After scaling payments, PayU wants its lending mojo back

PayU has emerged as one of the strongest players in digital payments with its $4.7 billion BillDesk acquisition. Lending is its other major bet in the Indian fintech ecosystem. But a raging pandemic and a flurry of top-level exits forced PayU to go slow in the credit business. Until now.

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By 

Pratik Bhakta

September 22, 2021

9 Min Read

PayU’s $185-million acquisition of Mumbai-based PaySense in January 2020 was one of the largest in digital lending at the time, signaling the Dutch fintech giant’s ambitions to dominate India’s personal loans market. 

Two months later, India announced a Covid lockdown that the central bank followed with a six-month moratorium for borrowers. Loan disbursals and payment collections crashed.

Collection efficiency recouped by October as the lockdowns eased. But the group’s consolidated assets under management dropped from Rs 557 crore ($75 million) as on September 30, 2020 to Rs 479 crore ($65 million) on March 31, 2021.

Now, although fears of a third wave of Covid loom large, the macroeconomic environment is optimistic, and collections and new loan disbursals are gathering steam—an opportunity the group, now under a new management, wants to grab. 

A $1.5-bn Ambition

On June 1, 2020, PayU Finance, registered as a non-banking financial company, was made a subsidiary of PaySense. PayU’s global parent, Prosus, holds more than a 75% stake in PaySense, through which it runs its digital lending business in India. Prosus is the global business arm of South African internet company Naspers.

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