Qualifications recognised as a bench-mark
As general manager at the Bank of East Asia, H. Y. Wu still finds time to play an active role in the activities of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers.
'I have been heavily involved since becoming an associate member at least 10 years ago . . . back in the days when the institute was still under its parent institute in London,' she said.
Ms Wu first joined the education committee.
'Our objective was to arrange educational programmes for members. We helped them prepare for the associateship examinations which were then run by the London institute.
'Now we have a local exam. Our challenge has been to find qualified teachers, who are able to impart the [necessary] knowledge and skills to members.' In the late 1980s, Ms Wu joined the executive committee.
'The Hong Kong institute is one of the most fruitful organisations for the banking profession. It arranges and facilitates education and training which is vital for maintaining high standards in the profession,' she said.
Like most big banks in Hong Kong, the Bank of East Asia has its own internal training programme but still makes use of the institute's courses which offer more generalised training for bankers.
'The institute arranges programmes, study tours and workshops, while banks organise their own tailor-made programmes. In some instances, we do not have the appropriate resources and so we have to rely on outside sources like the institute,' Ms Wu said.
The institute has also been training bank employees in China.
'This is a successful initiative and has been well received. The institute is definitely on the right track and will do even better in the future,' she said. 'I wish all bank employees would consider joining.' Like other members of the institute, Ms Wu is looking forward to making use of the extended facilities in the new premises.
'The old premises were just not sufficient for our needs. Now we have more classroom space, a larger library and better facilities,' she said.
The institute also provides lunches and seminars, addressing what Ms Wu calls 'hot topics', such as the year 2000 computer problem.
'They also work very hard to promote better recognition for banking in the local community,' she said.
Qualifications earned from the institute are widely recognised in the financial sector, with some banks placing the AHKIB award on an equal footing to a bachelor degree.
'The Hong Kong Government also recognises associateship as a factor in admission for government posts, while the Monetary Authority recruits people with this qualification. So it has become an important bench-mark,' Ms Wu said.
'We try to use better training facilities to constantly upgrade the quality of our staff. We encourage staff members to obtain qualifications and we give rewards, as an incentive, to those who do.'