AiThority Interview with Alexander George Muthoot, Deputy Managing Director, Muthoot Finance
Tell us more about Gold Unlocker and the engineering behind its successful tracking facilities?
We at Muthoot Finance have recently introduced a digital gold credit line scheme called“Gold Unlocker” wherein customers can avail and also repay their gold loan anytime, from the convenience of their home or office. This facility is akin to the locker facility of Banks with the distinctive feature of unlocking the value of gold kept in locker and using it to avail a loan, in case of need.
Customers have to pay interest only for the availed loan amount and only for the period they have utilized the Loan.
As you may have observed that for the last 3 years we have been carrying out a number of successful marketing campaigns to encourage people unlock the true value of their gold that has been lying idle in bank lockers and instead, leverage it to realise their dreams. Gradually, the stigma or hesitation associated with Gold loans is receding and our new product Gold Unlocker is helping us achieve this objective of making gold loans a far more acceptable lifestyle product.
We are glad to share that the initial response has been encouraging particularly from the business community; since interest is charged only on the amount utilized ¬ on the entire limit.
Gold loan disbursals have been a century-old tradition in India. How did you package this to attract new customers and ensure their loyalty?
In India, Gold has historically been a preferred avenue for investment. This is keeping in view that it a liquid asset with regular appreciation in its value.
Purchasing and preserving gold is also considered auspicious in India.
Traditionally, gold lending has been practiced by small-time money lenders or pawn brokers who charge very high rates and the safety and security of gold pledged with them has always remained a matter of concern.
Contrary to this unorganized sector, we at Muthoot Finance transformed the way gold loans are offered and serviced. With a huge network of 5330+ branches, a highly affordable interest rate starting from just 1% per month to extremely-high degree of safety and security measures – we stand apart as pioneers in this industry. Additionally, our periodic technological interventions have helped us offer personalized customer servicing and relationship-based banking services.
Our polite and service-oriented, locally hired branch staff speak regional languages to make customer experience welcoming and homely.
While the features of our products are unique; our family business legacy of 800 years and our unmatched Trust gives us a rare distinction and helps us earn a very high degree of brand & customer loyalty. While serving +2.5 Lac customers every day is a feat by itself, but we value more the distinction of being India’s Most Trusted Financial Services Company (as per Brand Trust Report, the India Study) for so many years now.
Banking systems have undergone a massive transformation post-independence. How have gold loan systems evolved during the same period?
Taking loans against household gold has been a very old practice in our country. In fact, investing in Gold has been a tradition and a symbol of auspiciousness in India. Gold is perceived as a highly reliable friend especially in times of dire need.
With the entry of specialized Gold Loan Companies like us, this unorganized sector has made huge progress in the right direction especially over the last decade.
Great efforts have been put forth to make this loan product structured and process-driven. More than anything else, it has been an uphill task for us to transform the attitudes of people and making gold loans acceptable. This ‘attitudinal transformation’ happened in a big way over the last 10 years and continues to happen even today.
In today’s times, fewer and fewer people look at gold loans as a distressed product and more and more people have started accepting it as a smart loan option that is readily available to them.
To make things more customer-centric, Muthoot Finance was one of the early adopters of technology by introducing a robust and in-house developed Core Banking Solution (CBS) much earlier than the rest. Today, with even more sophisticated technology platforms like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Muthoot Online, iMuthoot Mobile App and Muthoot Loan@Homeservices, we have made the process of availing gold loans far simpler and extremely seamless.
We are humbly proud of adopting highest corporate governance standards and placing the “Trust and Integrity” at the heart of our business.
We believe that our customer’s pledged gold is their emotional asset and hence it needs to be protected and treated with utmost care. Thus, besides all our attractive product features; high safety and security and free insurance of customer’s gold are regarded very highly by our customers.
Having progressed thus far, we believe we have a long journey ahead and we intend to constantly innovate and reinvent ourselves to deliver the best value to our customers and other stakeholders.
Tell us about your digital transformation and how it helped you to mitigate loss of business/ disruptions during the COVID 19 crisis?
Muthoot Finance has always been in the forefront in introducing digital initiatives to enhance the customer experience even before Covid19 struck.
Our ‘iMuthoot Mobile Application’ and ‘Muthoot Online’webpayment facility offers wide range of digital conveniences. Customers can repay their principal and interest online, avail loan-enhancements and do much more using these 24×7 digital services.
Recently, we have also launched a cashback scheme for customers who are paying interest online called “Muthoot Online Money Saver” (MOMS) program. Now, we have also launched “Muthoot Loan@Home” service in select markets wherein customers can avail a gold loan from the comfort of their home.
Tell us about your plans to expand into new markets in India and abroad?
Presently, Muthoot Finance & its subsidiaries have a widespread network of 5330+ branches and we intend open 350+ new branches across India during the current fiscal.
Our foreign presence spans across USA, UK, UAE, Central America, Sri Lanka and Nepal and we intend to grow our global footprints in the years to come.
Thank you, Alexander! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
Alex is a self-driven individual who has never chased awards or recognitions. However, he was featured as a “Global Leader” in the Thunderbird magazine and also on their website as a notable Alumni.
Alex currently serves as the Deputy Managing Director of the diversified business conglomerate The Muthoot Group leading 20 different business functions and championing business growth across 5000+ branches spread across India. He also oversees the business growth of over 10 product verticals offering varied financial products and services through Muthoot Finance’s strong pan-India branch network.
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Muthoot Finance is the flagship company of The Muthoot Group which has 20 diversified business divisions. With 5000+ branches, the Group serves over 2.5 Lac customers every day.
Muthoot Finance is India’s largest gold loan NBFC and India’s No.1 Most Trusted Financial Services Brand, according to the Brand Trusted Report. It is a reputed ‘Systemically Important Non-deposit taking NBFC’. As part of the core business, Muthoot Finance provides loans secured against household gold jewellery at highly affordable rates and amazing product features. Globally, the Group has presence across, USA, UK, UAE, Costa Rica, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In the recently announced financial results for FY20, Muthoot Finance posted a record Net Profit of Rs. 3,168 Crores (a 50% growth over FY19). The Consolidated Assets under Management (AUM) grew by 22% for the same period and stood at Rs. 46,800 Crores.