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'Our Post-sale Customer Support, Set Us Apart From The Competition'

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Amit Saxena, MD & CEO, Unimoni India, talks about the company, business goals and more

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Tell us a bit about Unimoni’s global operations. Which areas of Financial Services do you operate in and in which locations?
Unimoni is a global powerhouse, offering services ranging from credit solutions, payments, remittances and the foreign exchange business. The parent company has a network spread across 6 continents, comprising approximately 45 countries with a foothold in over 150 markets. The category leading brands such as Travelex and Xpress Money are sister concerns of Unimoni. Unimoni itself is spread across ~30 countries and boasts of a state-of-the-art IT platform, which the foundation of its digital capabilities 

Why is Unimoni bullish on the Gold Loans segment in India? How do you plan to differentiate your offering?
Due to its easy solvent characteristic, Gold is a preferred asset class in India. The country has an estimated $1 trillion of gold assets in its households. Among these is a large customer base, which is underpenetrated by the formal financial channels and has a huge appetite for monetizing this commodity. Capitalizing on this market opportunity, Unimoni, (erstwhile UAE Exchange) started the gold loan business in 2008. The company leveraged its established brand value in Kerala, which is a particularly lucrative market for this product. Today, we have over 100 branches offering gold loans in this state alone. We offer a host of innovative features, in our Gold Loan product, such as part payment facility, overdraft facility, partial releases, online gold scheme & doorstep delivery service, along with our continual post-sale customer support, set us apart from the competition. 

How do you plan to manage defaults risks in your Small Business Loan portfolio?
We have invested heavily in technology to come up with proprietary assessment mechanisms that combine digital and on-ground assessment. We are able to tap customers that have the ability to pay but are underserved by the industry. Our customers are inherently hard working and driven but lack financial means to invest in their businesses. We try to assess the customer’s repayment ability by directly interacting with him or her. This process is primarily tech driven, but we combine this with human interventions – a true bionic approach that helps build a quality asset book. 

When do you plan to launch your Wealth Management offering? What will your cut-off threshold be in terms of minimum AUM? Will you follow an open architecture or largely build in-house products?
We distribute third-party products and give a bouquet of offerings to customers to help them with their life-goal requirements. We are currently into insurance products and will add pension products and various investment products to the mix in the next few months. 

How do you plan to differentiate your consumer finance offering? Will you be tying up with any large retailers?
Our differentiation strategy stands on three pillars – access, assessment & analytics. It is our constant endeavor to provide easy access and improved services to customers. The key to solving access is direct customer acquisition, building partnerships, exploring co-lending opportunities and creating a platform for multiple product and service requirements. We have a unique bionic approach to access and assess our potential customers. We plan to use analytics as the primary tool of driving cross-sell, performing credit assessment and even operations.

Lastly, tell us about some of Unimoni’s broad business goals over the next 5 years.
In the span of the next 1.5-2 years, Unimoni plans to become a full-fledged NBFC, offering a broad portfolio of products, which cover all the financial needs of our target segment. The company is targeting a Rs.1500 -2000 cr loan book by end of FY19 and aims to achieve a goal of Rs. 5000 cr in the next 2-3 years.

Tags assigned to this article:
Amit Saxena Unimoni India personal finance

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