MAN WITH THE MIDAS TOUCH
MG George Muthoot Chairman, The Muthoot Group
"I STRONGLY BELIEVE IN OUR MOTO OF UNCHANGING VALUES IN THE CHANGING TIMES"
The crowned ‘inventor’ of the flourishing gold loan business in India, M George Muthoot, Chairman, The Muthoot Group, claims to own the largest private gold holding in the country. Rightly so, this industry forerunners with a strong network of 4500 branches across the rural and urban length and breadth of the country, is one of the strongest contender for acquiring a bank licence from RBI. As MillionaireAsia India unfolds the pages of the untold story of this business family that has for over 800 years been dedicated to serving the people of Kerala, the 19th generation of this legendary lineage, M George Muthoot tells us about the evolution of their group from a traditional timber trading business to being one of largest financial service enterprises in the country.
Starting the day with a morning prayer followed by a meeting where each employee across the 4500 branches of the Muthoot Group pens down his/ her tasks for the day, is just one of very many Unique practices at the Muthoot Group. At helm of affairs of this fast evolving group which is spread across 16 business verticals, M George Muthoot is just as strongly spiritual and philanthropic as he is committed to the growth of the Muthoot Group. He hails from Kerala’s land owning Syrian Christian community who are known to be the descendants of St. Thomas – one of the apostles of Christ. To help understand their group, M George Muthoot takes us down the history of 800 years when his ancestors, with a pack of family owned elephants and over 5000 employees lead a timber trade business.
Roots in Philanthropy
The Chairman’s office at the Group headquarters in the capital city exemplifies the Group’s business history – be it the huge poster of a pack of elephants, photographs of group founder (the Chairman’s grandfather), or a map of the small village in Kerala where this story began. These are all symbols which reiterate the group philosophy ‘Unchanging values in changing times’. As M George Muthoot explains, “The background of the family and our business goes back 800 years. All the generations of our forefathers were the heads / leaders of their region. While over 5000 people worked for our family, we in-turn took upon ourselves the responsibility to look after these people. Till about 126 years ago, all our business was only charity-driven.”
Philanthropy and development of their people was the core of the family’s endeavours. He explains, “We have built 70% of our village in Kerala.
“THE REASON WHY OVER SO MANY YEARS THE PEOPLE OF THIS TOWN CONTINUED TO FOLLOW OUR FAMILY IS BECAUSE OF OUR STRONG BELIEFS IN – ETHICS, VALUES, RELIABILITY, DEPENDABILITY, TRUSTWORTHINESS, GOODWILL AND INTEGRITY. THESE VALUES ARE NOT ONLY A PART OF OUR FAMILY ETHOS, BUT ARE TODAY ALSO IMBIBED BY THE 30,000 PEOPLE WORKING WITH US. “
Till date there is no municipal corporation required there. The village runs on its own following the Panchayat system. The village is now more developed than many big towns around.”
Keeping the Trust
Emphasising the trust of the people in their family, he explains, “The reason why over so many years the people of this town continued to follow our family is because of our strong beliefs in – ethics, values, reliability, dependability, trustworthiness, goodwill and integrity. These values are not only a part of our family ethos, but are today also imbibed by the 30,000 people working with us.” He adds further, “The great family lineage which we belong to is not one of cut-throat businessmen. We have always been concerned about the welfare of our people. I believe that the success of our Group is because of God. I see God in poor people. We do tremendous amount of charity which keeps us going, but we do not believe in publicising or talking about it.”
Formation of Change
The Muthoot Group as we know it today was founded by M. George Muthoot’s grandfather, Muthoot Ninan Mathai in the year 1887. He explains, “This is a company that started from a village in Kerala. Our family had a very conserva-