The thought, what makes leaders different from others, often strikes in our mind. It is most certainly their quality of making people feel invaluable, not settling for mediocrity, isolating themselves from the herd, challenging the status quo, and building team spirit. It is their journey from inception of the idea to making it a reality that defines them. And, when we talk about innovative leaders, they like to deliver more than expected.
Innovative leaders are the ones who are well aware that great results come from lot of strategic planning, sufficient preparation, and diligent execution. They cast a shadow over their weakness by playing with their strengths. They diligently grab the opportunities, make them count, and maximize the chances of success. They are conscious of playing their role to the best of their capabilities and making the most of the opportunities in their hand. Their innovativeness helps them to revamp the future in a creative way. They are conscious of serving their customers by leveraging the potential of technology.
You can find all the above-mentioned traits in Mr. Mazin Ahmed Al Ghunaim. Al Ghunaim is the renowned name in the mortgage industry in Saudi Arabia. Currently, he is serving as the CEO of Saudi-based Bidaya Home Finance. His leadership capability is bringing more than 25 years of professional experience in the financial services to facilitate operations, maximize revenue and productivity, and ensure strong future growth. He has worked in leading banks and financial institutions such as Saudi Investment Bank, Arab National Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. He is a Retail Banker with wide experience in products development, process improvements, customer service and portfolio management covering Personal Loans, Auto finance and Mortgage. Moreover, Al Ghunaim comes with an excellent record of achievements in building as well as managing large business portfolios locally, regionally, and internationally.
We at Insights Success, caught up with Al Ghunaim to shed light on his entrepreneurial journey, his viewpoint towards the finance industry, and his contribution to the same through Bidaya.
Delivering Something Revolutionary to Mortgage Market
The journey of Bidaya began in 2015. Bidaya was setup with a vision to enabling home ownership for all. As a startup, Al Ghunaim mentions the challenges were multi-fold. Amongst the first things was finding the right team and with that in place it was about building a strategy that could be executed.
Al Ghunaim recalls the founders of Bidaya saying to him that they need to have 50 branches across the kingdom to get going, and he paused and questioned “How about having no branches and we build a digital platform to serve our customers leveraging technology.” That was the starting point. Al Ghunaim was confident that with a young dynamic team and given his retail experience in leading banks across the region, they will be able to deliver something revolutionary to the mortgage market.
With the customer at the heart of everything Bidaya does, the company believes it will enable its partners, its shareholders and the broader community to support Bidaya in promoting home ownership for all.
Living by Values and Delivering to Society
Talking about work culture, Al Ghunaim says that a good organization culture sits at the heart of any successful business. Bidaya leadership team lives the values of Bidaya every day. They keep the team engaged, empowered and most importantly in a positive frame of mind. They love what they do and what they deliver to society.
Responding Unprecedently to Unprecedented Times
Al Ghunaim mentions that what happened when COVID-19 pandemic hit, was a perfect disruption. The state of the equilibrium is not in balance. In his opinion, only those who got into risk management were able to reduce the impact on their companies.
Financial markets witnessed unprecedented moves, equities, securities one can name it. It was a big mess and on top of that, everyone had to take care of themselves and their loved ones.
In such critical times, Bidaya created a Corona Risk Committee (CRC) with an operating framework that continued to focus on five (5) aspects: Health and safety, business continuity, cash and liquidity, communication and disclosures, and strategy and recovery. With CRC in place, the board of directors and Al Ghunaim had a new navigating tool.
This tool has been Bidaya’s North Star in these challenging times, as it has helped it to align on both short-term and long-term business goals.
Being Competent and Delivering Expected Return on Equity
According to Al Ghunaim, looking at the future and developing technologies are empowering to the consumers across markets to access more products and services on demand. He says that businesses on the other hand will need to manage both product volumes and customer experiences in an efficient manner so they can continue to be competitive and deliver expected return on equity.
Establishing an Advisory Service
Al Ghunaim is proud that Bidaya Home Finance has so far financed more than 6,500 customers resulting in more than 24,000 Saudi Citizens being housed.
Given the huge market for the First-Home-Buyer segment, Al Ghunaim states that he would like to establish an advisory service as a contribution to this segment to help and assist them to take the right call when buying their first homes.
Sharpening the Competencies
While Bidaya continues to sharpen its competencies around risk-management, it has not lost focus on its aspirations of being the largest mortgage provider in the country, both in size and profitability. To that end, Bidaya Home Finance Board has approved a 5-year strategic plan, the implementation has already started
Being an Islamic home finance company, Bidaya has won four noteworthy and prestigious awards in Global Finance magazine’s consumer digital banking categories – Best bill payment and presentment, Best digital mortgage bank, Best in social media and marketing services, and best Islamic digital bank.
Influencing Factors Behind Growth
When we asked about what people, or books, or life factors have influenced and impacted you Al Ghunaim says that he has been blessed to have had the family who taught him to serve others before self.
“I am grateful for all the challenges that life has thrown at me and some inspiring leaders that I worked with. They all consciously, unconsciously shaped the man I am today”, he asserts.
Recognizing the way to Capture the Opportunities
The financial industry landscape is reforming itself as one speaks. There will be many opportunities coming one’s way. Al Ghunaim advises aspiring entrepreneurs that venture private funds are the best way to group up and devolve ideas. He believes that this is the ideal way to capture the opportunities.