Fintech Watch | Exclusive Interview with Rajesh Shet, Co-Founder and CEO of SahiBandhu Gold Loan

“Our goal is to become the top gold loan aggregator platform in India, bringing people into the formal financial fold in the country.” Mr. Rajesh Shet, Co-founder and CEO of SahiBandhu

In a world where financial innovation is steering economic evolution, Rajesh Shet, the Co-founder and CEO of SahiBandhu, emerges as a significant figure revolutionizing the gold loan sector in India. SahiBandhu, a tech-enabled gold loan platform, stands at the pinnacle of the country’s financial landscape, redefining how people perceive gold as a financial asset.

In this exclusive interview with Fintech Watch, Rajesh Shet delves into the inception of SahiBandhu, the transformation it has brought to the gold loan ecosystem, and the strategic aspirations that fuel its journey towards becoming India’s premier aggregator platform.


Could you share the story behind the inception of SahiBandhu and your mission to touch lives across India with a tech-enabled gold loan platform?

Growing up in a family of jewelers, I witnessed the emotional significance of gold and its role in bringing happiness to families. However, I also saw many resorting to shadow banking for gold loans, burdened by high-interest rates and falling into debt traps, eventually losing possession of their valuable assets. Since then, it was clear to me that a solution was required that provided people access to formal lending, and SahiBandhu was incepted.

Drawing on my experience in scaling such businesses, I collaborated with like-minded individuals to incubate SahiBandhu, aiming to steer people away from shadow banking and offer them a safer financial alternative.


How has SahiBandhu transformed the gold loan ecosystem in India, especially in Tier-2 cities?

SahiBandhu has quickly emerged as India’s leading gold loan aggregator, having expanded our network across 620+ districts in the country. Until now, we have served over 2,81,000 customers, with loans worth INR 10,800+ crores disbursed. Our gold loan products have been designed, to keep customers at the forefront, providing customers with access to avail credit through formal banking. Across India, we have provided our customers with a seamless experience and made their gold loan journey simple, convenient and quick at their doorstep.

A significant section of the population belonging to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities view gold as a primary source of credit. Our seamless, convenient service reaches customers across India, with 24% of loans going to farmers and 25% to women. We’ve successfully destigmatized gold pledging for loans, making it as acceptable as any other consumer loan, thus benefiting countless individuals.


What are your key strategies and aspirations for SahiBandhu in the coming years, particularly in becoming India’s leading aggregator platform?

Our goal is to become the top gold loan aggregator platform in India, bringing people to the formal financial fold in the country. At SahiBandhu, a consumer-first approach lies at the heart of our strategy. Through our technology-driven platform, we aim to provide the best customer experience, making the gold loan journey secure, user-friendly and hassle-free. In the coming years, we aspire to become the de facto choice for customers looking to access a gold loan.


You actively engage in industry forums and events. Could you share your insights on the future of FinTech in India and your role in shaping it?

India’s FinTech industry is poised to play a vital role in its economic and social development. In the next five years, India’s gold loan market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 15%-20%, but approximately 65% of the market remains unorganised. Platforms like SahiBandhu will play a crucial role in facilitating a shift to making the sector highly organised, directly enabling socio-economic growth in the country.


What are your expectations from the upcoming festive seasons? Has the lower rate for NBFC affected the business over the last year?

Each year, the festive season marks a period when gold loan disbursals are significantly higher. This year, we expect better outcomes for the gold loan industry at large, as financial institutions have increased their focus on growing their gold loan assets under management (AUM), which are considered highly profitable. There is also increasing awareness of how easy it is to access gold loans within the population, which will further push the demand during this year’s festive season.


Beyond your professional endeavours, your interests in reading, music, fitness, and social services are intriguing. How do these aspects complement your leadership journey?

As time passes, reading and music can be powerful companions that provide an instant respite from the stress that is brought on by professional pursuits. Focusing on health and well-being is always advantageous, and the benefits carry over into other facets of life. I recently participated in the 10th edition of the Ladakh Marathon, which was the epitome of high-altitude running. Running transforms into a meditative journey and can be described as chasing dreams made tangible.

During breaks, I read up on fintech trends, spend time with family, and enjoy cooking. Engaging in recreational activities rejuvenates me. I am also committed to helping the underprivileged and supporting disadvantaged students through education. My interests in fitness, sports, reading, music, and social service keep me motivated and energized always. I believe in ‘Keep innovating, without the fear of failure.’