Nepali Times
Learning to bank

William Westgate, a former senior VP of HSBC Bank and current director of Studies at London College of Management and Leadership, will be conducting training for mid and senior level bank managers in Nepal in August. Westgate was on a prep trip to Kathmandu and spoke with Nepali Times about the program.

Nepali Times: Why do you feel the need to conduct this training in Nepal?
William Westgate:
I have travelled to this part of the world several times and have seen the growth here. You see, banking is not just an industry; it is like the lifeblood of an economy and a healthy functioning banking industry. With this training we would like to bring good practices of western banking to Nepal. I understand we work in different environments and so we pick out the techniques that are appropriate for the socio-economic scenario, here.

What will this training constitute?
We will conduct three-day separate trainings for the mid and senior managers from the banks. Besides me, David Knapp, former executive director at CIBC world markets, and Darren Windsor, MBA lecturer at Monash University will be conducting the training. We will prepare for three months for the training. It is important to take a holistic approach. Our focus will be on management techniques, financial tools and effective sales methods. We want the participants to be able to use what they learn in our training so we will use practical methods, examples and visuals that will simplify the theories. Participants can also join a fourth day training that will give them a Chartered Management Institute Assessment certificate.

What is your impression about the banking sector after meeting several Nepali bankers?
The meetings have been fruitful and I've met some very capable bankers. There is tremendous competition within the Nepali banks, and while some may think things are moving too fast, this growth is essential in anticipation of the growth of other industries in the future. The loan demand exceeds deposits here so the banks have to invest in financial literacy to pool in money that is yet to enter the formal system. Financial literacy is also important to abolish the traditional system of hundi. The CEOs that I talked to were also eager to discuss issues of mergers and acquisitions and managing a bank's brand.

Linking out

Worldlink Technologies, one of Nepal's leading software solutions providers, established in 2001, has been acquired by an Atlanta based technology services and financial solutions organisation, Software Paradigms International Group (SPI). The company boasts global locations across Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia‚Ä"now set to include Nepal.

"SPI has experienced tremendous growth in the past several years. It grew by 66 per cent last year," says Sid Mookerji (top, right), CEO of SPI. "In order to sustain our growth, we have been looking out for highly talented human resource." After a six-month venture with Worldlink Technologies, SPI was impressed by the quality of Worldlink products that they felt inclined to induct.

Worldlink Technologies will now be known as SPI Nepal. In addition to serving its existing Nepal-based customers in government, banking and other sectors, SPI Nepal will be SPI's third ODC, serving its customers worldwide. SPI Nepal will work hand in hand with the international company to develop and manage applications and systems, and provide IT solutions and consultations.

¬ "This is a win-win situation for both the companies," says Yajurendra Shrestha (top, left), CEO of WorldLink Technologies. "While this gives our products an access to a worldwide market and the valuable brand name of SPI, SPI gains in terms of a new talented team at a relatively less development cost."

SPI will develop the infrastructure of its new investment by enhancing its power supply. The company will also conduct intensive trainings for its Nepal-based human resource, with an aim to increase the workforce of SPI Nepal from the present 100 to 500 in the next two years. SPI has earned key industry certifications including SEI CMMi Level 5, Six Sigma and ISO 9001:2000, and plans for SPI Nepal to be the first company to gain SEI CMMi Level 5 certification.

"This acquisition puts Nepal on the outsourcing map," explains Mookerji. "Hopefully, other companies will see this as a stepping stone and Nepal can tap into its potential to develop as an IT hub."

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)