Mahesh AdityaChairman and CEO of Santander Consumer United Statesleads with a customer-focused mindset while prioritizing the communities SCUSA serves.
En route to the top, Aditya served as chief operating officer and chief risk officer of the lender before taking the helm in December 2019.
Amid the pandemic, Aditya led the SCUSA team through philanthropic efforts, including a COVID-related forbearance program, donating $5.6 million to nonprofits, and his latest pledge of $35 million to bridge the digital divide in underserved American communities through a partnership with technology and the community. non-profit Comp-U-Dopt.
More recently, Santander bank completed its $2.5 billion acquisition of SCUSA on January 31, officially removing the lender from the publicly traded market.
Auto Finance News spoke with Aditya about his leadership style, insight into lending trends, and SCUSA’s ongoing community outreach.
Auto Finance Excellence: What are your business goals in about 10 words or less?
Mahesh Aditya: To be a digital lending innovator and employer of choice.
TFA: What’s your favorite leadership advice you’ve ever received?
MY : There’s no limit to what we can do if we don’t care who gets the credit. It took me a few years to internalize this advice, and every time I tried to live by this creed, it always had a very positive impact on people. I’d like to think that when Santander Consumer took the opportunity during the pandemic to reach out to borrowers and offer relief programs – which benefited almost a quarter of our customers – we did so without doing stories or worry about publicity. It was the right thing to do, and our employees were proud to be part of SC and to serve customers in this way.
TFA: Who has had the greatest influence on your career?
MY : My father was always my role model and someone I wanted to be like. He was a career army officer and a very accomplished cricketer. He always acted with enormous courage and, due to his firm beliefs and convictions, rarely took the most convenient path. Doing the right thing was most important to him.
TFA: What do you think is the most underrated lending trend?
MY : We rarely hear about it, but during the pandemic most banks and lenders have taken very aggressive steps to give back to their customers and to society. We have an opportunity to think boldly about how we come together to provide infrastructure and equal access to technology and education to people who trust us by giving us their savings or borrowing money . We have an obligation to our society to work together and give back.
TFA: What would your employees be surprised to learn about you?
MY : I could barely speak until I was 4 years old. I more than compensated.
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