Transforming NBFC dynamics providing superlative Agri-Loans – SAFL
SAFL is transforming farmers’ life and making it “SAFL”, providing financial empowerment that is changing and impacting lives.
Category Selected: NBFC
SAFL, Sustainable Agro Finance Limited is a unique NBFC in the private sector in India providing agri-loans with a wide and diverse
range of financing options for almost every need of agricultural activity. The products offered include:
Micro Irrigation System (MIS) Finance, Finance for Lift Irrigation, Agri-Project Financing, Third Party
Tie-ups, Farm equipment Financing, Dairy/Cattle Financing, Solar Product Financing, Short term loan
for business, Short term crop loan, Loan against property, Financing small commercial vehicle and
financing tourist car.
Company Mission: Promote sustainable and equitable agriculture and rural prosperity through effective credit support,
related services, institution development and other innovative initiatives. HAR FASAL SAFL, HAR PAL
SAFL (EVERY CROP SUCCESS, EVERY MOMENT SUCCESS) is the hope of every farmer and SAFL helps
convert this hope into a reality.
Ethos of the brand: To make the individual farmer’s life “SAFL’ (successful)
Total Number of Employees in the Company: With 216 employees the leadership team is from diverse background with a cumulative 200+ years of experience across the leading financial services organizations.
10. Countries the brand is present: India
What would you define as the unique value proposition of the product: the functional, emotional and differentiating product benefits that have contributed to providing an enduring brand experience to customers?
SAFL is one-of-a-kind financial institution which caters exclusively to all the financial needs of capital investment of a farmer in India. There are hardly 2 or 3 such institutions in India undertaking agri finance on an exclusive basis. This by itself, is a unique value proposition by SAFL and its products. The field staff (Relationship Managers) which interact with farmers for business origination are generally graduates in Agriculture or post-graduates in Agriculture. Moreover, they are also recruited from the local area of business operations, as far as possible. This is a big advantage as the field staff is familiar with local conditions and establishes a rapport with the famer quickly. His formal grounding in agriculture also puts him in a position to advise the farmer on how to carry on his business in a better way or respond to any difficulties that the farmer may face in his agri activities and give him appropriate advice. These factors contribute to both, emotional and functional product benefits for SAFL.
What are the physical, character and personality attributes of the brand that have evoked and inspired consumers’ self-expression and personal identity?
SAFL’s field staff originate business by contacting the farmer. They visit him at his farm and / or his residence. The farmer is explained the product features including advantage of a relationship with SAFL. Unlike Banks, who also do agri- finance, among other products, the farmer does not need to visit the branch office of SAFL, a number of times. The only time when the farmer is required to visit is for execution of the loan documents, at the appropriate time. Hence, in the rural geography that SAFL operates in, it is commonly referred to as “SAFL Bank”. They also talk about SAFL Bank as the only one which comes to their door-step unlike any other financial institution. For them, SAFL, offers door step banking. Hence, the farmer consumer has a strong identification and loyalty with SAFL.
An insight into the brand marketing strategies that have effectively penetrated consumers’ psyche, established a meaningful relationship with the target audiences and ensured positive brand perception.
SAFL, inter alia, initiates contact with the farmer community through the vast network of Dealers of Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. (JISL) which is the promoter of SAFL. The promoter group is the largest player in the Indian market as regards, Drip Irrigation, Lift Irrigation, and many other agri products. They enjoy a very high level of brand equity in the market. As SAFL is promoted by JISL, the farmers are immediately in a position to identify and approach SAFL as a group company. Marketing is also currently done through print media, audio ads in bus stations and railway stations, participation in village fairs, holding meetings with groups of farmers in a village on a one- to-one basis. Further, SAFL in its Sanskrit origin means “success” and farmers identify with this connotation immediately. Our tag line “Har Fasal Safl, Har Pal Safl” which means (EVERY CROP SUCCESS, EVERY MOMENT SUCCESS), and all farmers take to this immediately with a high recall value.
Key marketing endeavors in the past decade that you feel have been landmark initiatives in reinforcing the legacy of the brand’s promise to influence consumer intent and enhanced the brand’s propensity to drive affirmative consumer action.
SAFL clearly sees its role as a key enabler in helping farmers to achieve their dreams and every effort is taken to work alongside farmer through their journey. While we do our campaigns to build awareness for the brand the emphasis is also on educating farmers on options and financial solutions through farmer’s meet and counselling sessions as well as agri trade fairs and exhibitions. The Company’s website is regularly updated with details of products keeping in line with farmers needs and trends. Many success stories of farmers prospering with SAFL’s assistance have been made into short videos which are shown to prospective farmers creating a strong impact.
How has the brand derived strength from innovation as a sustainable differentiating strategy adding to long-term brand equity? Please provide a few instances of measures implemented towards this goal.
Innovation is seen as a critical success factor in SAFL and finds a large role in our culture and our work. Some of our initiatives where you will see Innovation in action and that directly impacts the customer experience and enhance productivity are :
- Digitization of systems and processes to offer high quality customer experience.
- Regular training sessions for all our employees to support customer and operational excellence.
- Regular introduction of new financing products depending upon identified needs of the farmer community.
What are your brands most effective intangible motivational tools for employees.
While there are several aspects to this, the key ones would be the culture and the brand’s well defined purpose for each of our businesses. And to support this purpose , we have a culture which focuses on meritocracy, entrepreneurship, innovation, transparency, teamwork/ collaboration with everyone including the leadership consistently showcasing and awarding behavior in line with our cultural values.
Kindly elaborate on your existing & potential CSR activities.
SAFL has launched a Special Loan Assistance Program to support the widows/families of farmers who had committed suicides in Vidharbha region due to financial stress/indebtedness. The said program was launched initially in two highly suicide prone areas viz. Yavatmal and Wardha Districts of Vidarbha region in Maharashtra and later on expanded it to Washim and Buldhana
districts in Vidarbha. Till date, SAFL has helped families of 144 widows for commencing different activities such as purchase of Sewing Machines, purchase of flour (Atta Chakki) Machine, purchase of Sprinkler Irrigation sets, setting up Small grocery shop, setting up Bangle shop etc at zero or nominal interest rates without any security or margin money requirement. (Please see video of this activity)..
12. Which area of social responsibility is more significant for your brand
We see Agriculture industry as a strong pillar of the country’s progress and future growth. Therefore, we will continue to do significant work in the field of Agriculture that we appreciate and understand well .