Awards and citations are not new for Ajay Kumar, Managing Director of Global Finance but two honours conferred on him last month are worthy of special mention.
ANZ Bank and AIA New Zealand, respectively the largest commercial bank and insurance company (the latter one of the largest in the world), named him ‘Platinum Partner 2018’ (as the largest Mortgage Broker) and ‘Top Advisor’ (largest Insurance Advisor). In a market that is increasingly getting overcrowded, such an achievement appears significant.
Mr Kumar attributes these and other awards that he has received over the years (the first of these was at the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards held on November 16, 2009 at Stamford Plaza Hotel) to his customers, staff and his family.
“Our customers are supreme,” he said and quoted Mahatma Gandhi, who said during a speech in South Africa in 1890: “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us; we are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work; he is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business; he is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him; He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.”
The ‘Customer is King’ approach has been the wont of Mr Kumar throughout his working life which spans about 45 years, 20 of which have been as the Founder-Director of Global Finance.
From the garage in his home in March 1999 to the present with three offices, a complement of 40 plus staff and a Board comprising two experts as advisors, it has been a long and arduous but satisfying journey.
“Our team has grown bigger but the importance of quality service and staying in touch with customers cannot be overemphasised. Every complaint is personally addressed and we do not hesitate to take corrective action, because we constantly remind ourselves that we exist because of them. All our progress, awards and accolades belong to them,” Mr Kumar said.
The willingness of Global Finance to go an extra mile to help customers achieve their goals has been central to its success and growth, which averages 25% a year.
Mr Kumar said that commercial banks and insurance companies do not educate customers to enable them to make proper choices and take decisions beneficial to them.
“There is therefore a need for Mortgage and Insurance Advisors. Every customer is different-family status, income, spending habits, propensity to save, propensity to repay and so on. Likewise, their insurance requirements also vary,” he said.
“We have to operate in a rigid regulatory environment in which compliance is not only imperative but also expensive. At the same time, customer satisfaction is paramount, which can be achieved through prompt and high standard of service, on which there is no compromise. This is critical as the market gets tougher,” Mr Kumar said.
Transparency and Integrity
While customer service is supreme, this is not achieved at the cost of integrity, honesty and financial discipline. Global Finance does not entertain cash transactions and all dealings are done through bank transfers. The Company is also conscious of Anti-Money Laundering (AMLC) and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (CFT) and constantly reviews its market exposure and updates customers through its website and social media. Mr Kumar also speaks on the Radio regularly on the evolution of the mortgage and insurance market.
A customer who passed away unexpectedly within two months after he had taken an insurance policy through Global Finance is an illustration. Shortly thereafter, Mr Kumar and his team concerted their efforts with the insurance company and secured the insured amount and other entitlements. The family became mortgage free and today, the children of the deceased have grown up and are customers of Global Finance.
“There are several such instances of clients who have benefited from the timely and appropriate insurance policy which would have several components such as Life, Health, Redundancy, Income Protection, Trauma and many more,” Mr Kumar said.
Interest Saver Plan
Mr Kumar has developed a special formula which enables customers to manage their finances smartly and repay their loans early. Called, ‘Interest Saver Plan’ it has helped thousands of customers to achieve a combined saving of more than $300 million.
Just how he does it is a well-guarded secret but the fact that it has been commended by banks and others is testified by a number of awards and citations.
The urge to remain on top of business remains strong and Mr Kumar is generous in investing in human and material resources to meet the ever-rising expectations of customers. Global Finance is currently installing an even more robust IT System which, he said, “would be capable of better and higher level of customer service.”
“This proprietary system is futuristic in scope and content and is expected to meet advances in technology over the next 20 years. This cloud-based technology will enable us to work from anywhere in the world, meeting the needs of not only clients but also the lending institutions, insurers and regulatory authorities,” Mr Kumar said.