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How A $14-Billion Man From India Took Over NZ Mortgage Market

Ajay Kumar of Global Finance.

Sitting across the table from me, as Ajay Kumar reaches out for a handshake, he exudes an air of unassuming intrigue. Sporting a plain shirt neatly tucked into a pair of simple trousers, the man from Bareilly isn't trying too hard to impress. His mortgage and life and health insurance portfolio of more than $14 billion, one of the biggest among Kiwi-Indian companies, speaks more for him than any bells and whistles could.

"Customer is king," he tells me, his lips puckered and a pause so long it's hard to tell if he is allowing me time for that thought to sink in, or waiting for a response. Kumar takes exceptional pride in servicing the customer well, an approach he says has served him successfully for 25 years now.



Global Financial Services Ltd, or Global Finance, the company Kumar founded in 1999 celebrated its silver jubilee on March 5, 2024. The company has six offices across Auckland today, but it started from his home garage.

"Back then, banks in New Zealand didn't have too many Indian customers coming in for loans," explains Kumar. "Many of these migrants came from rural areas and with little or no English proficiency they found it difficult to talk to bankers to get a loan."

Back in 1996, Kumar was himself new to New Zealand, having moved after working for nearly 20 years in banking back home. He worked as a contractual mortgage broker for local banks before deciding to launch his own business. Knowledge of financial processes wasn't the only thing he had going for him.  

"I knew Punjabi. That's why many of my early clients found it easy to work with me. I could understand their needs and then take their case to the banks here."

Kumar's pride in a trademark product his company offers, the secret sauce that he says sets him apart from the competition. "Banks here offer a 30-year home loan in most cases. But with our understanding of banking processes, we can help you wrap up the installments sooner than that."

That claim may sound too good to be true, but it has stood the test of the law. A competitor took Kumar to a business tribunal over that claim several years back. "We know not every mortgage broker understands the procedures as we do. We explained our product to the jury and they ruled in our favour," Kumar says.

Over the years, Global Finance has won several accolades for its stellar work in the country, including honours from leading banks like Westpac, ANZ and ASB. "In 2016, we were also featured in Deloitte Fast50, which is a list of New Zealand's top 50 fastest-growing companies. It's rare for a company from our industry to get into that list," Kumar points out.

Beyond the realm of business, Kumar has regularly helped the Kiwi-Indian community. He has offered his services to several religious institutions in times of distress, helping set up some of Auckland's pioneering Kiwi-Indian landmarks. 

Kumar believes his single-minded focus on customer journey and satisfaction has held his company in good stead over 25 years. "We now even have second-generation customers, and it's a matter of great pride for us. Many of our customers who left us for other mortgage brokers have returned to us because they know what's best for them."

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