The word Vasuli, meaning recovery of money, immediately creates an image of a well-built, muscular and angry Sanjay Dutt clad in a black pathani and a red tika smeared on his forehead. His big eyes and no-nonsense persona makes even the toughest of all defaulters cough up money. However, the person who recovers more than Rs 500 crore every year for Indian banks looks nothing like Sanjay Dutt, in fact she is a woman from Indore who believes that effective communication goes a long way than threatening people.
Meet 30-year-old Manju Bhatia who has been breaking the stereotype that loans can be recovered only by rough treatment and that men alone should do this ‘dangerous’ job of running after defaulters. She has been recovering money on behalf of banks for the past 14 years and has been doing a wonderful job with her all-women team at Vasuli Recovery.
Manju had started working at a very early age of 16 after her STD 12 exams had ended. She began working as a receptionist at a family friend’s pharmaceutical company where she quickly found her way to handling accounts, trading and then to recovering of loans. Usually people start from the bottom but Manju’s courage made her pick a high-profile minister who hadn’t paid his loan. She managed to get a meeting with him and found out that he had forgotten about his loan and made the repayment right away.
This was a winning moment for Manju. She realised that more often than not it is communication gap between the bank and customer and she being a woman can be the best to bridge this gap. She decided that this is what she will do full-time all her life and began with just one client for Rs 25,000 and a couple of employees.
We are more persuasive and in general have a lot more integrity than men. That is how we’re raised…even if we don’t succeed, we’d still give 100 percent – Manju Bhatia
Today Manju’s 200 recovery agents, all of whom are women, are spread across 26 locations in India. The company has successfully changed the image that recovery agents have to be angry, muscular men who smash around things and threaten the customers to pay their loans. She is working with 20 public sector banks with a topline of Rs 6 crore and her approach is much appreciated by the top bank officials as well.
“Even I was a little skeptical initially. But Bhatia is a bold girl. She has taken this business of recovery to another level where you don’t require aggressiveness at all. She handles it with decency and communication,” says OP Dua, general manager, Union Bank of India who has been working with Vasuli since 2006.
Manju is a role model as she started working at a very early age and never lost her focus. She chose an industry which wasn’t considered well-suited for women and broke many-a-stereotypes with her positive and fresh attitude. She proved her family and friend wrong who thought it was a foolish decision to step into a male-dominated and risky area.
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