Q8india Exclusive Report:
Al Mulla International Exchange Company, the largest money remittance company in the country, and a subsidiary under the Financial Services Group of Kuwait’s mega conglomerate Al Mulla Group (AMG), spoke exclusively to Q8india.com on the various aspects underlining their irrefutable success and premier position in the money transfer business in Kuwait.
Mr Davar-Director, Al Mulla Financial Services
When Al Mulla International Exchange Company (AMIEC), entered the money remittance business in 2001, the industry, the practice for transferring money was only through a slow, time-intensive and paper-based, demand draft process. By introducing Electronic File Transfer (EFT) service and following that up by offering Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) through the National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) system, AMIEC was able to transform the money remittance landscape in Kuwait. EFT service uploaded transaction files on the same day that funds were received and allowed recipients to withdraw remitted amounts the very next day.
The EFT process was speeded up in 2006, when AMIEC introduced RTGS combined with NEFT. The new service enabled direct crediting of any bank in India, thereby allowing anyone to avail of this fast and secure electronic remittance service. The company was also instrumental in popularizing in Kuwait, the use of SMS to acknowledge delivery of remittance. In 2010, AMIEC introduced the latest server to server technology that enabled virtual real-time remittance, eliminating any shortcomings of the EFT model and nearly removing all delays and errors associated with manual, paper-based, demand-draft processes. The systems were all implemented for all the major Expatriate home countries, viz., Egypt, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Pakistan.
“In the over ten years since we began our operations, we have grown to become the market leaders in the country. What brought about this phenomenal growth was our singular focus on offering customers a technology-driven, service-oriented business model that could transact their remittances securely, accurately and almost instantaneously,” said Mr. Davar. Using server to server technology it is now possible to have money transmitted to your home country, credited into your account and the transaction acknowledged through an SMS to your mobile number, all within the space of three seconds; or roughly the time it would take you to read a single line of this text.
AMIEC is continuously changing the dynamics of the remittance market in Kuwait by constantly upgrading their systems and leveraging technology to offer customers cutting-edge solutions. On the anvil are systems that allow customers to select their bank, its location and directly credit their accounts by choosing from onscreen drop-down menus, helping to eliminate any mistakes that could arise from front-office staff. AMIEC is also tying up with a South African technology company to implement a virtual ATM linked to the cashier’s computer. The machine would fully automate the process of accepting money from customer, counting it; verify its authenticity and delivering the receipt, without any intervention from the cashier.
Also, AMX online, a web-based money remittance service from AMIEC, is being further augmented by applications for the iPad, iPhone and other Android devices. “The levels of security we provide through our AMX Online service are on par with those offered by the largest banks in the country. Before we implemented the system, the robustness of our software and its various security aspects were fully authenticated and approved by the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK),” said Mr. Davar. He went on to add, “I would also like to state that CBK has adopted, and allowed us to adopt, several progressive systems which help deliver better services to the customer at the best price. For instance, we have received approval from the Central Bank to introduce mobile exchange vans that will allow us to bring money remittance process to camps.”
Before AMIEC arrived on the money remittance field, customers were for the most part commoditized and generally considered only as a component in the money transaction process. Providing customers with real service and listening to their needs were things that were unheard of back then. AMIEC were the first to treat customers as the most valuable element in their business; they started off by offering free SMS confirmation of transaction completion, thus freeing up the poor customers from the need of confirming the receipt of money from their home country. They then introduced loyalty points to their customers, and soon, due to its rapid uptake among customers, double loyalty points were being offered to anyone transacting their business before 5.30pm.
The growing popularity of the loyalty program led AMIEC to offer another innovative scheme for the benefit of their customers, in the form of free life and accident insurance coverage to remitters for forty days from date of remittance. The insurance coverage is provided by Chartis, an international insurance company, with the cost of insurance being borne by AMIEC. Down the years, as part of their continuing proactive customer relationship policies, AMIEC has also sponsored and conducted several informational seminars and entertaining cultural programs for their customers.
Disclosing the future expansion plans of AMIEC, Mr. Davar said, “When we set up AMIEC, our vision was to become an exchange company that would set standards for the industry and develop a successful platform, which could be rolled out across the region and the world at large. Our first step outside the borders of Kuwait was in Sultanate of Oman, through a strategic acquisition of the Muscat based Modern Exchange Company. Today, we have nine branches across the Sultanate and keep adding a branch or two every couple of months. As we look to the future, we have identified the Kingdom of Bahrain as the immediate next venue where we see great potential for AMIEC to expand into. We would like to replicate what we did in Kuwait across different geographies, beating customer
expectations and providing a greater customer experience.”
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