Responsibility towards the society has always transcended business priorities, for this NBFC, that features amongst the top 5 MFIs in the country. The pandemic gave the country a flavour of their unchanging commitments during the changing times.
On an operational front, the organisation announced zero lay-offs. They introduced emergency loans and Covid covers to help their workforce feel at ease. “A considerable effort went into assuring our employees that their jobs were safe. I think once people were at peace, they were motivated to do wonders,” adds Sadaf Sayeed, Chief Executive Officer, Muthoot Microfin Ltd, while speaking to Great Manager Institute as part of its profiling of great people leaders.
On the business front, the organization believes in the transformative power of doing good. Be it financing gold loans through Swarnavarsham, for a customer group that only understands ‘gold’ as a form of investment or being responsible lenders, the organization has always proven to be a trustworthy partner to its customers. During a time when the microfinance industry faced repayment stress, the company continued to penetrate deeper into underserved geographies and to borrowers at the bottom of the economic pyramid. This has helped them add to their consistently growing customer base.
When probed on how they have managed to maintain the common thread of ‘social responsibility’ amongst their employees - spread across 17 states and 750+ branches, Sayeed mentions hiring people based on “genuine need for a job”, preferably from the bottom of the pyramid. These employees therefore empathise with the customers, put customers’ needs first and strive to provide them with the best possible service, with a smile. The robust on-the-job training and a mandatory, month long field experience is what the management believes makes their fresh recruits’ bond with customers stronger.
Taking pride in their strong foundation of goodwill, Sayeed recounts an incident when a group of seven women from a village close to Trivandrum, running a creche facility approached the field officers. They were looking to launch their own tiffin service. Apart from financing loans worth 20,000 INR to each one of them, the organization went a step ahead to provide entrepreneurship education to the women. This helped them the gain skills required to successfully run a business. Their tiffin service has been flourishing with time, making them one of the favourite success stories at Muthoot Microfin.
The community initiatives undertaken by the organization complement their financial inclusion agenda. By committing to causes such as no-cost cleft-lip surgeries, Kerala flood relief initiatives, cancer detection camps & low cost dental treatments, the organization has made a meaningful difference to the lives of the less privileged.
Speaking about their roadmap for the future, the organization aspires to be the ‘Number 1’ microfinance company by 2025, managing best portfolio quality, highest level of customer satisfaction and the highest wallet share among the customers. This, Sayeed believes, shall happen through a collective display of a high-trust, high-performance culture, apart from creating value for customers.
Sharing his ‘mantra’ for all the budding people managers, he encourages them to pick up a sport, and play it dedicatedly. “One has to constantly improve, if you wish to be on the top. Sports make you innovative and disciplined, apart from keeping you fit. These are some must-haves for a great career and life”, adds Sayeed with a smile.
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