This has been a challenging year. We began the year under a lockdown and ended the yearwith most of the states enforcing lockdowns. This has taken a toll on economic activitiesbut more importantly it has had a longer term impact on the lives and livelihoods of asignificant number of our fellow citizens.
In these times your company has navigated its way well and it is reflected in thetrust that your company enjoys amongst the various stakeholders. We had a successfulInitial Public Offer (IPO) and I thank you for reposing your faith in us. We have alsoadded another marquee institutional investor (Warburg Pincus) to our already powerfulinstitutional investor base (True North Aether (GIC Singapore) and Bessemer VenturePartners. Large domestic mutual funds and FIIs have also come on board in the IPO.
India has a lower percentage of home ownership than even many developing countries.This together with the rapid economic gains we have had in the past few decadesincreasing urbanization rising incomes even in rural areas have all led to anincreasing demand for housing. The Government's incentives for Affordable Housing lowerinterest rates and availability of credit have all contributed to the rising demand forhome ownership. Owning a home is a basic instinct of humans as it provides families witha sense of financial and emotional stability. The Company with its focus on AffordableHousing Finance is well positioned to benefit from this growing demand.
The pandemic may have hastened the move into the digital world for many companies butat HomeFirst we have always been a technology enabled company designed to deliver asuperior customer experience through the use of technology in the originationunderwriting and servicing stages of the loan cycle. This focus on technology enabledbusiness processes helped us during this period while following all safety protocols wheninteracting with our customers to ensure the safety of our customers as also ouremployees.
Our core values of transparency speed and innovation helped us in responding with 'outof the box' solutions to the changing demands of our customers during this period. Beingtransparent in our communication and staying accountable for our actions has helped tobuild HomeFirst as a trusted brand. We counselled our customers when offering them the RBImandated moratorium on repayment and this helped them get back onto their regularrepayment cycle very quickly after the first wave.
Customer engagement and maintaining a strong balance sheet remained the core of theCompany's efforts through the year. As of Mati21 AUM expanded by 14.4% to close the yearat Rs 4141 Crs with NPAs at 1.8% (with no restructuring). In a difficult year not onlywas the Company able to have a successful IPO but was also able to broaden and deepen itsrelationships with lenders. This has helped the company maintain a healthy liquidityposition. The Company's focus on improved digital processes to deliver exceptional serviceto the customer a tight control on costs increased collaborations and partnerships allcontributed to its PAT increasing to R 100 Crs for FY21.
Maybe the country had won a battle by last October but by no means was the waragainst Covid over. The virulent nature of the second wave is presenting us with a freshset of challenges as we consider expanding our footprint. We have shouldered ourresponsibility to our employees as well as the communities we operate in. Identifiedfamilies in a few cities were provided food and personal hygiene kits. Migrant labourwhich had fled cities for the safety of their rural homes were assisted in geffi'ng backto work so that their livelihood was restored. We also contributed to helping hospitalsimprove patient care and treatment immediately and also helped in improving the medicalinfrastructure to provide for the future. We shall earn our right to be in the communitieswe serve and be a strong resilient partner.
We shall continue to focus on providing housing finance for the middle class theaspirants. We are confident of building a valuable business supported by a calibratedexpansion strategy focused on quality of the book and a diversified financing base. Covidhas led to a changed work style with Work From Anywhere (WFA) becoming the dominantpractice. Even as we recover from the pandemic I believe that WFA will continue for a notinsignificant portion of the workforce. This change together with the significantimprovements in technology medical and educational facilities in Tier 2 and 3 towns ourtarget market will lead to considerable increase in demand for homes here as there shouldbe a migration of the workforce tired of the congestion and commuting issues of themetros. HomeFirst has grown from strength to strength leveraged technology across variousfacets been ready to deal with challenges to be the next big new age affordable housingfinance company for digital India.
I thank all stakeholders the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) the National Housing Bank(NHB) Lenders Rating Agencies and our Customers. This journey would not have beenpossible without the guidance and support of my colleagues on the Board. Last but notleast I must acknowledge the unwavering efforts of our employees. They have been a sourceof inspiration during these uncertain times and deserve huge appreciation.
I hope that you stay well safe and healthy in these uncertain times.