Ketan Patel, CASHe: India’s Most Trusted CEO 2020
Selected as India’s Most Trusted CEO 2020, Ketan Patel of CASHe attributes his success to decision making abilities that have transformed the company
Years of working in the industry, your contribution reflects versatility and volubility. What has influenced your decision making process at various stages?
I strongly believe that decision-making is an important part in every business & your success in the industry majorly depends on your decision-making abilities. The recipe for effective decision-making is combining logic (data or analytics) with emotion (gut feel). The key decisions I’ve made as a CEO were creating the perfect strategy and the right culture for the company. After that it was to ensure delivery by selecting the right team and an able management team.
My style of decision making depends on the size and nature of the decision to be taken. On some of key operational issue with limited to long-term significance, my style is very task orientated, fast and firm. I try hard to adopt an consultative approach. Taking input from multiple stakeholders whenever necessary. This makes the process as participative as possible and frames the outcome as a series of choices. This makes it easier to explain the choice made or the conclusion reached.
A project or an accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?
Being at the top of the pyramid, I understand that I as the CEO of my company, I should be able to clearly communicate the vision of the company in order to inspire my team, investors, and customers. I also understand that as a company flag-bearer, all eyes would invariably turn to me for setting future directions and lead by example. In my little over 2 years of heading CASHe, I have successfully managed to turn around the company’s business into a profitable one. This sure is a neighbor’s envy as CASHe is one of the few fintech company which is operationally profitable for the past one and half years. I have always believed that technology should be seen and used as an aid to run successful and nimble operations. Hence, I have made sure we have a smart, tech-led processes which requires minimal human interference. I have created a much desirable place to work for my teams to thrive and succeed in order for us to lead in the industry we serve in. Due to this, we at CASHe have a near negligible attrition compared to other peers in the industry.
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
I firmly believe that CSR has to be an integral part of every business. At CASHe, we make sure our generous contributions affect the society around us . We have set out a yearly CSR plan where we actively contribute towards the Girl Child’s education, sponsoring healthcare needs of the poor and support education for the children at various orphanages. I think it is important to be socially responsible for every citizen and companies alike.
What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?
The love and dedication towards my work, family and team has been the driving force in my life. I am motivated by the fact that anything worth achieving in life will always have obstacles in the way and you’ve got to have that drive and determination to overcome those obstacles on route to whatever it is that you want to accomplish.
What are the other philanthropic works you are involved in?
I believe in helping people in any which way I can. I have a social conscience and I am very concerned about the underprivileged, about the people who didn’t have equal opportunities. My philanthropy largely focuses on education and healthcare and I make sure that I make a difference in people’s lives in any which way I can at all times.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
To me, success means creating a business that empowers our customers, employees, and community alike. We want to add positive value to people’s lives, from a personal and professional standpoint. We have worked hard and created a business model that has empowered societies and brought all round financial inclusion to thousands of people.
We are constantly making things better, faster, smarter or less expensive. In other words, we strive to do more with less. Tell me about a recent project or solution to a problem that you have made better, faster, smarter or less expensive
We are a tech and data-driven company. We have invested in technologies like AI and Machine Learning that has considerably helped us in our loan underwriting process. This has helped us to save on manpower as well as time required to approve a loan. Our automated loan process has helped us save considerable costs compared to other peers in the industry
In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?
According to me, a good leader embodies confidence. A leader is someone who can articulate their vision and goals and stand by their decisions. Confident leaders are generally happier, create better relationships, remain open to risks, accept feedback, recognize success and stay motivated.
Your perception of an empowered society. How far your industry has / can contribute for the same?
An ideal society in which every human being is financially self-dependent. That according to me would be a true empowered society. As a financial institution, how we lend and operate affects our community’s well-being. It’s a responsibility that we take seriously. That’s why our values-based lending model is grounded in the local economy—because we believe you only truly prosper when you’re connected to a vibrant, healthy community. Providing credit is the single biggest way we can help members of our society to thrive and prosper. As we lend to an audience that is new to credit or the underserved segment of the society, we have successfully been able to serve their immediate financial obligations to a large extent. Due to our unique business model of creating a demand and fulling it in the quickest possible time, we have been able to meet their various financial obligations in a much better way.
One thing you wish to change and one thing you wish to retain about your industry?
The ever-growing number of regulations that the fintech lending companies need to comply with. Compliance can significantly strain resources and is often dependent on the ability to correlate data from disparate sources. I appreciate how we fintech players are able to provide loans instantly than the traditional lending institutions. This has been a game changer not only for lenders like us but also has helped deserving borrowers get money when they need it.
One thing you have to let go off as an entrepreneur/leader?
Who do you owe your success to?
My family as their support ensures I can dedicate more time in building a world class business that we aspire to be and my entire team as I have always believed that I am a sum total of my team and whatever success we have achieved is a true reflection of the effort that the team has put in.
Best thing about your job?
Being a CEO, I get to be involved in almost every aspect of our business, and at the same time get to be in charge of our big goals. Building out a successful company is indeed a rewarding process, and I love seeing our growth , the success of my team and plans for the future. I also love that I get to chart out the trajectory of the company and look forward to tomorrow’s successes.
A message from you to all the future entrepreneurs/leaders?
Just keep challenging yourself. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.