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Focus: Rise of Co-Lending Model

Nov 10, 2022

Co-lending has been the buzzword in the BFSI sector since the RBI announced its new Co-lending Model (CLM) in November 2020. While CLM was principally designed to bridge the gap between geographical limitations and lending opportunities, plus to expand credit distribution for priority sectors, financialists reckon it might just be the answer to the country’s multi-trillion-dollar liquidity issue. 

Before we jump into why co-lending can be the solution, here is a quick intro to co-lending. 

For beginners, co-lending is an arrangement between two or more lenders to jointly loan out money to their target audience. RBI’s guidelines necessitate banks and NBFCs to share the risk in a ratio of 80:20 (i.e., 80% of the loan with the bank and 20% with the non-banks). So, banks will lend to the NBFCs, and the NBFCs will lend to the priority sectors. And fintechs will serve as the cardinal technology layer for banks and NBFCs to achieve their co-lending objectives.

Co-lending backstory

Although co-lending has been in the Indian market since 2012, it’s the disruption of BFSI by fintechs and new-age NBFCs between 2018 and 2022 that turned co-lending into a well-heeled business. Today, every leading business wants a piece of this pie. 

MSMEs play a pivotal role in India’s socioeconomic development. According to the Ministry of MSME, India is home to about 7.9 million MSMEs and account for about 29% of the GDP. However, with the pandemic curbing the global market and slowing down domestic trade, the sector was one of the most impacted by the capital crunch, high-risk perception by banks, and all-time high inflation rates. Subsequently, over 65% of MSMEs were temporarily shut down for three or more months in FY21, and more than half of the companies witnessed a decline of about 25% in revenues. These circumstances made it clear that the MSMEs needed a helping hand in surviving the impact.

What’s more? 

A sizeable chunk of India’s population falls outside the purview of formal financial systems. This population comprises self-employed small-scale entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, farmers, and other small borrowers. According to recent reports, the country has a 365 million underbanked/underserved population, creating an 8 lakh crore market for small-ticket loans. Wherefore, the government was obliged to set up a robust economic model to reach and cater to the monetary needs of this population, who serve as the backbone of the country’s economy. 

In the wake of this condition, the RBI re-christened its co-origination framework as the Co-lending Model in 2020, with the prime objective of enabling frictionless collaboration of banks and NBFCs to increase the flow of credit in the MSME (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises), EWS (Economically Weaker Sections), LIG (Low-Income Group), and MIG (Middle-Income Group) categories, where banks take a backseat in lending owing to higher operating costs and credit risks.

Why Co-lending?

The priority sector has embraced economic hardships due to the pandemic and its repercussions. Industry experts believe the renewed co-lending model has great potential to significantly transform the sector. For one, banks can leverage the market outreach, loan origination, and servicing acumen of NBFCs, and NBFCs can bank on improved liquidity and profitability.

In addition, per RBI’s circular, NBFCs are the single point of interface for customers. They are responsible for loan origination, fund routing, servicing, and collection. Given their extensive reach at the grassroots level, better last mile connectivity, and customer relationship, NBFCs have established themselves as being more effective than banks in handling loan recovery/collection. Therefore, this approach is expected to augment the timely servicing of debt by the borrowers.

Under the renewed co-lending model, the banks’ finances and NBFCs’ (customer reach and) capabilities meld with fintechs’ technology. If exercised in the true spirit, RBI can score a hat-trick.

1. Render tailor-made and affordable financial solutions at the grassroots level

2. Catalyze the upraise of the priority sector from its economic hardships

3. Drive financial inclusion and accelerate the overall economic development of the country

Learn more about the features of co-lending and why it is the future here.

Advantages of Co-lending

The fundamental goal of the co-lending model is to act as a seamless medium for large banks to extend their services to borrowers and MSMEs in the remotest regions, which are otherwise inaccessible. Further, the co-lending model opens up unique liquidity windows for market players, boosting their confidence, and enabling sustainable growth.

For customers, co-lending helps build their portfolio. Under the co-lending guidelines, FIs can loan to many potential businesses that banks reject due to the absence of credit history. This facilitates them to rebuild a good credit history and qualify for other loans. Besides, NBFCs increase financial literacy among their underserved/unserved customers by educating them about co-lending and its terms and conditions.

Whats in it for Lenders?

Extended reach 

NBFCs have a broader customer portfolio. They are capable of reaching out to potential customers in rural/remote areas who are underserved in banking and digitalization. NBFCs usually collaborate with fintechs to set up digital platforms that help them cater to the needs of borrowers across multiple geographies. Banks can take advantage of this to widen their customer base and provide the economically weaker strata with the funds they require. NBFCs have the advantage of having increased access to funds.

Operational efficiency

The digitalization and robust technology layer have led to superior quality services. As the entire co-lending process, from application to disbursal, is fully automated, it reduces the human effort and time consumed in processing a loan. This, in turn, strikingly lowers turnaround time for all processes. The digital approach has helped banks expand their scope into new segments while reducing the cost of capital for NBFCs. This implies low customer acquisition cost, more loan applications, lesser underwriting costs, disbursing more loans, and gaining more market share. Hence, the boost in operational efficiency.

Shared risk 

CLM gives banks the opportunity and flexibility to partner with one or more lenders. According to the model, the risk is divided between the entities in the agreement. In this setting, banks benefit from an added sense of security and minimize the effects of loss. On the other hand, the primary challenge of NBFCs in India is the lack of established mechanisms to reduce the risk of defaults. Under the co-lending partnership, the losses on the loans/bad debts are shared between the partner banks and NBFCs. Thereby incurring a lesser loss.

Improved credibility

New-age companies looking to enter the lending business can build credibility for their brand through partnerships with major banks. Similarly, banks can tie up with established NBFCs to instill brand awareness.

Want to implement a seamless automated lending process tool? Look no further.

M2P’s core lending suite is what you need.

Our core lending system takes care of the entire lending lifecycle without requiring any manual intervention.

How will NBFCs benefit from M2P’s Core Lending Suite?

We are the only player in the industry to have a comprehensive product suite required for lending under one roof. Our core lending suite helps manage the entire loan lifecycle, including loan origination, loan management, financial accounting, marketplace integration, app-based lending, alternative data-based credit scoring, dashboards, reporting, and analytics.

M2P’s lending program is composable and built on Open API infrastructure, enabling you to develop customized programs and applications. We help you disburse credit in any form– cards, line, check-out EMI, embedded form, OD form, regular EMI, and asset-based​. In addition, our lending program has a robust LOS that allows you to configure custom workflows and change parameters on-the-fly without altering the code.

With optimized TCO at all stages, constantly upgraded (quarterly) system, and bank-grade security, be market ready with our core-lending suite in a trice.

To get down to the brass tacks of our system or for a demo, write to us at

We will deep dive into how co-lending programs can be implemented using the Finflux platform, in the upcoming blog. Watch out this space for more insights.

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