Cambridge, MA ? Feroze Waheed has launched Astra Business Services, a U.S. debt-collection agency with operations in India and a management team that has, on average, more than twenty-five years’ experience in lending and collections. At a time of record consumer debt and rising interest rates, Astra is responding to pressure from U.S. businesses to recover a greater share of their delinquent receivables. Astra accomplishes this with a new business model that includes relocating American management and the CEO to its Indian operations to assure that the Astra workforce operates with a thorough understanding of U.S. business methods, culture, laws and regulations.
“Many consumers are stretched to the limit by payments on mortgages, home equity lines and credit cards. As interest rates go up, there are more late payments to retailers, banks and healthcare providers. That drives up the cost of doing business and puts upward pressure on prices. Astra helps companies to keep their bad debt losses low so they can keep prices down for all consumers and stay competitive,” said Waheed, Astra Business Services CEO. “We are encouraged by the early demand for our services in the healthcare, credit card and telecommunications fields.”
Astra’s business model offers a new way to collect American receivables. This includes spending more time with each consumer and working more thoroughly through receivables portfolios than is possible in the U.S. In contrast to the chronic shortage of American collectors, the availability of experienced university graduates in India and the economics of doing business there make Astra’s model work. With American executives and first-line managers onsite providing training and supervision, Astra’s Indian professionals are able to accomplish more with U.S. consumers.
Sophisticated software and telecommunications technology make it possible for Astra’s account executives to work as if they were next door to American consumers. Computers at secure locations in the U.S. and India communicate over private fiber-optic channels to protect consumer information that is entrusted to Astra.
About Astra Business Services
Astra was incorporated in March 2004 with substantial financial backing from the U.S. venture capital community. WestBridge Capital Partners led the initial $5.5 million funding. The company’s growing staff stands at more than 100 with sales and customer service personnel in the U.S. and overseas operations in Gurgaon, a fast-growing suburb of Delhi, India. Astra’s U.S. offices are located in Cambridge, Mass., Dallas, Texas and San Francisco, Calif.