Paul Merchants Limited (PML), lead by Mr. S Paul, is ranked the top principal agent of Western Union in whole of Asia Pacific Region in the field of International Money Transfer, serving more than 6 Lacs customers every month across the length and breadth of the country and paying out 220 million dollars every month to the customers. From starting as a sub agent of an oil company in 1964, to building a large business conglomerate having diversified interests in international money transfer, foreign exchange, travel, electronic media, film production, it has been a long and glorious journey for Mr. Paul, who dreams of taking his corporate group lead by PML to further heights in the future.
Mr. Paul was born on July 22, 1947, at Tapa Mandi in Barnala district of Punjab. Earlier on in his life he learned the tricks of business from his father, Late Sh. Banarsi Das, who was in the business of commission agents and cloth merchants. After completing his graduation, Mr. Paul decided to work independently and started working as a sub-agent of ESSO (Now known as HPCL India) in 1964. Talking about the early days, Mr. Paul recollects, “We used to go from village to village to supply the oil and kerosene to the farmers located in far-flung places of rural Punjab, to push the sales on one hand and to trigger the propensity to use mechanical methods in agriculture as the farmers in those times were not much aware of using machines for the purpose of agriculture. He then collaborated with Indian Oil Corporation as their distributor and distributed petroleum products in the region and gradually established a fleet of four gas stations, two kerosene oil agencies and one LPG agency. In 1971, when country was on war with Pakistan, Mr. Paul took an exemplary initiative of running his petrol stations 24 hours a day to ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel to all military and private vehicles pressed in Army duty. For his services to the nation during war time, he received special recognition.
In 1978, Mr. Paul shifted base to Chandigarh and became the distributor of Bombay Dyeing for the states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Chandigarh.
In 1998, PML tied up with Western Union Financial Services Inc., USA, as a principal agent, to offer Western Union Money Transfer services and commenced its operations in the year 1999. This was the turning point in the business life of Mr. Paul, who saw the company achieve dazzling heights.
Mr. Paul says initially struggled a lot to establish the business as hawala transactions were more prevalent at that time. “I went from village to village in Punjab to raise awareness about legal route to receive money from abroad. I put in hard efforts to educate people that Western Union money transfer was a safe, fast, legal and reliable mode to receive money within minutes. It took time and sincere hard work on the part of my team to win the trust of people but once they realised truth in our persuasion, there was no looking back for us,” remembers Mr. Paul.
Mr Paul further adds that “The thought and realisation that international remittances are a crucial source for thousands of households in India to sustain their lives, triggered my passion for this service and I whole heartedly started investing my blood and sweat in growth and expansion of this service. Within no time PML unleashed towering growth in this field and rolled out unprecedented spell of upsurge and expansion. A little indicative of the impeccable progress made by the company is the fact that with a humble beginning with just eight offices in 1999, today the company is providing this service from as many as more than 20,000 locations comprising of own offices and franchisee locations all over India. The outcome of intuitive policies coupled with due diligent implementation, efforts of the dedicated staff and thoughtfully entered strategic alliances is that today PML is ranked as the top Principal Agent of Western Union in whole of Asia Pacific Region.
In the year 2015, Western Union had constituted an Agent Advisory Board, which along with the Executive Committee of the Board, advises the Western Union Board of Directors on all key strategic matters. Mr Paul has been nominated to the said Western Union Agent Advisory Board, which has 8 members from top Agent Partners across the Globe.
Mr. Paul has always been working relentlessly towards broadening company’s horizon and taking brand PML to unchartered territories. Towards the end of 2010, he set the tone for PML making a significant presence in the highly promising sector of international tours, ticketing and holiday packages. As on today PML’ travel division, which is christened ‘PML Holidays’, has at its disposal holiday packages tailored for the needs of people from all walks of society as per their preferences and pocket. Today, PML is not just accredited with IATA but also affiliated with the Ministry of Tourism and has memberships of TAAI, PATA and ASTA.
Also, the group owns Satellite TV channels named ‘Channel Divya,’ ‘9X Tashan,’ and ‘9X Jhakaas’ and is exploring the possibility of expanding its channel bouquet by acquiring other satellite channels.
As per Mr. Paul, “Even our business of providing international money transfer services is a social service in itself as this service provides emotional and social bonding to the individual with his family. Apart from the social aspect, PML is instrumental in bringing valuable foreign exchange to India in the form of inward remittances. In the year 2015, PML contributed to the tune USD 2.45 Billion to the Forex reserves of the country in the form of International Remittances.” Given his eminent social and industrial standing, Mr. Paul has been nominated as Councillor in the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh by the Hon’ble Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh, in the Financial Services Sector category.
Introducing business norms that were ahead of times, and by investing in strategic relationships, Mr. Paul always upheld the fact that business success lies in value addition brought along by people associated with the group. He has always tried to build a strong bond with the human resources of the Group and worked very closely with business associates and customers. Several employees have been associated with the company for long and speak very highly of him.
Realizing the power of mobile technology, Paul Group is coming up with highly robust and intuitive platform offering option of making payment and a host of other features by the convenience of a mobile phone. Named as ‘Paul Money’, the Group Company, Paul Fincap (P) Ltd, has already obtained the license from RBI to operate a Payment System for issuing Prepaid Instruments including mobile-based payment solutions. In future, Mr. Paul plans to include more and more financial services to the existing bouquet of services offered by the Paul group.