The most important turning point in the BUDBL’s history came when it upgraded from a regional level development bank to one at the national level.
The best way to assess Business Universal Development Bank Ltd’s (BUDBL) journey so far would be to weigh its current achievements with the vision, goals and targets that the bank had set during its inception. Manohar KC, CEO of BUBDL says, “We have achieved those goals and targets comfortably despite numerous external threats posed during the last 11 years.” This is reflected in the fact that the bank has grown from being a regional development bank to one of the leading national level development banks in the country today. KC is not being overly boastful when he says, “We have had a fairly smooth ride to get to where we are right now.”
The bank has earned two distinct identities that differentiate BUDBL from other national level development banks. First, customer satisfaction has become not only a business model but a passion as well, for which BUDBL has carefully created a team of staff that specialises in understanding the needs of each individual customer. “For instance, the team members not only recognise customers by face but by name as well. This has created a rapport and a real bond between staff and customers,” says KC.
Secondly, its other strength lies in how it handles corporate governance. The bank has been able to expand its business and presence in the financial market without compromising its commitment to corporate governance. KC explains that this has been possible due to the bank’s continuous employee training, effective corporate culture and built-in system to check and balance activities at all levels.
From Regional to National
The most important turning point in the BUDBL’s history came when it upgraded from a regional level development bank to one at the national level. The merger with the well-established Kathmandu based Universal Finance Ltd four years ago, provided the bank the necessary platform to grow its operations as a national level development bank. “The significance of the merger and thus becoming a national level development bank was that it energised our team to strive for higher goals, thus making for higher returns for our shareholders,” recalls KC.
There is a history of BFIs rushing into new segments in the financial market without properly assessing its risks, returns and most importantly resources (both human and non-human) to deliver quality service. Thus many end up failing to reap the benefits of any new market segments. However, BUDBL with its motto, ‘Nothing Less Than Best Service’, has always followed the SWOT analysis before entering new segments. Due to this reason it has not been very aggressive when it comes to deep market penetration but has rather taken a more pragmatic approach. This wait and see method and BUDBL’s deliberate narrowing of its geographical presence has allowed it to offer products and services as promised.
Recognition of the bank’s logo, its brand name amongst masses has been its greatest achievement in recent years. Starting as a Pokhara based development bank to becoming a national level bank has been one of its greatest achievements. Its presence has been felt by other well established banks and their corporate plans and strategies to counter BUDBL’s strategies speak volumes about its position in the financial market. In terms of deposits, loans, return to shareholders and brand image it stands in the top five of development banks.
Market Size, Market Share
Instead of following the statement of most CEOs that a ‘pie of the market is fixed and we all share a piece of this fixed pie’ BUDBL has been able to prove that by putting the right resources in the right place, the market itself has the potential to grow into a bigger pie. “The financial reach of people living in the inner Terai region and hilly region is still untapped, thus the present market size is not the actual size,” says KC. The bank’s top management believes that with rapid development in infrastructure such as roads and IT the market will grow.
BUDBL’s market strategies are driven by the bank’s values and principles. “This has led to greater staff and customer satisfaction, consistency in what we have been delivering and providing satisfaction to our stakeholders,” believes KC. The bank has used its resources and capabilities in order to retain its existing clients and to attract potential customers and improve the brand image. The bank says it has been constantly customising its products that best suit the financial needs of its prospective customers.
Merger with Fewa Bikash Bank Ltd
BUDBL signed a MoU for a merger with Fewa Bikash Bank on Nov 17 this year. The merger committee has been working to ease the merger process and jointly operate as a single entity from early next year. This merger was not only the result of NRB’s directive regarding the rise in paid up capital but it was also based on both banks’ assessment of the level of synergy it could create. “This synergy is believed to be an achievement as both the banks believe in similar values and principles when it comes to operating for the benefit of shareholders and stakeholders at large,” says KC.
Opportunities and Threats
The shift of people from hilly to plain areas and to cities has cut down the cost of service and the rise in consumerism has resulted in demand for personal loans such as home and auto loans are opportunities for the bank as is also increase in the use of ABBS, ATM Debit Card, e-Banking, Mobile Banking and so on.
One of the most visible challenges is related to political instability. This can hamper making predictions and threaten the bank’s capability to provide a smooth service to its customers and to implement its plans and strategies in new and existing market segments.
BUDBL has established an organisational culture where it has been able to cultivate good behavioural ethics, sense of responsibility and desire to excel at work among its staff. The bank believes that good products with poor presentation and offers can never satisfy customers nor retain them. Thus, having value products for customer and staff to understand their needs is one of the major strengths of the bank.
BUDBL has been continuously organising blood donation programmes in association with the Red Cross Society for the past three years throughout its regional branches and head office.
Moreover, it has also donated Rs 1.5 million to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund in partnership with a media group.