Business — Banking — Management — Marketing & Sales

Consultancy and banking advisory services for changing C.I.S. banks

Category: Bank Management

We have seen that re-organisation, mergers and commercial improvement of C.I.S. banks are needed. Training may be useful to prepare such changes. It will seldom be sufficient in achieving such challenges. There is, thus, a need for external consultancy.

In fact, an analysis of the reasons for the success or failure of restructuring projects shows that technical assistance inside the banks, through tailored advice for individual banks, integrated multi-dimensional interventions that deal with the full range of development needs of a single bank and intensive hands-on consulting in specific fields like, for instance, human resources and Management Of Change, has become a priority for future improvements.

So, local consultancy capabilities must be built.

A keen interest has been expressed in this business advisory services or bank advisory units (such as E.B.A.S.), which becomes considered to be one of the most useful means for the C.I.S.’ banks improvement.

Despite of that, many banks still do not want advices, suggesting them what they need to do. They would prefer instructions to recommendations. Our conclusion would be that consultants fot C.I.S. banks should no more be in charge of producing reports!

It would be much more convenient to use on-the-ground consultancy, with focused assignments, that can provide short term solution and help solving specific day-to-day problems.

Thus the roles of the bank «support units» (and their local agencies) should be cautiously defined. For instance, they could provide also long term assistance, but that requires a precise definition of their commercial relationship and contracts.

Despite of that, self-sustaining Bank Support Units based on Banks’ Associations have not always received the support of local banks. Banks’ Associations can only be appropriate counterparts for Bank Advisory Services, if they have reached a degree of maturity that allows effective co-operation among their members in order to reach common goals.

It is also possible to:

link training and consulting services (training should necessarily be accompanied by intensive hands-on consulting): bank training centers and advisory services could collaborate in order to develop tailor-made programmes with combination of courses with in-house training and consultancy and implementation phases during which trainees are coached on-the-job by their trainers to facilitate implementation in their respective banks, develop in-house consulting teams.

In all cases, the conditions for the effectiveness of these advisory resources must also be set up. For instance, there is a need for funding, as local banks cannot afford to pay for western consultants and consultants can only work successfully if they receive support from the recipient banks’ top management.

This is why Ebtra has elaborated a «Management Of Change» module called « Creating and developing a support unit or a technical assistance center » to bring all the basic knowledge’s needed to set up such a structure. It is divided in two parts, the main elements of which are:

Strategic management in a service sector advice center:

Market research, identifying potential clients, analysing the needs of the banks for restructuring advice and understanding their requirements

Setting up and up-dating a network of relationships within the banks to be able to identify their present and future needs — know your market.

Analysing the banks’ opportunities and strategies, looking for existing and future weaknesses.

Assessing the market size for each service.

Assessing the actual business opportunities

Designing the right products for the technical assistance center to provide.

Identifying the competition to provide such services locally.

Calculating prices (considering the conditions for a consulting firm to survive) and considering budgets for such services.

Determining how to become a partner of multinational projects.

Defining the Technical Assistance Center’s aims and limits.

Internal analysis of the consulting firm’s strengths and weaknesses

Review of available resources within their environment, compared with its staffing requirements.

Would it be useful and possible to set-up a permanent team of consultants? What are the opportunities to find (and, possibly, select and recruit), in the C.I.S., a core team of adequate consultants, in all the key areas?

What are the conditions needed to build up the required capabilities, within the staff employed now or available (improved through a strong «internal training» programme)?

What are the remaining needs for future foreign/external technical assistance?

Determining the target markets and products

Providing programs designed to respond to the needs of the local banks (how to offer the right products).

Discuss the priorities, and the means) to carry out specific services.

Define the appropriate range of services — advisory, consultancy, audit, research, monitoring, coaching, etc.

Devising and formulating a strategy for future development and preparing and establishing a three year business plan (timing, actions, resources) including:

— analysis of the possible timing of development — including a description of an action plan and timetable,

— evaluation of the cost of development (structure and investment) and setting-up of the operating budgets, for each period.

Conceiving the optimal organisation of the Technical Assistance Unit, adapted to respond to the local needs: listing roles and responsibilities, designing its internal organisation and structure (defining and describing duties and developing job descriptions, procedures and controls), determining resource requirements,

Commercial management of a service unit:

Hiring commercial staff and establishing a network to market and sell their services. Establishing commercial aids, such as brochures to highlight service specifications.

Establishing relationships with potential customers

How can one identify potential clients, and key business influencers (who may not be obvious) and establish relationships with them, so as to widen a professional relationship network, at all levels in the industry (general management, human resources management, operational management at head office and branch levels, as well as any unofficial hierarchies)?

How to use contacts through the telephone?

How to prepare visits, negotiate, write a commercial proposal, and sign commercial contracts?

How to prepare a customer file, and manage follow-up of customers?

Methodologies and service materials

Evaluating the impact of all the preparation stages:

Designing approaches and methodologies for each type of service.

Developing a documentation center.

Determining methods and designing working programmes.

Preparing aids and having them printed and edited.

Designing the action plan of a specific project:

Writing terms of reference.

Formulating a reply to a tender bid, and choosing the best supplier of a specific programme.

Working with (local) sub-contractors.

Organising the work of a group of consultants

Allocating, defining and describing duties.

Defining the limits of delegation, and individual objectives.

Setting up complementary teams for various projects.

Organising premises.

Relationships and coordination of activities and units (departments, offices, etc).

Setting up and managing a team of consultants: the management of the consultants (meeting commitments, providing aids, etc.), has a crucial influence on performance. The main tasks that are to be taken charge of:

Hiring adequate staff.

Determining appropriate salaries.

Putting a team together and motivating it — adopting the right «leadership styles» within the hierarchy, particularly between junior and senior specialists.

Organising and running staff meetings.

Training one’s own staff (either consultants, or administrative), and organising internal on-the-job trainings.

Managing Human Resources: optimizing work and holiday planning, dealing with grievances or, even, conflicts.

Conducting personal achievement follow-up (monthly reports): organising performance appraisal interviews, dealing with poor performance, and constructing development programmes to improve individual performance.

Managing improvements in performance and the efficiency of a support unit.

Administrative management of a service unit

Setting up premises.

Ascertaining that equipment is available and in good working order.

Buying and installing computer systems to manage commercial, planning and accounting activities.

Organising the reception of the clients and the smooth running of contact.

The financial management of a technical assistance center

Calculating actual incomes and costs, and comparing them to norms.

Balancing accounts.

Refunding of expenses.

Building up and controlling budgets.

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