Factoring in India

Factoring service in India is of recent origin. It owes its genesis to the recommendations of the Kalyanasundaram Study Group appointed by the RBI in 1989. Pursuant to the acceptance of these recommendations, the RBI issued guidelines for factoring services in 1990. The first factoring company – SBI Factors and Commercial Ltd (SBI FACS) started operation in April 1991. This article highlights the important aspects of the factoring services in India.

The main recommendations of the Committee/Group are listed as follows:

(1) Taking all the relevant facts into account, there is sufficient scope for introduction factoring services in India which would be complementary to the services provided by banks.
(2) The introduction of export factoring services would provide additional facility to exporters.
(3) While quantification of the demand for factoring services has not been possible, it is assessed that it would grow sufficiently so as to make factoring business a commercially viable proposition within a period of two/three years.
(4) On the export front, there would be a fairly good availment of various services offered by export factors.
(5) With a view to attaining a balanced dispersal of risks, factors should offer their services to all industries and all sectors in the economy.
(6) The pricing of various services by factors would essentially depend upon the cost of funds. Factors should attempt a mix from among the various sources of funds to keep the cost of funds as low as possible, in any case not exceeding 13.5 percent per annum, so that a reasonable spread is available.
(7) The RBI could consider allowing factoring organizations to raise funds from the Discount and Finance House of India Ltd, as also from other approved financial institutions, against their usance promissory notes covering receivables factored by them, on the liens of revised procedure under bills discounting scheme.
(8) The price for financing services would be around 16 per cent per annum and the aggregate price for all other services may not exceed 2.5 percent to 3 percent of the debts services.
(9) In the beginning only select promoter institutions/groups of individuals with good track record in financial services and competent management should be permitted to meter into this new field.
(10) Initially the organizations may be promoted on a zonal basis.
(11) There are distinct advantages in the banks being associated with handling of factoring business. The subsidiaries or associates of banks are ideally suited for undertaking this business; initially, it would be desirable to have only four or five organizations which could be promoted either individually by the leading banks or jointly by a few major banks having a large network of branches.
(12) Factoring activities could perhaps be taken up by the Small Industries Development Bank of India, preferably in association with one or more commercial banks.
(13) The business community should first be educated through bank branches about the nature and scope of these services and the benefits accruing there from.
(14) Factors cannot extend their services efficiently, effectively and economically without the support of computers, as quick and dependable means of communication. Concurrent with consideration of various aspects relating to commencement of factoring operations the promoters should initiate measures for organizing network of computers /dedicated lines the branches/agents in different parts of the country for accounting follow up remittance and other activities involved in factoring business.
(15) The Central Government ad RBI should initiate appropriate measures immediately for setting up specialized agencies for credit investigations; until such agencies become fully operative, factors may have to rely on such information about clients/customers as could be collected through banks or other sources.
(16) Since the suppliers would be able to obtain financial services from both banks and factors, it is necessary to provide for proper linkage between banks and factoring organizations.
(17) The factoring of Small Scale Industrial (SSI) units could to be mutually beneficial to both factors and SSI units and the factors should make every effort to orient their strategy to crystallize, the potential demand for this sector.