Ramesh G Iyer – Vice Chairman & Managing Director, President – Financial Services Sector & Member of the Group Executive Board, MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA FINANCIAl SERVICES LIMITED
Describe your business in 10 words or fewer.
Entrepreneurial Empowered Lending Business Model transforming rural lives.
What is the big idea behind your business?
We serve customers who do not normally get credit from formal channels while they have phenomenal capability to earn and repay. We have developed a credit assessment model wherein customers are individually met and their credit capability is assessed on the basis of earning potential and a product design to suit their cash flow.
It’s often said that leaders these days must operate in an environment of extreme volatility. Do you agree? How does that affect the way you lead?
It is expected that disruption could come from an untold direction. In a business model as ours where people matter we have to ensure that all people are almost at all times trained and their capabilities are continuously enhanced to remain employable.
A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all. What is your prime focus for retaining customers?
We have our 4 Million customers spread across in and around 3 Lakhs villages of the country. We have a separate direct marketing vertical, who are directly engaged in understanding the needs of these customers and through these customers we had generated a lot of direct sales. We have special programmes for our existing customers and are using technology to provide services with speed at the customer’s door step.
What was your first paying job?
I joined the Group as a Trainee and was working in the Commercial Department of a Project Cell.
Do you have a formal mechanism for making sure you stay in touch with employees and customers on the organization’s front line?
I undertake extensive travel to different states and spend a minimum of 2 to 3 days in each state doing a road travel of at least about 12 hours in a day meeting the executives at various branch levels, meeting customers on the way, having dealer meetings, etc. You get a lot of informal information about the market as well as the employees and customers expectations when you travel with the branch team in their vehicle from location A to location B. We also have interactive video conferencing with various functional teams engaging employees at all levels.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever heard?
At the end of any negotiation both the parties must be fully satisfied and having won the team in case you want to sustain a long term relationship.
What has surprised you about being an entrepreneur?
The risk taking ability that I have gained and gathered over a period and as you look at some of the decisions that you take can surprise you about your own ability.
What strategies do you use in terms of planning your personal career progression?
I have associated myself with certain very senior industry leaders as well as engage myself with senior leaders from the Group. You need to very transparently explain and express the challenges and should use the mentoring process for solutions and way forward.
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