07 Jan 2018
3 min read
NIC Asia is regarded as one of the most respectable banks in Nepal. It was recognised as the Bank of the Year 2013-Nepal by The Banker magazine immediately after the merger between NIC Bank and the Bank of Asia, in June 2013. With its capital structure, branch network, balance-sheet management and customer base, NIC Asia is one of the largest commercial banks in the country.
“Having a performance-driven work culture has gotten us to where we are today,” says Gautam Dangol, the head of Human Resource Management in NIC Asia. In this week’s Biz Wiz interview with VMAG’s Pasang Dorjee Lama, Dangol explains how NIC Asia has built a remarkable reputation in Nepal’s banking sector—in large part by implementing the right human resource management practices to help the overall growth of a bank.
The NIC Asia difference
NIC Asia’s sole aim is to provide great customer satisfaction, as is the case with many other leading banks in Nepal. But what sets us apart from other banks is our ability to work with novel concepts. One such scheme that has set us apart is our Grand Home Loan campaign, under which we provide home loans at 10.5 per cent interest (which is a comparatively very low rate) with absolutely no service charge or any other extra cost—such as a processing fee and variation charges.
Such campaigns have helped us become market leaders. We employ more than 2,000 personnel, across 151 branches, to ensure that we provide the best services to our customers. And almost 80 per cent of our workforce is below the age of 30 because we believe the younger generation of employees have a new view of, and relationship with, the world; they have grown up in a world that is increasingly driven by technology and we use their familiarity with today’s changing realities to help shape NIC in many ways.
We are determined to succeed in this competitive market, and to get to where we aim to be, NIC Asia has always strived to do groundbreaking work in Nepal’s financial sector. Till date we have carried out many risk-management practices that have been deemed unorthodox by most people. For instance, when we set a staggering 12 per cent interest on fixed deposits, other banks were quick to dismiss the proposition and deem this idea imprudent. After acknowledging our breakthrough results, however, many banks consequently followed in our footsteps.
The importance of Human Resource (HR) for NIC Asia
Skilled workforce breeds optimum output in any establishment, thus NIC Asia believes in nurturing and training every employee from the get-go. We also believe that keeping our personnel satisfied and fulfilled in their roles in the company is significant in the bank’s as a whole bearing fruitful results. NIC Asia has a large number of young employees, and we understand that youngsters these days are more interested in learning and leading purposeful lives—rather than just having ‘jobs’; it’s thus the HR manager’s duty to assign employees with challenging enough works in order to help them grow in their respective fields. Our dedication towards learning about and developing our employees has bagged us the Nepal BFSI Excellence and Leadership Award 2017 for the Best Employer Award.
NIC Asia’s efforts towards workforce
As the head of HR management, I believe an HR manager needs to be imaginative and use the best methods to attract, retain and motivate employees. Actually understanding their duties will help managers deal with employees in a more productive manner. NIC Asia understands the importance of a happy workforce, so we are starting a ‘learning and development’ academic programme for banking/finance students in the next few years. It will be the first training facility in Nepal for immediate college graduates that will focus on grooming the students in a professional setting. Proper human resource management is paramount in determining a company’s success, so this initiative will further help us become stronger players in this business.
Challenges faced by HR departments
Searching for talented young professionals is tough work, so the responsibility of an HR manager is a challenging one. With several banks rapidly adopting footprint expansion, which means setting up branches nationwide, finding qualified staff has become extremely competitive. When banks fail to do this, they end up seeking out employees from their rivals. This can lead to employees being placed in higher positions in their new offices even though they may not have the adequate qualification, consequently risking the entire company’s operations.
Even after finding the right staff, syncing jobs and personnel still remains an issue. For new employees, adapting to a new space is bound to be challenging, so this is when the HR department comes into play. It is up to the HR head to strategically manage people and maintain a good rapport with them.
A bright future owing to great personnel
With our top-notch workforce, NIC Asia aims to achieve absolute customer loyalty through improved operational efficiency and sustainable profitability. Our primary objective is to expand our branch network reach from 151 to 250-300 by 2020.