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Satin Creditcare: Weaving an Identity for Women

Aditi Singh, Head of Strategy at Satin Creditcare, champions inclusivity and empowerment. Her strategic vision has elevated the brand, given women a voice, and driven financial inclusion. She unveils her insights on funding, fintech partnerships, and life-changing impacts:

Smriti Pandey: Satin Creditcare’s vision statement talks about being purpose-driven. What are these purposes, and how are they fulfilled?

Aditi Singh: The core essence of our company’s existence lies in the pursuit of fostering inclusive growth for our clientele. We want our women borrowers to have an identity of their own, instead of being invisible cogs in the wheel in their households. A woman achieves the highest level of acceptance when she actively contributes. By inclusiveness, we mean understanding the holistic needs of our customers and enhancing the quality of their lives through poverty alleviation, skills development, livelihood opportunities, and healthcare, etc. Guided by unwavering sincerity, compassion, and a long-term vision to provide assistance where needed, our company’s purpose is rooted in the fundamental belief in creating value for others.

I recall one of our client’s stories. She was a determined entrepreneur from a remote village who lacked access to formal financial services. With our tailored microfinance solutions, she expanded her small business, sent her children to school, and lifted her family out of poverty. She got emotional on telling her story that she is now not merely known as someone’s wife or mother but an entrepreneur. Stories like these is what drives us every day.

Moreover, through our subsidiaries, we also provide access to affordable housing finance and support the growth of small businesses through MSME loans, thereby addressing the diverse needs of our customers.

From which sources does Satin Creditcare get most of its funding? What source of funding is the company targeting for the near future?

As a financial institution, Satin Creditcare strategically leverages two primary funding avenues: Equity and Debt. The company employs equity financing to meet capital requirements as needed. This involves multiple instruments, such as rights issues, preferential allotments, and Qualified Institutional Placements (QIPs), to raise funds from existing shareholders or institutional investors. These initiatives ensure that the company maintains flexibility in its capital structure and can swiftly respond to evolving market dynamics.

In parallel, debt financing constitutes an integral and ongoing activity of Satin Creditcare’s operations. Given the nature of its business, which involves regular and substantial loan disbursements, the company relies on debt funding to sustain its operations through its extensive pool of lenders. This includes securing credit facilities from Banks, Development Financial Institutions, and NBFCs and exploring avenues such as bond issuances and securitization to access additional capital from the market.

Currently, the company has a healthy mix of liquidity and will focus on sourcing funds from banks going forward.

Name some of the company’s fintech partners and the benefits of engaging with them.

Our collaboration with Finpay Payment Gateway and PhonePe empowers our clients by facilitating seamless digital repayments, fostering convenience and efficiency in financial transactions.

Leegality, a pioneering fintech firm, streamlines our operations by enabling rapid deployment of electronic signing and automation across all paperwork processes. This integration facilitates a smooth transition from traditional, time-consuming methods to agile digital workflows, ensuring compliance and enhancing our clients’ overall efficiency.

Sinch and Analytix Mantra fortify our security measures by providing a secure and seamless OTP experience, bolstering trust and confidence, particularly in high-value transactions.

Awaz De, a key partner, enhances our communication capabilities through voice call automation. This lets us promptly inform clients about essential updates such as upcoming EMIs and payment methods, thus fostering transparency and proactive engagement.

Syntizen, an eKYC solution provider, offers a comprehensive suite of products and digital identity service solutions to ensure a smooth end-to-end onboarding process.

You have been with Satin Creditcare for nearly 6 years; what are the most significant changes you have observed in the company?

Technology-driven Transformation: The company has adopted cutting-edge technologies, including advanced KYC processes, real-time user data acquisition via geo-tagging, cashless disbursements and collections, digital payments, and instant bank account verification, streamlined operations and significantly enhanced efficiency. These have reduced the time required for loan approvals and disbursements from 18 days to mere minutes.

Strengthened Management Team & Board: The company has dedicated substantial efforts towards bolstering its management team and Board of Directors. Through strategic recruitment and talent acquisition initiatives like creating positive experiences, providing training need basis, etc, the company strengthened its leadership unit, ensuring a robust foundation for sustainable growth and strategic execution. The company strongly believes in promoting home grown talent, and majority of the senior management team reporting to our founder and CMD are people who have risen from the ranks.

Emphasis on ESG Practices: Satin has strongly emphasized ESG considerations, demonstrating its commitment to corporate sustainability and responsible business practices. Through proactive initiatives aimed at fostering social inclusivity, upholding robust governance standards, minimizing environmental footprint and bringing ESG ratings into its framework. Moreover, Satin was one of the first few MFIs to engage in BRSR reporting even before it became mandatory.

Geographical Expansion: With a significant increase in its operational footprint, spanning 26 states and UTs nationwide, the company transcended its erstwhile reputation as a North India player, cementing its status as a pan-India financial services provider.

Promoting Inclusivity: Satin has been committed to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusivity in recent years and has intensified its efforts to promote gender diversity within its workforce. By proactively recruiting and empowering female staff, the company diversified its talent pool and fostered an environment of equal opportunity and inclusion. Till date of FY24, our company has onboarded over 350 female employees – 84 in Odisha, 60 in Uttar Pradesh, and so forth.

During the reporting financial year, we became signatories to the UN Women Empowerment Principles. Looking ahead, we’re committed to continuing this focus on inclusivity and adaptation. This inclusive approach enriched the organizational culture and contributed to women’s empowerment in the workforce, aligning with Satin Creditcare’s values of equality and social responsibility.

Even our majority of the workforce consists of rural youth who don’t have a degree from a big university or college. We provide them with a promising career where they can even rise to circle leads.

What, according to you, are your most notable contributions to the company?

Over the course of my 6-year tenure at Satin, I’ve had the honor of working alongside a talented team of colleagues, collectively achieving remarkable milestones for the company. We have successfully implemented Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP), which has received a good response from marquee institutional investors across the nation. Additionally, I took the lead in executing preferential allotment in FY22 without the involvement of any investment banker agency. This feat is my personal pride and affirms my ability to deliver the results. During the covid-19 pandemic, I played an integral role in raising funds through the right issues in August 2020.

Focusing on enhancing Satin’s visibility, I dedicated considerable effort to garnering coverage and recognition from reputable institutional and retail brokerage houses such as IIFL, JM Financial, SBI Securities, and HDFC Securities. Leading investors relations, I believe communication and interaction at the time of crisis to external stakeholders is when your expertise and professionalism truly shines.

As a leader, I’ve endeavoured to foster inclusivity within our team by championing an all-female workforce. By promoting gender diversity and providing opportunities for women to excel and thrive, I believe we’ve enriched our organizational culture. Recently, the company got an AA Rating in ESG, the top rating from ESG Risk Assessments and Insights, a subsidiary of Acuite Rating and Gold Certificate in Client Protection Certificate by the global rating agency, MicroFinanza. This is a very proud moment for me as it highlights our commitment to sustainability and ethical business practices reinforcing Satin’s position as a trusted and responsible corporate entity.

What are some of the most important things you have learned from your work at Satin?

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my work at the company is the necessity of staying updated with the ever-evolving landscape of technological advancements and industry trends. In today’s fast-paced business environment, it’s crucial to remain agile and adaptable to change. Building a strong network of industry peers and experts has also been invaluable, as engaging in discussions and collaborating on projects fosters innovation and idea generation. Additionally, I’ve learned the importance of adaptability; being flexible and open-minded allows for embracing new approaches and methodologies that can enhance our overall business performance.

Another thing I’ve learned as a leader is that effective leadership isn’t about commanding from the top but rather about empowering others to take ownership, make decisions, and drive initiatives forward. Encouraging autonomy and accountability while offering guidance and support has elevated my team’s capabilities and created a more resilient and dynamic organizational structure.

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