporation (“MHFC”) touches 500 loans,
crosses Rs. 20 cr in sanctions

Mumbai, India – Micro Housing Finance Corporation (“MHFC”), a housing finance company that is focused on financially excluded urban lower income families, has crossed 500 loans in sanctions, aggregating Rs. 20 cr. MHFC’s customers include mostly individuals employed in the informal sector, ranging from self employed vegetable vendors and barbers to salaried employees like housemaids, drivers and security guards.

According to Madhusudhan Menon, Chairman – “20 cr in loan sanctions is a key milestone as it represents the reinforcement  of an idea which has not been tested by any financial institution till date. These numbers, and the fact that we have no past dues on our portfolio, establish a strong case for lending to this segment and that customers who have adequate but undocumented incomes are good credit risks for secured mortgage lending. Most importantly, from a social perspective, we believe that every MHFC loan has improved the quality of life of large families currently living in deplorable urban conditions.”

MHFC received its license from the National Housing Bank in February 2009 and began operations in June 2009. Its first Rs 10 cr in sanctions took a little over a year with the second Rs 10 cr being sanctioned in just over 4 months. Loan amounts are usually around Rs. 5 lakhs (not exceeding 80% of the cost of the house) for a period not exceeding 15 years, with the house serving as security for the loan. Its rate of interest is currently between 12% and 14% per annum.

MHFC has a project-led approach and ties up with developers, both public and private, who have a similar focus on urban affordable housing (as defined as being in a price range not exceeding Rs 10 lakhs). Partnerships include tie-ups with builders like Tata Housing, Poddar Developers and Usha-Breco Realty in Mumbai. MHFC also has an active presence in Pune, Ahmedabad and Kolkata, and is currently operational in over 25 low-income housing projects across the country. The company plans to expand its outreach to Chennai, Bengaluru, Meerut and the NCR over the coming year.

About MHFC
MHFC, incorporated in May 2008, aims to fill a major need - long term housing finance - for urban lower income families, particularly those who lack documentation and thus cannot access mainstream banks and housing finance companies. According to the Chairman of MHFC, Mr. Madhusudan Menon, “This underserved segment is estimated to represent more than 90% of the workforce, but has almost no financial institution catering to its housing finance needs. Microfinance has paved the way to lend to this segment in an economically sustainable way, but its focus is on short term loans. We hope that MHFC will be able to take this process further and move towards supporting longer term financing requirements, especially for an important basic need like housing.”
MHFC received its license from the regulator, the National Housing Bank (“NHB”) in Feb 2009 and started sanctioning loans in June 2009. It lends to those who want to buy a home for use as a primary residence and cannot get loans for a variety of reasons, but especially due to the lack of documentary evidence of income (e.g. vendors, tradesmen, drivers, etc who do not have salary certificates).

For more information on MHFC, please visit