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September 2015 Corporate Focus

Published on: 2015-09-21 15:29:36     1493 times read    1  Comments
Citizens Bank Expanding Commercial Bases
Rajan Singh Bhandari
Rajan Singh Bhandari
CEO, Citizens Bank
International Limited

In a sure-footed move to expand its commercial base, Citizens Bank International Limited (CBIL), one of Nepal’s leading Class ‘A’ commercial banks, recently joined forces with National Capital and Investment Market to take up merchant banking. 

In the terms of the agreement, CBIL will handle the buying and management of shares whereas National Capital will work as the auxiliary company of the bank focusing on share registry, executive sales, mutual funds and investment banking.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CBIL, Rajan Singh Bhandari, is very candid. He says, “This is one of the areas where the bank can make money.” He adds, “By including National Capital and Investment Banking into our portfolio, the bank has acquired one other ‘C’ Class financial institution and there are a few more acquisitions under discussion.”

Located at Sharada Sadan, Kamaladi, the heart of the capital’s financial zone, CBIL has been working in banking for the last nine years tackling the massive changes and developments which have taken place over the past two decades in the country’s financial sector.

The lack of self-confidence and belief is something that is not usually associated with the bank. It says it has a vision to become one of the leading banks known for its service excellence and a trustworthy partner for the progress of individuals and institutions by designing, producing and delivering the best financial solutions. Currently, the bank has assets worth Rs. 42 billion and it has around a three percent market share in terms of deposits, lending and capital. 

Working with the motto “Your Partner for Progress,” the bank is managed by a team of experienced bankers and professionals. “Citizens bank has been offering hassle free services at competitive rates and the bank addresses customer’s needs and complaints on a priority basis,” explains Singh Bhandari, adding that “timely decision making is our main strength.” 

About the Bank
Established on 2006, the bank has completed nine years of service. “Citizens bank was established as the 20th commercial bank in Nepal. However it has successfully ranked itself in the top 13 banks by FY 2013/14 in-terms of dividend distribution since its inception,” says Bhandari. “This one key indicator clearly reflects the bank’s position in the banking sector.”

The bank has a sound financial position. The paid up capital of the bank is Rs 2.55 billion, deposits Rs 35.78 billion and Loans & Advances is Rs 29.20 billion. The bank earned Rs 723.89 million by the forth quarter of the current fiscal year 2014/15. 

“Apart from growing earning assets, the bank has managed its assets and liability portfolio well. The bank is one of the fastest growing banks,” Bhandari says. Currently, Citizens Bank has more than 350,000 customers. The bank has a network of 54 branches, 42 ATMs, 203 branchless outlets across the country and is promoted by eminent personalities, business and industrial houses and reputed individuals with high social standing.

According to the bank, it also has a greater outreach in populations such as in the far west of the country where only government owned banks are present. The bank also has a unique standpoint of successfully conducting branchless-banking for the distribution of government funded social security allowances. “We are a well-known bank when it comes to providing agriculture loans under our Fast Track Loan scheme,” says Bhandari. 

In terms of human resources, the bank employs bright, honest and pleasant people. The bank also strongly believes in accountability, conducting business ethically and maintaining transparency.   

Turning Point
According to Bhandari, the bank has been able to increase its business in a sizeable way since its inception and move into profit from the very start. “Despite the various problems in business, we have been continuously making profit and distributing dividends to our valued shareholders,” Bhandari explains. 

Product and Schemes of the bank
“The bank has designed products and services to fulfil banking requirements for an individual with a nominal income as well as to big multi-national corporate houses,” says Bhandari. He also adds, “Besides the common banking products and services we offer, our Citizens Fast Track Loan and Citizens One Zone One Products are customized to meet the banking requirements of individuals and small businesses including those in the rural areas of the country.” 

To address customer feedback, regulatory updates and market reactions, Bhandari says the bank regularly reviews the performance of its existing products and services. “In the fiscal year 2015/16 the bank will start Investment Banking Services and Credit Card Services to its valued customers,” he reveals.

Market Strategy
“Customer satisfaction is the only priority of our bank,” states the dapper CEO. As such, the bank offers customized products and services at very competitive rates without hidden costs. “To increase our business, we have adopted to follow the Balance Score Card approach gradually,” says Bhandari.

CSR
Citizens Bank has been regularly contributing to the promotion of sports, health and education sectors since its inception. During the earthquake, the bank played a leading role in the financial sector contributing in cash and kind as part of its CSR. “The bank has contributed Rs. 10 million to the PM’s Disaster Relief Fund and the bank staff and others also contributed Rs. 990,875 to the relief fund as well,” says CEO Bhandari.    

SWOT Analysis

Strengths
• Professional board and management
• Qualified staff
• Loyal Customer
•  Performing assets
• Branchless banking 

Weakness/Areas to Improve
• Wide spread of the branch network across the country.

Opportunities
• Scope of expanding banking services in unbanked areas
• Can enhance paperless products and services
• Financing SMEs and agricultural sector

Threats
• Adaptation of changed technology which is costlier
• Unstable political situation
• Slow economic growth rate


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