1. Thou shalt manage the people with empathy
Banking is essentially an art of managing people, be it customers or staff. In a competitive environment, customers have to be treated as kings. Thus, delivering financial services to the satisfaction of customer, and prompt redressal of complaints of customers, if any, are very important. The complaints of customers should be heard with passion and remedial action should be taken promptly. The bankers should also take pro-active actions to increase customer awareness with regard to charges applicable to the financial services and the available redressal mechanisms.
Managing staff by providing them with a comfortable work environment is also germane to ensure the quality of banking services.
2. Thou shalt strive to become a knowledge worker
A knowledge worker is one who apart from knowing how to do a work and what he is doing also knows why is he doing what he is doing. We are transiting from an agrarian society, through an industrial society to a knowledge society. In the knowledge society, it is the knowledge institutions and knowledge workers who would thrive. Just because you have completed your studies and got into a job, you should not stop learning. Your career in the banking sector should be a learning experience. Now, while accomplishing your desk work in the bank, definitely you will go through a learning process. But that is not enough. You should develop and maintain reading habit to update your knowledge base. Because knowledge is the power of an employee and once you lose it, you are nowhere. Thus, there has to be a conscious effort from your side to keep your learning curve alive and be better than the rest. And do not restrict your knowledge base to developments in the banking sector only; rather all of you should develop a fairly good understanding of the economy over a period of time. Then only you can become a sensitive banker, i.e., a banker who is sensitive to the needs of a growing economy.
3. Thou shalt be accountable for all your work
This is the most important quality which a banker should have. There should be accountability towards the society because you are working in a public institution and dealing with public money. And whatever you do in the bank as part of accomplishing your responsibilities are subject to scrutiny. Many of the financial frauds have taken place with the help of bank employees in the past. Thus, if the employees of a bank are sincere and committed to their institution and to the society as a whole, chances of financial frauds can be minimized. Further, try to know more about your customers and their occupations. This will also help in reducing financial frauds as well as financing of terrorism using bank funds. Thus, a vigilant and accountable bank employee is an asset to the banking sector. So, try to become an asset rather than a liability.
4. Thou shalt do hard work
All of you should remember always that hard work is the ‘mantra’ of success. Nothing can substitute your hard work. And those who do hard work during the initial years of their career, will be the ultimate winners in the system. Thus, try to have a positive attitude towards work and try to have a good understanding about the challenges ahead. Prepare yourself for meeting those challenges and meeting the expectations of your institution. At the end of the day you will be rewarded in one way or another. So, do not hesitate to take more responsibilities in the initial part of your career. Be pro-active and do more work; this will improve your understanding of the subject.
5. Thou shalt develop the right attitude
At times, the attitude of the bank staff also keeps rural illiterate customers away from the banking system. So, as new entrants to the banking industry, try to build up friendly customer relationships. Do not discriminate customers based on their caste, sex, education and also by financial background. Try to extend fair services to all customers of the bank irrespective of their background. You all should take extra efforts to bring financially illiterate customers to the bank. This is because a good bank should not confine it’s operations to metropolitan areas, it should be willing and innovative enough to expand its services to under banked rural and semi-urban areas. Thus, as employees of the banking sector you have an important role to play in furthering financial inclusion, dealing with underprivileged sections of society and ensuring adequate flow of credit to activities associated with such people.
6. Thou shalt attempt to become a pioneer
Globalization opens up lot of opportunities for the banking sector from across the globe. However, to take advantage of these opportunities, banks have to prepare themselves. Banks will have to work in a multi-cultural and multi-linguistic environment to compete with the globally active banks. A group of efficient, young and well educated employees is a sine qua non for achieving this competitiveness. So, as employees of the banking sector, try to improve your communication skills, try to learn about the developments in the global banking sector and try to learn about the emerging opportunities. Be innovative in taking advantage of the emerging opportunities. Because, a pioneer has always an advantage over followers. So, try to be pioneers rather than followers in your career.
7. Thou shalt develop a professional approach
Do your job with your brain, not your heart. You can be passionate about the needs and grievances of customers, but do not compromise on your logic. During the course of your careers, you might, at times, be faced with various pressures which seek to influence your decisions. Develop the ability to objectively evaluate situations, regardless of external pressures, and take the right decision – always. Do not allow your personal problems and relationships to influence your decision making process. Be objective and be efficient. One cannot become a true professional in any area unless he/ she remains committed to the core principles of the profession even under the most adverse circumstances.
8. Though shalt be analytical
Banking business, essentially, involves managing risk. This job of managing risk cannot be done efficiently without having sharp analytical capability. As employees of the banking sector you have an important role to play in shaping the financial soundness of the banking sector. While doing the banking business, try to analyse the financial background and economic activity of the customer thoroughly. This will help in limiting the growth of non-performing loans, efficient utilization of capital and higher profitability. Financial soundness is an important aspect of a good bank, especially because banking business involves public money. Further, failure of one banking institution may also trigger contagion effect across the banking sector as financial institutions are highly inter-linked.
9. Thou shalt be information literate
Technological advancements have transformed class banking into mass banking. With cost effective technologies banks were able to change the face of banking. ATMs, debit cards, credit cards, internet banking and phone banking have enabled customers to do banking without visiting the bank branch. Further, the Business correspondent model and mobile banking also depend on the latest technology to expand the banking network. The electronic transactions through NEFT, ECS and RTGS have increased the speed of fund transfer considerably. A good banker should continuously innovate and update themselves with the latest technological advancements to make banking further easier and convenient to customers. Thus, try to develop a good understanding of the latest technological developments. A bank can implement latest technology safely only with a strong in-house technical expertise. In this mileu, you must “be information literate”, i.e. third generation literate. It is not enough to be a first generation literate, i.e. you know how to read and write, or to be second generation literate, i.e. to be computer literate, but to achieve information literacy. When transiting to a knowledge society and to be a successful banker, it is critical to be information literate.
10. Thou shalt avoid complacency during good times and not lose hope during bad times
This is a very important commandment of a good banker because complacency hampers progress and may lead to sharp downfall and loss. Complacency can affect anybody but is all the more relevant to the financial sector. We cannot afford to be complacent even for a moment. You are particularly advised to avoid complacency during good times as otherwise downturn may come any time. It is always advisable to conserve your energies during good times to be used during bad times. You should not only be satisfied with your victories but also try to achieve something better than whatever you have already achieved. Lastly, life is not easy; it is difficult, whether of an individual or an institution. Bad times sometimes will come, and sometimes, all bad things may come together. In such times, do not become desperate. Wait and Hope. Do not lose hope, but lie low and pray to God because good times will return soon. This is my last commandment not only for banking but for any career.