In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, Fullerton India Credit Company Limited, a non-banking finance company, faced a dismal future. Weak credit issuance standards had exposed the company to significant risk and led its parent Temasek to inject new capital into the company to keep it afloat. The new CEO, Shantanu Mitra, embarked on a major restructuring exercise. First, he initiated a new credit appraisal system that centralized the credit underwriting process and simultaneously implemented significant cost reduction policies. Second, he recognized that the highly competitive nature of the Indian consumer and commercial loan markets compelled Fullerton to identify under-served segments with acceptable risk-return characteristics. He targeted the niche market segment of newly-emerging middle-class consumers who were being neglected by the formal banking system (because they found it difficult to accurately assess their credit risk) and also by microfinance institutions that mainly focused on the poorer sections of society. To achieve his goals, Mitra embraced a risk analytics framework to ensure that the credit underwriting process was not only compliant with Basel regulations but also consistent with the risk appetite articulated by the governing board. The case requires the student to discuss how the risk analytics framework can be used to drive strategic decisions about the composition of the lending portfolio (portfolio shape), the product-mix and the geographical-mix, without compromising on the risk appetite guidelines laid down by the board. Finally, the case also brings into focus issues related to organizational design, incentive mechanisms, and performance measurement.
This case can provide a useful platform to discuss business strategy related to credit risk in the financial services industry. In particular, the case can highlight: credit risk assessment and management, Basel framework and regulations, risk appetite and financial firm performance, analytics-driven business strategy, product and geographical mix decisions, incentive alignment, change management, and the dangers of using analytics in emerging markets.