Collection Centre of Standard Chartered Bank - Assignment Point
Collection Centre of Standard Chartered Bank

The broad objective of the report is to analyze the operational effectiveness of the Collection Centre of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). Other objectives are explain the management policy applied in the Collection Centre and highlighting the collection strategies and procedures. Here also focus on the management structure and MIS and Performances of NPV and benefit-cost analyses of the collection projects. Finally identify the determinants of collection cost and recovery amount.

Introduction

Banking business during the recent time period has witnessed a sharp change in its character and composition due to number of reformative measures and growing demand for a variety of customer services. An addition to these changes is introducing Collection Centre with employees who only concentrate on the collection and recovery activities and thus separating the collection activities form the other banking activities.

 

This report is prepared based on data of the Collection Centre of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). In preparing the present report, the practical experience of doing internship in the Collection Centre of SCB was taken into account. The time period of the internship program was three months. During that period, both primary and secondary data on collection and recovery, performance, management policy, collection process, etc. were gathered and analyzed for the purpose of the present study.

Standard Chartered Bank, the leading multinational private bank, is well-established in growth markets and aims to be the right partner for its customers. It combines deep local knowledge with global capability and employs about 50,000 people in over 500 locations in more than 50 countries in the Asia Pacific Region, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the United Kingdom and the Americas. It is one of the world’s most international banks with a management team comprising 70 nationalities. SCB started its operation in Bangladesh at Chittagong in 1947 and since that the bank is treated as the top class multinational bank for Bangladesh. Recently, the bank has created a remarkable example by establishing its Collection Division which deals with delinquent customers and collect monthly installment amount from them. The Centre is responsible to control delinquency ratio.

The Collection Centre deals with three accounts – delinquent account, over limit account and FID account. The Centre is led by Head of Collection with 4 managers and 9 teams. The Members deal with credit cards and banking products. Banking products include personal loan, flexi loan, auto loan, business installment loan and mortgage. Collection of credit card is arranged by 4 teams of different buckets and that of banking products is arranged by 3 teams. Two team deals with recovery and legal activities. Each of these teams is led by one Team Leader.

To provide a fair performance tracking mechanism and a basis for incentive plans or performance-based remuneration schemes, balance score card is prepared by the Team Leaders. A formal call monitoring process is in action to upgrade Collectors’ skills in performing their main function of making calls to the clients to remind them of their dues and influence them to make payment. Other incentive programs are also arranged by the Centre to motivate its members to raise their performance levels to a higher standard. Its ESAU model motivates them to perform better and keep hold of the good resources. Money collection has 90% weight in performance calculation. The Collectors of higher bucket and the Team Leaders are also responsible for visiting the customers to inform them the condition of accounts and the benefits of payments. Different types of trainings are also arranged for the members.

In the Collection Centre, the Collectors mainly perform two jobs in the collection process, one is tele-call to delinquent customers and another one is letter sent to delinquent customers. Generally, the calls are frequently made in the collection process. When the accounts seem to be difficult and risky, letters are sent. Minimum mandated collection strategies include pre-delinquency strategies, over limit strategy, dunning letter, settlement policy, debt relief policy, recovery strategy, agency strategy and legal strategy. For secured products, debt relief strategy and repossession strategy are applied.

Performance ratios calculated for banking products based on the month January, February and March, 2007 fluctuated for the short time frame. Sill an alarming tendency is identified among the Collectors of higher buckets as they are succeeded in regularizing accounts, but the deviation from the targeted amount is still high, whereas the Collectors of X DPD show better performance irrespective of banking products.

The recovery of the Collection Centre is positively related to commission cost. The correlation coefficient between the variables is 0.99 and the factor explains 98% of the variations in the amount of recovery. The multiple regression analysis is significant at 1% level.

The study found that establishment of Collection Centre of SCB could enhance its operational efficiency in collection and recovery and maintain customers’ goodwill. The activities of the Collection Centre have positive influence on bank’s overall profitability and reducing the amount of provision. In comparison to the benefit of collection, the project of separating the Centre is still being proved as a cost effective and profitable intervention.

In Bangladesh, collection and recovery of loan is a vital issue, probably no less important than the law and order issue. It could be a tough job- a battle against one of the most powerful segments of the society- the rich. Public opinion needs to be mobilized and neutral media should get involved against defaulters. The debate on the relationship between commercial banks’ scope and their efficiency in handling defaulters and recovery has gained momentum in recent years.

Objective of the Report:

The broad objective of the report is to analyze the operational effectiveness of the Collection Centre of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). Keeping it in mind, the study includes some specific objectives that are stated below:

  • Examining the management policy applied in the Collection Centre
  • Highlighting the collection strategies and procedures
  • Focusing on the management structure and MIS
  • Assessing the dynamics of collection and recovery activities in terms of trend
  • Identifying the determinates of collection cost and recovery amount
  • Performing NPV and benefit-cost analyses of the collection projects
  • Developing capacity plan for month March 2007

 

Methodology of Data Collection:

The primary and secondary sources of data have been used in preparing this paper. The concerned organization – ‘Collection Centre of Standard Chartered Bank’ was surveyed physically as the part of the opportunity of continuing internship in the Collection Centre. The instruments of data collection were face to face discussion and practical experience of working there. Interviews with the Head of Collection, Managers, Team Leaders, Supervisors and Collectors went a long way in assisting to prepare the report. Face to face conversation and discussion of the Collectors with customers and the conversation over telephones with responding to their query were analyzed.

Secondary information is also widely used in this paper. The Centre’s published and stored materials, like- top sheets, operational statistics and relevant available literature were reviewed for the report. The secondary data were also collected from the officials of the Centre to cover the architecture and infrastructure of the process. Extensive search from various sources was conducted. Helpful information about loan default culture and relevant regulations were collected from books, journals and online publications produced by both academicians and consulting firms. The collected information was abundantly used to develop the theoretical framework. Moreover, the desk study covered different local newspapers to see the present condition of loan default condition in Bangladesh.

 

The Organization:

Organizational Overview:

Standard Chartered Bank derives its name after two banks – Standard Bank of British South Africa and the chartered Bank of India, Australia and China. The merger took place in 1969. Standard Chartered Bank is regulated by the Bank of England and is a clearing bank in the United Kingdom.

The new millennium brought with it two of the largest acquisition in the history of the bank- the acquisition of the Grindlays Bank from the ANZ group for a consideration of $1.34 billion and acquisition of the Chase Consumer Banking Corporation in the Hong Kong for $ 1.32 billion. These acquisitions demonstrate Standard Chartered Bank’s firm commitment to the emerging markets.

Standard Chartered employs 29,000 people in over 500 offices in more than 50 countries. The group provides consumer-banking services to individuals and small to medium size businesses, and offers Wholesale Banking capabilities to corporate and institutional clients. With 150 years in the emerging markets the group has unmatched knowledge and understanding of its customers in its markets. Standard Chartered recognizes its responsibilities to its staff and to the communities in which it operates. Their 150 years of history gives them a deep better understanding of their markets, their customers, and the local communities in which they operate>It is a strong platform for future growth. Standard Chartered is holding leading positions in dynamic markets. They are in some of the world’s fastest growing markets including he United Arab Emirates, India, China, and the markets of South Asia. They are present in many of their markets for several generations and have become a trusted partner to businesses and individuals. In other words, they are trusted and well respected provider of financial products and services. They have built up an enviable knowledge of local markets in Asia, Africa, the Americans and the Middle East. In many cases, they have had a presence for more than a century. Their first two branches were in Calcutta and Shanghai and we have been operating continuously in China for the last 144 years.

 

Business Activities of the Global SCB:

The bank provides a full range of products and services all around the world, some of which are mentioned here:

Global Consumer Finance:

There are seventy-six branches and finance centers under this division in about the countries with a workforce of 1616 employees. Some of the services provided by this division are unsecured personal loans, credit cards and retail store cards, vehicle related leases, etc.

Personal Banking:

There are about 410 branches with a workforce of 12,000 employees working under this division in 28 countries. Some of the services provided by this division are various kinds of insurance and loans, account maintenance, travelers’ Cheque and money exchange etc.

Global Corporate and Institutional Banking:

There are 350 branches under this division. This division provides services in 42 countries. The services provided by this division are International Trade Management, Institutional banking, Treasury, Custody and Cash Management.

Global Custodial Service:

There are 17 offices under this division and about 900 staff members, operating in 14 countries and headquartered in Singapore. Standard Chartered Equator fulfils standard Chartered Bank’s strategic commitment to provide custody and clearing services in the Greater Asia. Standard Chartered Bank has one of Asia’s leading custodians over 40 years. Equator’s focus is on the followings:

  • Commitment to equity
  • Dedication to the customer needs
  • Sustained investment in people and systems.

International Trade Management:

Principle services of this division are to the people are Import Letter of Credits (L/C), Import Bills for Collection, Back to Back Letter of Credit, Direct Export Bills for Collection, Bulk Letter of Credit Collection, Bonds and Guarantees.

Global Cash Management:

The division is operational in all countries where the group has Corporate & Institutional Banking division. Standard Chartered Bank recognizes the importance of Cash Management to corporate and institutional customers and offers a comprehensive range of services and liquidity management. Services provided worldwide by this division with stress on Asian delivery.

Global Institutional banking:

Throughout Standard Chartered Bank’s network of more than 600 offices in over 40 countries, it is very well positioned to provide a wide range of services to institutional clients: commercial, merchant & central banks; brokers and dealers; insurance companies; fund managers and others. Offices of emerging markets of Asia, Sub-Saharan, the Middle East and Latin America are complemented by the branches in the developed countries such as USA, UK and Japan and bank’s membership of the clearing systems in those countries. The Institutional banking group has a network of offices in 25 countries throughout Asia, North America, Europe, Africa and The Middle East.

Global Electronic Banking:

Electronic Banking provides various types of support through a wide range of operating systems, sweeping transaction accessories with the provision of reporting features or other special functions.

 

Organizational Structure & Division of SCB Bank:

General Structure:

As we know, the SCB in Bangladesh has its headquarters and sixteen branches in Dhaka, five in Chittagong and one branch in Sylhet, Khulna, Narayanganj and Bogra. While the full range of services is available at the headquarters, other branches offer specific services appropriate for the location. At the headquarter, the bank mainly consists of two divisions:

  • Business
  • Support

The business division has the following departments:

  • Corporate Banking Group (CBG)
  • Treasury (TSY)
  • Institutional Banking Group (IBG)
  • Consumer Banking (CB)
  • Custodial Services (CUS)

SCB is primarily corporate driven. More than the corporate banking generates 40% of its revenue group while Treasury contributes more than 20% to the overall revenue. The rest is generated from Personal Banking, Custodial Services and Institutional Banking.

The Support division provides assistance to the above business activities and consists of the following departments:

  • Operations
  • Finance, Administration and Risk Management
  • Information Technology Center
  • Human Resource Department
  • Legal and Compliance
  • External Affairs
  • Credit

Banking Services of the SCB in Bangladesh:

There are mainly two types of services provided by the SCB

  • Business or Corporate Financial Services
  • Retail or Consumer Financial Services

 

Business/ Corporate Banking of SCB:

Standard Chartered Bank’s corporate clients mainly comprise the top local and multinational companies operating in Bangladesh. The main objective of this department is to build and maintain positive relationships with their clients. As a result, each and every company is assigned a Relationship Manager, who maintains regular contacts with clients. Moreover, this department offers the following facilities to its clients:

  • Project Finance.
  • Syndicated Loans.
  • Bonds and Guarantees, etc.

As the following figure shows SCB offers corporate banking facilities to both local corporate and multinationals. Besides, it also provides commercial, institutional, quasi government or correspondence and treasury banking facilities.

MERCHANT BANKING

SCB is recognized as the leading financial institution in corporate finance services in Bangladesh. A professional management team caters to the needs of its clients and provides them with a wide range of financial services some of which are project financing and investment consultancy, syndicate debt and equity, bond and guaranties, local and international treasury products.

INSTITUTIONAL BANKING

 The IBG of Standard Chartered Bank offers a wide variety of products and services to the different fund based organizations like donor agencies, NGOs, voluntary organizations, foreign missions, airlines, shipping lines and their personnel. It has global links with leading banking institutions, local banks, financial institutions and agency arrangements through its network of offices in 40 countries. The bank offers a full range of clearing, payment, collection and import-export handling services. The bank offers foreign missions, voluntary organizations, consultants, airlines, shipping lines, and their personnel the following financial services:

  • Current accounts in both Taka and other major foreign currencies.
  • Convertible Taka accounts (these funds are freely convertible to major international   currencies.
  • Local and foreign currency, remittance, etc.

The verities of financial products offered by this department are:

  • Vostro Accounts – IBG, Bangladesh maintains Vostro Accounts of banking and financial institutions worldwide. Customers maintaining such accounts can remit funds throughout the country through the Standard Chartered Group’s branch network as well as through – the Group’s local correspondent relationships.
  • Nostro Accounts – In order to increase and promote the correspondent banking business worldwide, IBG uses Nostro accounts to Bangladeshi banks and financial institutions in almost all Es panning the Standard Chartered Group’s global network. Group branches and subsidies provide full clearing and payment services in the UK, USA, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and many African countries.  Worldwide payments services are facilitated by a network of branches supported by electronic cash management (available in select locations), fund transfer system and membership of SWIFT.

HANDLING OF TRADE FINANCE BUSINESS

International Banking offers the full range of services available under Trade Finance to its customers.  The Standard Chartered Group’s network in China, the Far East, the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent, Africa, UK and USA makes SCB the natural choice of correspondents for advising, confirming, and negotiating their letters of credit in these territories.

COMMERCIAL BANKING

SCB offers different commercial banking facilities to all commercial concern specially those with particular involvement with import and export finance. It provides the finance facilities like trade finance facilities including counseling, confirming export L/Cs, and issue import L/Cs backed by its international branch and correspondent network. It also provides bonds and guarantees, investment advice, leasing facilities, project finance opportunities.

QUASI GOVERNMENT BANKING

The quasi government service of SCB helps the government by providing different financial service like efficient and knowledgeable management of trade business (import & export), skills in barter, swaps and counter trade deals. In addition, the opportunity of debenture finance for new projects, possibilities of hard currency loans and lease deals, the opportunity of syndicated hard currency, financing of loans and import L/Cs, highly efficient account management and remittance handling within country or abroad.

TREASURY BANKING

The foreign exchange and money market operation of the Standard Chartered Bank in the world is extensive.  Exotic currencies happen to be one of its specials areas of strength. A 24 hour-service is provided to customers in Bangladesh through the rd Bank’s network of dealing centers placed in the principal of the world.  The Bank’s treasury specializes in offering solutions to who wish to manage interest rate and currency exposures that result from trade, investment and financing activities of other dynamic economies of the region. Treasury operations are developed in line with changing market conditions to Y’-! The best services to its customers.  According to BAFEDA (Bangladesh Exchange Dealers Association), Standard Chartered Bank presently controls 42% of the local foreign exchange market’s traded volume.

 

CORRESPONDENT BANKING

The International Network Service (INS) department offers its correspondent customers:

  • Current account services where Taka settlement is necessary.
  • The ability to issue bonds and guarantees in support of their customers business.
  • Advising of L/C and negotiation of documents
  • Market intelligence and status reports.
  • Inter branch transactions facilities
  • Risk exposures

PHONE BANKING

This department gives the following services:

  • Operations of accounts over the phone
  • Transfer of money between accounts
  • Order Cheque books, account statement
  • Any kind of query related to banking transactions

OTHER SUPPORT SERVICES

For providing all these services to customers efficiently, the bank undertakes some other necessary support services, which are described below:

 

Custodial Services: The Equitor:

Headquartered in Singapore, SCB equitor fulfils the group’s strategic commitment to the provision of custodial service in Asia. Equator’s customers are primarily foreign global custodians and broker/dealer requiring cross border information as well as sub-custodian services. SCB, Bangladesh is responsible for the planning in Bangladesh, but the overall management of the custody business is based on Equitor’s international business strategy. Clients are offered a customized and comprehensive range of products and services, which include:

  • Custodial services
  • Brokerage, clearing and settlement services
  • Securities lending
  • Foreign exchange
  • Transfer agent for institutional debt and equity offerings
  • Delivery, receipt, settlement, registration and physical safe custody of securiti

Operations Department:

This department helps to run the businesses of the bank in a smooth and controlled manner. They deal with the closing and opening of different types of accounts and other payments and accounts related processing of the Personal Banking division. Moreover, they also deal the processing works of the treasury division. Following are the main functions of the operations department:

  • Central operations deals with the closing and opening of accounts and other payments and account related processing of the Personal Banking Division.
  • Treasury operations help to deal with the processing works of the treasury division.
  • Loan Administration Unit (LAU) deals with the processing of the Corporate Banking division.

Finance, Administration & Risk Management:

This department performs the following activities:

  • Administration, audit and back office operation.
  • Taking care of taxation and financial control of the Bank.
  • Keeping track of overall credit operation.
  • Quality Control and Inspection

It is an important function of the Group’s management to provide quality services to customers and maintaining a good image.  Recently, the custodial and clearing division of the Group, the Standard Chartered Equitor, was the first financial institution in Bangladesh to be awarded the ISO 9002 accreditation. It received the recognition for Equitor’s quality system, excellence in the provision of custodial services and safekeeping, registration, settlement and corporate actions.

Human Resource Department:

This department manages recruitment, training and career progression plan.  Standard Chartered Bank highlights the importance of developing its people to create a culture of customer service, innovation, teamwork and professional excellence. Details of the activities and policies of the department are discussed in a later section.

 

Personnel Policies

The number of staff members employed by Standard Chartered Group is nearly 600.  The number of officers exceeds the number of clerks, which is in stark contrast to local banks specially the NCBS.  The Standard Chartered Group pays great attention to recruiting high quality staff through proper evaluation and improves their skills through structured training. Reward and punishment based on strict performance evaluation and opportunities of promotion both nationally and internationally, are two important features of the personnel policy of Standard Chartered Group

Recruitment, Training and Career Progression in Standard Chartered:

The recruitment process is based on references, advertisements and internships.  Entry point screening is done by both a written and an oral test.  The medical record of the potential employee is very important and ones suffering from potentially life threatening and performance deterring diseases are not hired, even if they were other wise qualified.  The placement of the staff is done in two ways.  Either he/she undergoes a “management trainee” program with a probation period of nine months and is categorized as an officer leading to various managerial jobs, or he/she is recruited at a non-management level as banking assistants / support officers.  There is a structured training framework for all the employees, and a channel for moving people from national to international positions.  International graduate recruitment and personal skills development for entry-level employees are a part of the human resource development efforts at Standard Chartered Group.  Additionally there is an MBA program, courses at noted business schools, and incentives for self-development.

Controlling and Firing of Employees:

Performance monitoring is continuous and strict at Standard Chartered Group. The average number of working hours in a week is between 42 to 55 hours.  The employees have daily assignments and are required to clear them by the end of the day.  The superiors monitor the subordinates, which is facilitated by the seating arrangement in the office.  Control mechanisms involve budgeting, rewarding, punishing, incentives, benchmarks, etc.  If the offence of the employees is not too strong, he/she is warned prior to the firing process.  Reasons for firing may involve: lack of efficiency, not performing to the level of satisfaction, breaking the Code of Conduct set by the organization, etc.

Advancement and Promotion:

The advancement and promotion of a staff is based on performance.  An annual appraisal of staff is done at the end of the year where the assessment is based on fulfilling the SMART objectives, which is rated. The assessment process involves eight steps.  It begins with individuals rating a self-assessment form and at one point the manager obtains an overall performance from the ratings of the individual as well as consultation with his own superior.

Employee Benefits:

The employees are paid according to their rank and status in the bank.  The remuneration package is comparable to other leading foreign banks. The basic benefits that are provided to the staff members are briefly stated below:

Incentive Plans:

Incentives are totally based on performance.  It is assessed by an annual appraisal of the employees.  After it is done, if an employee reaches a certain level of achievement then he/she receives a bonus.  Another incentive plan of Standard Chartered Bank is the “Spot Bonus.” If an employee performs exceptionally well for the interest of the bank, the bonus is awarded on the spot for the achievement.

Finally, there is another type of incentive called the “Bonanza,” although it is not considered as part of the employee benefits.  The incentive plan is activated under special circumstances.  For example, recently a deposit drive was activated in the bank and 42 staff members were awarded free air tickets as they managed to attain a certain level of deposits.

  • Pension Plans: The Bank does not have any pension plans for the employees.
  • Number of Paid Holidays: Standard Chartered Group allows 45 days paid holiday in a year for each employee.
  • Insurance Policies: Employees enjoys excellent medical insurance policy, but both the banks do not cover all its employees with life insurance.
  • Bonuses: SCB give bonuses to its employees twice a year in the two religious festivals of the country, namely the two Eids, apart from the performance-based bonuses mentioned earlier.
  • Recreation Facilities: The employees can play cricket in one of the major clubs of the country and the Bank pays the club fees.

 

Collection Centre of Standard Chartered Bank: An Overview

Significance of Collection Centre: Theoretical Aspects:

Non Performing Loans (NPL) reduces the loanable funds by stopping the flow of recycling of loans and because of setting aside loan loss reserve. When money lent to a group of borrowers is recovered, only then it can again be disbursed to other borrowers and thus the process of credit operation can go on as simultaneous process, which ultimately influences the bank’s profitability. Loan monitoring and collecting is a continuous process in banking so as to define and maintain its assets quality and to prevent the clients form being default.

In respect of commercial banks, Desai (1980) suggests that the key areas of performance are deposits, advances to priority sectors, credit to public and preferred sectors, foreign exchange, cost and expenditure, profitability and customer service. The recovery activities and recovery performance of a bank is directly related to some of his identified areas, like- advances to priority sectors, credit to preferred and public sectors. Makarand (1979) in a recent study proposes for six indictors as the determinants of the profitability of the banks viz. branch expansion, priority sector credit and collection, deposit mobilization, export credit, net profit to working funds and wage cost of business development. This is called the Integrity Priority Index (IPI). Collection from the disbursed funds is a part of this index. According to the latest World Bank Report, the financial sector remains vulnerable with non performing loans accounting for a third of the loan portfolio.

Since as per directives of Bangladesh Bank (BB), branches are required to classify its loans at the end of each quarter, branches may not exercise separate conditioning procedure rather strictly follow the loan classification and provisioning procedure set by Bangladesh Bank vide its BRPD Circular no. 16 dated 06.12.98. BRDP Circular no. 16 of 1998 is the latest classification and provisioning guidelines framed by Bangladesh Bank successive to BCD Circular no. 34 of 1998 and 20 of 1994. The procedures cover the entire gamut of loan classification, suspension of interest due, making provisions against potential loan loss (Source: Bangladesh Bank web site).

With the view of improving, the efficiency in the banking sector, there is no option to increase the collection from the funds disbursed to the customers. Previously, the banks considered the collation and recovery activities as the part of the loan and advance department, where in most of the cases, the employees who disbursed the funds were responsible for recovery of the loans. But now, in order to keep pace with modern economy and considering the high rate of default, the banks are separating their collection and recovery departments form the loan and advance departments. The foreign banks, like- Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), HSBC, etc are playing pioneer role in this case. This arrangement is not only increasing the volume of collection and recovery, but also is generating employment opportunity and creating valuable example of transferring Non Performing Loans in to Performing Loans.

 

Collection Centre: The Case of Standard Chartered Bank

Fraud management itself has become a huge business and Bangladesh with its wide spread default culture has become a prolific breeding ground for uncounted number of frauds.  The Collection Centre of the Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) is leading the mission of developing default free culture in Bangladesh. Before representing the Collection Centre of Standard Chartered Bank, the background of the bank is being represented.

Background of Standard Chartered Bank:

Standard Chartered Bank, incorporated in England with limited liability by Royal Charter 1853, Reference Number ZC 18, is the leading Multinational Private Bank offering full range of consumer and wholesale banking, international trade, foreign exchange, lease finance and capital market services. The principal office of the Bank is situated in England at 1, Aldermanbury Square London EC2V 7SB. Its three core markets are in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and offer significant opportunities. It has strengthened its position by moving branches to areas which offer greater opportunity for revenue enhancement. The bank has increased market share and revenues in its existing businesses and has identified new products and customer segments to drive future growth. Standard Chartered is listed on both the London Stock Exchange and the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and is in the top hundred companies, by market capitalization. The bank is well-established in growth markets and aims to be the right partner for its customers. Standard Chartered employs about 50,000 people in over 500 locations in more than 50 countries in the Asia Pacific Region, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the United Kingdom and the Americas. It is one of the world’s most international Banks, with a management team comprising 70 nationalities. The acquisition of Grindlays has allowed the bank to make a major leap in the Middle East and South Asia, making it the leading international bank in the region. Since announcing acquisition, the bank mobilised a sizeable team across both Banks to plan for the integration.

Standard Chartered Bank opened its doors as the Chartered Bank in Bangladesh in 1948, opening its first branch in the port city of Chittagong. The branch was opened mainly to facilitate the post-war-re-establishment and expansion of South and Southeast Asia. The bank opened its first branch in Dhaka in 1966 and shifted its headquarters from Chittagong to Dhaka after the birth of the Republic of Bangladesh in 1971.This is the only bank that did not close its doors during the Liberation War in Bangladesh in 197. It acquired Grindlays business from ANZ in 2000. Bangladesh is the first beneficiary of Standard Chartered’s ‘Seeing is believing’. The bank first issued credit card in 1997 and since then it has been the market leader of the business. It has around 90,000 (ninety thousand) customer bases and now capturing almost 80% market share in the country. Besides, the bank is top rated sub custodian since 1995. With 18 (eighteen) branches and 24 (twenty four) ATMs, the Standard Chartered is the oldest and largest foreign bank with its presence in six cities and the bank completed its hundred years in Bangladesh. Standard Chartered Bangladesh was awarded as the ‘Best Bank of 2005’ in the foreign bank category by Bankers’ Forum. This was announced in the ‘Banker’s Forum Award 2005’ ceremony held on June, 17, 2006. Chief Guest of the ceremony, Dr. Wahiduddin Mahmud handed over the award to Osman Morad, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Standard Chartered Bank.

The other features of Standard Chartered Bank in Bangladesh are mentioned here:

  • Mission – To be the right partner of the customers of the bank.
  • Vision – To be the best international bank in Africa, Asia and the Middle-east by 2010.
  • Objectives – To remain number one credit card issuer in Bangladesh and expand the business by acquiring more merchants and increasing the client base of cards.
  • Strategic Intent – The World’s best international bank, leading the way in Asia, Africa, Middle East
  • Brand Promise – The Right partner leading by example
  • Values – Responsive, Trustworthy, Creative, International, Courageous

Commitment to Stakeholders

  • Customers – Passionate about the customers’ success, delighting them with the quality of the bank’s service
  • Its people – Helping people to grow, enabling individuals to make a difference and teams to win
  • Communities – Trusted and caring, dedicated to making a difference
  • Regulators – Exemplary Governance and ethics wherever the bank is

Its agenda for 2007 are – accelerating organic goal, delivering on acquisitions, improving continuously, building leadership and reinforcing its brand. Being a country mostly dependent on small business, business opportunities are abound in Bangladesh to let small and medium sized enterprises to grow. To take advantages of these business opportunities, working with the right business partners is the key. SCB is leading the way by being the first in launching Business Financial Services on March 2004. A business can avail of deposit products for timely utilization and easy access to their funds. Credit facilities with flexible repayment options, trade services for domestic and international and many other products and services tailored to their specific requirements. The offerings of the SCB are:

  • Deposit products – Business account, cash management services
  • Credit facilities – Business installment loan, secured overdraft, revolving loan
  • Trade services – Letter of credit, guarantee

Thus the Standard Chartered Bank serves as the one stop solution for growing business in Bangladesh.

 

Collection Centre of SCB Bank:

The Collection Centre of Standard Chartered Bank represents a new concept of collecting payments form the default companies and customers effectively. This Centre plays an important role in ensuring the profitability and quality of the portfolio of the bank by collecting the delinquent receivables (explained later on) efficiently and effectively. The basic goal of the Collection Centre is to obtain payments promptly. On the other hand, the Centre emphasizes on minimizing the collection expenses and write-off costs, other wise the benefit of collecting payments will decline to cover the excess costs; whereas in the process of collection, it never neglects to maintain the customer’s goodwill by a high standard of service.  For this reason it is important that the Collectors should endeavor to resolve the account that is worked for the first time. This can be achieved by identifying early signals of delinquency and thus minimizing losses.

Key success factors of efficient and effective collection management comprises of appropriate investment in collection systems and tools and effective use of them, right collection strategies, strong analytical support and finally the well-managed collection operations that motivate the people with right skill sets. The Collection Centre’s responsibility will commence from the time an account becomes delinquent or over limit or both. This responsibility persists until the account is regularized by making payment for the delinquent account or by closing the account with full payment amount collected. The success of the collection is highly dependent on their efficiency. In the Collection Centre, the following three types of accounts dealt by the Collectors:

  • Delinquent Accounts

An account is classified as delinquent if the minimum contractual payment amount due is not posted or settled, after the second statement date. The definition of delinquency is:

AccountsPeriodExplanations
Interim, Bucket00The customer fails to pay on due date, but does not cross month.
X DPD, Bucket11-29The sum past due is equivalent to one month’s minimum payment.
30 DPD, Bucket230-59The sum past due is equivalent to two month’s minimum payment
60 DPD, Bucket360-89The sum past due is equivalent to three month’s minimum payment
90 DPD , Bucket490-119The sum past due is equivalent to four month’s minimum payment
120DPD, Bucket5120-149The sum past due is equivalent to five month’s minimum payment
150DPD, Bucket6150 – 179The sum past due is equivalent to six months minimum payments

 

  • Over Limit Accounts

Credit Limit means the maximum debit balance permitted by the bank for an account. An account is considered over limit when the outstanding balance exceeds the credit limit by 100% or more. Over limit charge will be imposed in that case.

 

 

Consumer products of the Collection Centre:

In Consumer Banking, despite intense market competition, the Standard Chartered Bank has continued to grow its mortgages, cards and deposit businesses. This segment of the report represents an overview of the ‘Consumer Products (CP)’ for which the payments from the customers are collected by the Members of the Collection Centre. The Standard Chartered bank’s (SCB) ‘Consumer Products’ (CP) can be categorized as follows-

 

 

Personal Loan (PL) 

Personal loan (PL) is the most widely used product of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). The clients are not required to arrange any cash security for personal loan (PL). The loan is a type of salaried loan. Under this unsecured loan category, one Grantor will remain involved and will assure guaranty on behalf of the customer. A very flexible PL-to meet the clients’ assorted needs, like- travel loan, medical loan, marriage loan, education loan for children, home or office renovation loan. Six Customer Service Advisors (CSA)/Collectors work for the personal loan (PL) collection team. Out of teams of banking products, it maintains the largest team.

 

Flexi Loan (FL)

Flexi loan from Standard Chartered is a loan facility that has been custom designed to meet the client’s emergency needs. Flexi loan is a partially/fully secured loan. The security for the loan should be in a readily en-cashable form. It is a very flexible loan to meet the client’s extra needs for cash, such as:  house renovation, furniture or household items for personal/ family use, electrical and electronics including computer and accessories for personal use, marriage of immediate family members, medical treatment, higher education, travel abroad, etc. The flexi loan collection team is developed with three Collectors. The Collectors can exercise the option of en-cashing security of the clients if it becomes necessary.

 

Business Installment Loan (BIL)

Business Installment Loan (BIL) is one type of secured loan. This product of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) can be treated as a modified and wide view of flexi loan. After successfully completion of one year loan, the client can apply for Top-up, which may be 30% secured. The collection team of BIL is formed with six Collectors.

 

Mortgage

Standard Chartered mortgage offers flexible loan amount that includes registration cost. Mortgage does not demand any cash security. It is used to purchase apartment, continue construction work, renovation work, to bear education/medical expenses/household appliances purchase. Interest is calculated on a monthly reducing balance, saving hand, earned money from unnecessary interest expenses. Applicants should have at least 3 years of service or professional or business track records. Any leased residential property including purchase of second hand property is the proposed property for mortgage. In the Collection Centre, the collection team of BIL deals with mortgage.

 

 

Auto Loan (AL)

With Standard Chartered auto loan, it is easier than ever to buy the car of client’s dream. SCB offers the client a flexible and affordable loan with easy repayment options, all wrapped in very convenient package. The loan amount depends on net monthly income. The loan is secured by the automobile/vehicle. This automobile must be used for non-commercial purposes. Used car (maximum 8 years from manufacturing date) can also be purchased. No personal or corporate guarantee required. The collection team of auto loan with two members belongs to BIL team. In case of early settlement, 3% of the outstanding loan is charged if the loan is paid within first 6 months of loan disbursement and 2% of the outstanding is charged if paid within first months of loan disbursement.

 

Credit Card (CC)

ANZ Grindlays Bank Limited first introduced the Taka credit card in Bangladesh. Credit SCB card division offers Master Silver, Visa Silver and Master Gold Credit Card. The Collection Centre maintains four different teams for collection from card holders. The four teams deal with four different buckets. The range of the credit cards is larger as the number of the SCB credit card holders is high and it is very difficult to handle a large number of delinquent card holders by a single team.

 

Collection Process and Strategies of Standard chartered Bank:

Collection Negotiation Techniques of Standard Chartered Bank:

The Collectors, while dealing with the collection process are to follow some guidelines designed by the management of the SCB Collection Centre. The set rules and guidelines are identified as the ‘Collection Negotiation Techniques’. These negotiation techniques improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the collection process, ensure excellent customer service and finally assist to meet productivity goals. According to the techniques, the SCB Collectors while managing calls must fulfill the following requirements:

  • The Collectors are to use firm and friendly tone while making the calls.
  • They are to capture the attention of the customers by using interesting words.
  • They should not use any terminology or technical jargons that they use frequently (example- PTP, FID etc) as in that cases, the customers may fail to realize their accounts condition and the urgency of payment.
  • The Collectors should never forget to pursue the clients to make payments and let them respond.

The Collectors are to control their conversation while managing calls with the client. Their counseling approach combining two major skills – technical skills and interpersonal skills, lead to problem solving. They start the calls strongly with the representation of the facts on the databases containing the details information of the clients. If the customers agree to make payment, the payments negotiation terms are to be set with the customers. The Collectors are to confirm –

  • When to Make Payment
  •  How Much to Make Payment
  •  How to Make Payment

The Collectors are more tactical while dealing with priority customers. They strictly try to avoid the negotiation loss at the time of conversation with the clients. With the view to avoiding negotiation loss, they are to avoid personal involvement and emotional answers, inflexible position while talking to them and setting terms, and must utilize other questions to gain control and move forward the conversation. The Members of the Collection Centre must be conscious of the distinctions between persuasive and pressure imposed on the customers of the bank. If the Collectors try to create pressure on the customers, it creates negative feelings on them which may result in barriers and rejection to make payments. On the other hand, if the techniques of persuasion are followed, it generates security and confidence in the mind of the customers and they will ultimately accept the arguments of the Collectors.

The Collectors deal with different types of customers in the collation negation process and their techniques of collection vary with the customers’ variety, like:

  • The customers who are willing and able to pay may miss the payment as they may forget or overlook the payment or did not receive the monthly statement. In that case, the Collectors only acknowledge the debt.
  • The customers who are unwilling and able are dissatisfied customers. The Collectors in that case take persuasive technique for collecting payments.
  • Unexpected or unplanned adverse circumstances or calamity – job loss, reduced hours, illness, accident, death, divorce, etc or poor money manager, poor paying habits or procrastination may create the situation where the customers are willing, but unable to pay. The Collectors at that case may talk to higher authority of the Unit to assist the customers to make payment.
  • Unwilling and unable customers may be imprisoned or deceased and are detected from the collection list of the Collectors.

Solution Selling and Managing Customers’ Resistance:

The Collectors, while dealing customers are to understand the problems of the customers and try to identify the solutions so that customers can regularize their accounts. This technique is identified as ‘Solutions Selling’. The benefits of the solution selling are receiving the total amount, creating urgency and overcoming objections. That’s why a popular recommendation in the Collection Centre is –“Collection is a Sales Job”. The solution selling process includes the followings:

  • Getting a commitment for an initial amount from the customers
  • Acknowledging the initial amount to the customers
  • Explaining the consequences of non payment to the customers
  • Selling a solutions for higher payment amount
  • Getting a commitment form the customers for the reminding amount
  • Creating urgency in the payment method

The Collection Centre allows the Collectors to ask different types of questions – closed or open ending. While asking questions, they try to influence the clients. The questions are Firm, Fair and Friendly. (A model of desired questions is represented in Appendix 3.1). The Members of the Collection Centre often face the resistance of the customers. In that case, the first duty of them is to overcome the objections imposed by the clients of the bank. With the view to overcoming the objections, the Collectors introduce themselves, show interest and concern, listen carefully, obtain and provide information, build trust and credibility in the mind of the clients, isolate the objections and reinforce the benefit of payments.

Collection Strategies Applied at the Collection Centre:

When a customer fails to fulfill the agreement terms of payment, the account enters Collections. Collections Department is responsible for collecting the overdue amount from the delinquent customers. There are different stages and strategies involved in collection process. Collection Strategies specify when to take what action on which accounts. Different types of collection strategies are applied for:

  • Collecting past due funds while striving to retain customers with long term profit potential and rehabilitating them beginning to show serious delinquency behavior
  • Controlling the risk from customers with a history of serious delinquency
  • Reducing losses from written-off customers

 

Minimum Mandated Collection Strategies

1) Pre Delinquency Collection Strategy

Accounts may be called or treated from collections prior to becoming delinquent for different reasons. The strategy should illustrate how to identify the pre-delinquent accounts, the treatments, timing of the treatment, tone/scripts/main message to the customer, process flow and tracking mechanism (for evaluation of strategy effectiveness). All the collectors of different teams receive a fresh queue list on the beginning of each month on that they work through out the month. CWX software will allocate new inflow accounts everyday to the designated collectors. Usually a customer moves to bucket 1(X DPD), 15 days after the payment due date. As such an initiative was taken to identify these accounts (accounts that missed payment but yet to move to Bucket 1) and manually allocate them to the collector.

2) Over Limit Strategy

There are different levels of an over limit accounts which are as follows:

  • Over limit level 1 (>110% and £ 120%)
  • Over limit level 2 (>120% and £ 130%)
  • Over limit level 3 (>130%)

Analysis shows over limit accounts have high probability of default. They are tracked separately and given high priority in collections. Treatments to these accounts are phone contacts/SMS, etc. The over limit strategy specifies how the over limit accounts are identified, collection treatments (timing, intensity) at all delinquency stages, analysis to identify over-limit reasons and tracking mechanism to monitor the effectiveness of the strategy.

3) Delinquent Accounts and Collection Strategies

Collection Department, makes segment of delinquent accounts in to three groups – Front-End, Mid-Range and Hard-Core. The collection strategies of these delinquent accounts are:

 

Front-End (1-29 DPD)

Front-end is the first collection bucket in which delinquent accounts are identified as ‘First Installment Due (FID)’. These are high-risk accounts and demand close monitoring. At this stage, the customers are normally contacted over phones and letters. Telephone callings are conducted in a soft and tactful manner maintaining consistency with the customer service level. Collectors always do an inquiry through the system to confirm if payments have already been received before making telephone calls in order to avoid misunderstanding with the customers. If collection letters or statements are returned from the customers due to change of addresses, it is the responsibility of the respective Collectors to collect telephone numbers and ask the customers to provide written instructions of addresses change to the customer service departments and at the same time, write down the new addresses and telephone numbers to the note pad so that next time customers can get their next letters in just time.

Mid-Range (30-59 DPD and 60-89 DPD)

Mid-range is the bucket in which the accounts are considered to be seriously delinquent. These accounts flow down from Front-end. Collectors exercise more aggressive approach at this stage. Collection letters are also sent to the customers. Upon successful contact with the customers, payment dates are secured. Constant telephone calls are made to those customers who have given numerous broken promises.

Hard-Core (90-149 DPD)

90+ DPD accounts are considered as hard-core delinquency. Collection efforts are more intensified at this stage. Extra telephone calls and letters are mandatory. The Collectors of secured products take steps to liquidate the security to collect payment. At 120 DPD, bad debt is declared. Intensive Team visits are also conducted for collection. When recovery opportunities are considered good through legal notice, Collectors make recommendations to the management for legal notices.

4) Automated Dunning Letters

Dunning letters are useful tools to recover money from delinquent customers. Currently a new system- CWX is used to generate automated letters for delinquent customers from X DPD to 90 DPD. Automated Letters are sent to the customers by courier service. Letter specifies the contents, main message, timing, and sequence and target group of each collection letter. Proper letter head (Collection Department), full contract information for the customers’ to contract, SCB address, contract numbers, e-mail address of specific collection area are to be included. It is important to ensure that the collection letter strategy is consistent with business objectives.

5) Settlement Policy

Settlement policy is an integral part of collections strategy. The reasons for applying a hardship strategy could vary based on other variables in the account profile. Settlement policy is usually applied to the late stage of delinquent accounts or charge off accounts and it normally comes with a waiver of partial or full interest owed, and sometimes with a discount on the principle amount. In most of the cases, the customers for whom settlement strategy is applied, have good intentions, but do not have the ability or do not qualify to avail the credit facility of SCB. In such cases, a certain waiver in fees, charges and interest may result towards effective recovery. There are also situations where payments are realized from third party – kin of customer, employer etc. waiver of fees / interest is also required in these situations to expedite the settlement deal.

6) Remedial Management/DRP Strategy

A remedial management program or debt relief program is an installment plan to help the customers to workout the debt situation with reduced monthly debt-servicing burden by pro-longed repayment periods and reduced interest rates. This strategy specifies qualification criteria, segmentation and program specification (down payment, interest, etc), process flow, contents and sequence of customers’ correspondences, tracking mechanism, scripts, expectations and main befits to sell at different stages of the process.

7) Legal Strategy, Agency Strategy, Recovery Strategy

The legal strategy outlines legal actions to be taken against past due customers including the use of legal judgments and the initiation of a legal process against other assets (personal and/or business) to collect past due amounts.

Agency strategies are prepared in line with the ‘Group External Collection Agency Management Guide’. Agency strategy exists illustrating when and how to hand over files to agency, how to follow up agency activities and how to withdraw files form agency. Agency is the external party. So security issue arises wile using the strategy.

The recovery strategy specifies a recovery score that predicts the collection past due amounts in the future and account assignment strategy that articulates how the portfolio is assigned between in-house team and agency.

 

Collection Strategies Specific to Secured Products:

For secured products, two risk factors are to be considered while deriving collection strategy – collateral risk and customer risk. Collateral risk is best reflected by customers’ current equity level, while customer risk is determined by the customers’ willingness and capability to pay. The strategies applied for secured products are highlighted here:

1) DRP Strategy

DRP (Debt Relief Program) strategy specifies the selection/qualification criteria to select the customers for DRP program, options offered to the customers (such as – lower interest rate) with the purpose to ease the customers’ cash flow pressure, approval authority, process flow, follow up actions tracking mechanisms, etc.

Repossession/Eviction Strategy

Repossession/Eviction strategy specifies the criteria for repossession/eviction, with the consideration of benefit-cost trade off. It also defines revaluation and value write down policy and process for the security. Legal reversal criteria and process, legal document call-back process, collateral sales process and controls, negotiation and follow up with the customers, cost of carrying and resale, insurance policy claims and disposition of sales proceeds with tracking mechanism are specified in the strategy.

Interest of Classified Loans:

Interests on loans classified as bad debts may not be charged on the respective accounts. Branches will calculate interests of monthly basis to credit the interests to interest suspense accounts. Branches maintain those interest suspense accounts and monthly proof sheets are prepared with the ‘ledger balance of the interest suspense on classified loans’.

Collection Steps for Consumer Products:

The Collectors are to move through the following sequential steps while calling the customers:

Step 1: Verifying Information

At the beginning, the Collectors verify mailing addresses, daytime numbers, evening numbers and other telephone number(s) – mobile phone, pager, relative, etc. of the customers.

Step 2: Obtaining RFD – Reasons for Delinquency

The Collectors try to justify the reasons of delinquency, customers’ financial condition, customers and/or spouses working condition or capability, etc.

Step 3: Explaining Benefits to Pay/Consequences

This stage focuses on explaining the following benefits to the customers –

DelinquencyBenefit = Avoiding a consequence
X DPDAvoid late payment charges and restriction from limit enhancement
30 DPDAvoid late payment charges and block status of card
60 DPDAvoid late payment charges and block status and suspension of card
90 DPDAvoid Hot list and circulation of the same within the merchants. Avoid being a highly delinquent customer and a restricted person for Financial Institution
120 DPDAvoid cancellation of facility and legal action
150 + DPDAvoid dealing by collection agent and legal action

 Table; Source: Collection Negotiation Technique, Customer Service Advisor

Step 4: Getting Kept Promises and Maintaining Documents

The promises are taken in the following forms –

How much – Total amount due is informed at the beginning of negotiation

When – A specific payment date is fixed

How – Paying at branch, by mail, money order or account debit instruction

Where – At any branch or ATM

What is the source of funds – Cash on hand, income, borrowing the money, selling property

The Collectors write the concise summary and abbreviated notes of the whole communication in the system for future references and follows up.

 

Agency File Handover Process:

A bulk number of accounts can not be effectively contacted through phone calls due to unavailability of the customers or addresses/phone numbers changes. These accounts do not belong to skip cases, but are difficult to contact. Another set of customers requires field visit for negotiation. In that case, ‘External Collection Agencies (ECA)’ may be appointed. Collectors take permission from their supervisors for assigning any new file to agency. Supervisors then obtain approval from Legal and Recovery Manager or Officer, and prepare allocation packages for the agency. This new file allocation will only be completed upon signing the notification letter either by Manager- Legal and Recovery or Officer-Legal and Recovery. The unit preserves a receive copy of the notification letter and hard copy of the list of new files signed by the agency authorized person.

Currently there is a separate team to monitor the activities of ECAs in dealing the accounts referred to them. If no progress is found in a number of files, Legal and Recovery Manager can withdraw all those files at his discretion after minimum of 3 (three) months from the date of assignment. Those files can be referred to another ECA. In the process of re-assignment of files, list of files the withdrawn are excluded and new files may be included.

Recovery Strategy:

An account is charged off when it enters 150+ DPD, therefore it fails to pay 6 (six) months due payments. In that case, the account is treated as bad debt. Recovery unit monitors this type of accounts with a view to maximize recovery.

Recovery Strategy for Credit Card:

Since credit card is an unsecured product, Unit anticipates meticulous monitoring and follow up process to ensure highest recovery effectively and efficiently. The recovery steps for credit cards include in house telephone calls, visit customer, demand letter, recovery agents and legal notice issuing if necessary. New charge-off accounts are dealt separately to ensure highest recovery from those. After one month recovery effort, contactable and paying files are handed over to regular team and non-paying and skip accounts are handed over to the special team.

Paying accounts are monitored by the regular team. Since recovery probability of these files is higher than that of other files, initiatives are taken for settlement by providing attractive waivers to the customers. Non paying accounts are thoroughly monitored by the special team. This effort includes regularizing or collecting valid addresses to shape the portfolio. Since payment possibility from these accounts is very low, the initiatives taken are special campaigns, like – developing new commission structure for Collectors, separating teams for non-paying and non traced accounts, constructing recovery field visit team and using legal unit properly.

 

Recovery Strategy for Banking Products:

Loan products are fully monitored and managed by a combined effort comprising of in house effort and external agency effort. As there remains a huge potential, recovery unit pays an extra attention to ensure efficient recovery. The following are the recovery steps applied in loan product recovery process:

Personal Loan: In house telephone calls » visit customer » demand letter » recovery agents » combined effort » legal notice » criminal case

Flexi Loan: In house telephone calls » visit customer » recovery agents » combined effort » legal notice issuing » criminal case

Business Installment Loan: In house telephone calls » visit customer » recovery agents » combined effort » legal Notice » criminal case

Auto Loan: In house telephone calls » visit customer » recovery agents » litigation

Mortgage: In house telephone calls » visit customer » recovery agents » combined effort » Foreclosure.

PL and IL are separately monitored by the in house team and agency. BIL is closely monitored by in house team, agency and litigation (if necessary). AUTO is monitored by in house team and repossession activities are conducted by external agency.

 

SWOT Analysis on the Collection Centre:

AnalysisStrength (S)Weakness (W)
SW
  • Separated Collection Unit with efficient manpower
  • Effective training and internal control
  •  Effective agency and legal team
  •  Customized softwares that assist in record keeping, monitoring performance, etc. and online banking
  • Incentive program and attractive salary structure
  • Strict and well designed rules for dealing the customers
      Absence of contract between HR and Collectors

Communication gap between the higher management and Collectors

Pressure on the Collectors, specially at the end of the month to achieve targets

AnalysisOpportunities (O)Threats (T)
OT
  • The recent improved legal and political condition generates the opportunity for more collection and recovery.
  • The cost of appointing agency is declining.
  • The bless of technology supporting collection activities
    Competitive environment and high standard services provided by other foreign banks

Entrance of new commercial bank with new technology

Switching tendency among the Members of the Unit

 

Findings of the Study

 

After Liberation War in Bangladesh, the leading multinational bank – Standard Chartered Bank created an example by assisting to open first LC for Bangladesh. After 36 (thirty six) years, the bank has created another example by separating its Collection Division form ordinary banking activities. This chapter represents the major findings of the study as the output of practical experience of working in the Collection Centre and statistical analysis of the collected information while analyzing the overall activities of the Collection Centre:

  • The major manpower of the Collection Centre is the Collectors. In the beginning of the month they are assigned accounts based on the buckets that they deal. In case of the death of any account holders, the account is deducted form their lists. They are given one month time for collecting due amount form the assigned accounts.
  • Collectors serve as mainly Tale-Collectors. While conversation with customers, they are to ensure that the collection module is up to date, prohibiting any accounts to flow through from one bucket to another without action and are also responsive to Customer Service Staffs. The collection strategies, applied by them vary depending on the condition of the accounts, number of unpaid installments, and customer priority ratings. Some strategies are mandated and some are specific for secured products, like – auto loan, flexi loan, etc.
  • The Centre has its own cost management policy. The management of the Centre is responsible for reducing delinquency rate at the minimum costs. Management is also conscious of database management system and security of the system. The cheques being dishonored from the banks come to the Collection Centre which are again placed by the Collectors after the negotiation with the customers. The store management of cheques is also a critical issue for the Collection Centre.
  • The Collectors are shifted from one team to another team based on their performance. Collectors’ performance that depends on KPI, hourly productivity and punctuality. The Collectors are contractual employees. Their remuneration varies based on their performance. Besides, the management offers commissions and awards for the Collectors and Team Leaders based on their performance, which motivate to improve their performance.
  • Different types of workshops and training are arranged for the Members of the Collection Centre for improving their efficiency in making calls, handling customer resistance, etc. They are also trained on the security system – SAFE (Security Awareness for Employees) and also on money laundering prevention. They are to attend online exams on these. Attaining 80% marks in the exams ensure certificates for them.
  • The Centre recruits external agencies for the collection purposes. The agency may be involved in any stage of the accounts. When the Collectors fail to collect payment, they may exercise the opportunity to collect payment through agencies. The legal unit deals with legal activities when the loans are classified and moves to legal action.
  • The Centre uses customized softwares that assist the Members of the Collection Centre in keeping track of customers’ dealings, their contract numbers, payment condition, evaluating the Collectors performance and customer dealing quality. It uses Client server architecture and provides well furnished infrastructure for its Members.
  • Though the management of the Centre arranges different types of remuneration for the Members to retain them, the switching tendency among the Members of the Collection is still high. The main reasons of their dissatisfaction are Collectors are not employed directly by the HR of the bank. They are to attend office on Saturday. The pressure of work at the end of the month and strict leaving rules also dissatisfy them.
  • The collection performance of the bank based on its last five years experience proves that the overall collection grows positively. Besides, the growth rate and acceleration rate of the collection of SCB in the last five years shows efficiency of the bank in collection. The management is going to make investment in some projects that will add value to the Centre.
  • Management predicts 15% recovery form credit card collection pool. The highest proportion of the recovery target in 2007 for banking products (BP) includes BIL and the lowest portion complies with auto loan. Collectors at the higher buckets in some cases are succeeded in regularizing accounts, but the performance is not good in terms of collected amount.
  • The major determinants of the collection cost are number of Collectors and costs incurred for secured and unsecured products. The number of Collector and cost of unsecured products reduce the total collection costs. Amount of recovery is positively related to commission cost and maintains high degree of positive relationship.
  • The management in every month develops capacity plan to analyze the requirements of new members for the Centre. It assists the management to continue its collection flow properly; whereas if the gap of the required Members are identified, it will hamper the work flow of the Centre, again excess employees will result in excess cost for it. A capacity plan developed for personal loan in month March, 2007 reveals the need for requirement of 2 new Members.

The major findings highlighted above disclose the efficiency of the management in selecting projects, setting goals and strategies, managing manpower, arranging training and remuneration which ultimately contribute to the bank’s achievement of goals and maintaining the flow of funds. But an alarming issue for the management is switching tendency among the Collection Members. Image, salary structure can attract the collectors to it, but can’t retain them. In order to keep pace with the competitive banking world, the Collection Centre needs to emphasize on the issue – ‘Retention of its experienced and efficient Members’, which will add speed to its success of collection and recovery and facilitate in meeting future challenges and finally will create an opportunity for the bank to progress well in collection of disbursed loans.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

Banking sector is considered as the barometer of economic condition of any country. It has significant contribution towards the economic development of the country. The banking sector of Bangladesh provides an interesting study regarding the effect of various company specific and macroeconomic variables on the loan disbursement, default and recovery of loans. The issue of loan default, recovery and banking sector performance in Bangladesh continues to be a perennial source of discussion among academicians, policy makers and practitioners.

The SCB’s credit approval moves through clear and sequential phases. Still, some accounts become delinquents in every month as the borrowers fail to pay regularly. In order to accelerate the bank’s performance, the bank has successfully developed a separated Collection Unit with a small manpower where people’s main duty is to collect the payments form the customers. The technology of the SCB Collection Centre assists the bank in a long way to undermine the default culture among its clients.

Technology is faceless and no amount of lobbying can influence the outcome of the software program designed to assist collection activities. Through calls, sms and visit, the communication with the customers is maintained. This change in the banking sector is showing the bright future of reducing the non performing loans (NPL) and setting examples for the other banks which have not still separated Collection Division and thus leading the battle – ‘Developing loan default free culture in Bangladesh’.

 

 

Recommendation

 

Considering the customer queries the following recommendations are made, which will benefit both SCB and its customers.

  • As I have seen that 3pm to 5pm are the main rush hours, so necessary CSAs should be allocated in that time. Again, the holiday rush hour is slightly different from working days. So proper allocation of manpower can improve the service quality.
  • As the authorization is the most frequent problem, so the CSAs should be trained in such a way so that they can solve all sorts of authorization related problem quickly.
  • It is a noticeable problem that the online remains down especially in holidays. So, necessary steps should be taken for smooth service.
  • The frequency of personal calls that falls under “others” category has a remarkable figure. Now if service remains busy with the personal affairs the proper service cannot be given.
  • Lost card report is a very irregular problem that can occur anytime. So the C/H should be informed about the problem and its solution.
  • Due to the wrong information provided by the direct sales executives, many unnecessary calls come in the online service. So proper product information can be a better solution in this situation.
  • Another very important thing from my personal observation is that one person calls for several times for the same problem, which increases the call frequency. Proper assurance and solution over phone can a better alternative to reduce extra calls.
  • Among all the CSAs some could very expert in some area, so in taking the consideration of the calling variation and frequency some adjustments could be made to improve the service and reduce calls.
  • Maintaining MIS and a tabulation work can be maintained for better call handling.
  • Proper division of call variation can reduce the load of one CSA to handle different queries.

Proper monitoring the activities of the call center could be better solution for handling queries.