April 15, 2021
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Loan Industry Can Undergo Tremendous Transformation By Going Digital: Sunil Dewali, COO, Andromeda Loans

Andromeda is India’s largest loan distributor with more than 2000 employees. Sunil Dewali is the COO of the company. In this free-wheeling chat, Mr Dewali talks about how he began and what drives him to work as hard as he did 25 years ago when he started!

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Loan Industry Can Undergo Tremendous Transformation By Going Digital: Sunil Dewali, COO, Andromeda Loans
Loan Industry Can Undergo Tremendous Transformation By Going Digital: Sunil Dewali, COO, Andromeda Loans

1. Why did you decide to enter the lending business?

Fortunately, accidentally! Back in the 1990s, I was looking for a job and what better place to start than the world of financial services? I am a self-made person and started my career as a sales person and continue to remain proudly hand-on involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.

2. How has Covid affected your business?

The decision to impose a lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 did bring economic activities across all sectors to a halt. The finance sector also felt an impact during the period. However, the good thing is that it gave immense opportunity and quality time to introspect, reposition, rebuild and plan a quantum leap. The crisis will strengthen the competitive pressure by accelerating trends towards digitalization. Society no longer wants to rely on age-old ways of carrying out transactions.

We are spending a lot of time analysing the present-day scenario and how Covid-19 has transformed the sector. There is certainly a change in consumer patterns. Individuals are now keen on opting for small-sized loans to meet their immediate financing requirements. Digital lending channels have become popular now. Convenience is the key and we are working on harnessing the power of cutting-edge technologies to create a seamless and risk-free loan disbursal ecosystem. There is immense potential for the digital revolution and we are keen on establishing an online loan disbursal platform that is convenient and hassle-free.

3. How do you leverage digital strategies in your business?

Technology has come a long way and has been embraced by various sectors. The loan industry can undergo a tremendous transformation by going digital. The pandemic has made us realise the importance of embracing rapid changes in technology to ensure that the entire process is hassle-free and efficient. This will work to the advantage of both consumers and lenders. We hope to keep up with this trend and stay ahead in offering unique solutions to our clients.\

As distributors, we need to adapt to the changing circumstances. We need to rely on technology to ensure that our services are available 24x7. Our team is brainstorming ways to build a pandemic-proof business and embrace digital technologies to eliminate the long closing processes that were once a norm in the loan industry. Covid-19 has made us realise that there is a huge opportunity for digital transformation in India and especially in the banking sector.

4. What keeps you motivated?

I always draw inspiration from things around me. Something as simple as watching my team members grow and achieve their dreams motivates me immensely. Watching all the young blood getting into action with their energy levels is simply amazing. The way they are ready to take on any challenge and turn it into opportunities gives me a sense of purpose to push myself further.

My team works round the clock to help our customers achieve their dreams. It could be as simple as buying their first car to owning their dream house. We help people realise their dreams that they have built over the years. Though this may seem something simple, this is enough to pull me out of the bed every morning.

5. Who has been a role model to you and why?

There are many individuals from various walks of life who’ve inspired me in life. On the professional front, it is our founder Mr. Swaminathan for creating the most sustainable and organised distribution channel in an unorganized sector. His vision to do something innovative at every step of the way has inspired me the most.

On the personal front, it is my friend Mukul Mahavir Agarwal, MD of Param Capital. I see him as a humble individual with lots of values, and his philanthropic side touches my core every time I am with him.

6. How do you maintain a solid work-life balance?

It is simple. Just don’t take work home and don’t get home to work. It is not going to come easy, but with patience and persistence, you can achieve a solid work-life balance. When I am at home, I make sure that I give my 100 per cent to my family. I do devote my personal time to other things such as working out regularly. Life should not be all work and family. You need to take some time out for yourself and indulge in things that make you happy.

7. What traits do you possess that make a successful leader?

Discipline is the only thing that is going to take you a long way in your professional life. You also need to have the power to think big and take the necessary measures to breathe life into your ideas. Just having a good imagination wouldn’t suffice. You need to be able to make quick decisions depending upon the circumstance.

For instance, take the Covid-19 scenario. We knew we had to implement some revolutionary measures to ride the pandemic wave. You need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances and learn how to implement technologies to benefit from them.

8. What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

It is undoubtedly the challenges that we faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, I feel it did turn out to be a blessing in disguise as I could reposition my team and started looking at things in a different light. Had the pandemic not shaken us, it would’ve taken longer for us to ditch the age-old traditional models and turn to something quick, accessible, convenient and hassle-free solution. I believe in seeing good in everything. Though the pandemic has been harsh in many ways, I still believe it is going to lead us to something revolutionary in the coming years.

9. What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

I can never forget this piece of advice that I received. “Everything is an opportunity in life… whether good or bad”. Its essence is with me wherever I go and whatever I do. It has certainly changed the way I look at things.

10. Outside of work, what defines you as a person?

My work life has indeed created a distinct identity of who I am. However, at the end of the day, I am someone who values relations. I cherish the time I spend with my family and friends. I have an active social life and love having fun. I’m a travel enthusiast and also a sportsman; as such I’m very competitive at everything I do.

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