In line with the expansion of the retail banking sector, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) plans to recruit some 140 professionals and fresh graduates this year. Ying Wei-yun, assistant general manager of ICBC's flagship banking business in Hong Kong, shares their strategies for training young talent.
ICBC (Asia) has been boosting its retail banking in Hong Kong. What are your plans and targets?
Hong Kong is an international financial centre with an ever-growing market demand for wealth management services.
We see great development potential in Hong Kong's retail banking sector, also because of a fast-growing mainland market and relevant yuan businesses.
Cross-border banking and yuan business services have also been flourishing in recent years.
ICBC (Asia) attaches great importance to human resources. So we plan to allocate even more resources to develop retail banking and branch networks to ensure service quality. Meanwhile, sales executives and tellers are in great demand. Many other banks have also been keen on hiring sales staff. Recruiting more frontline staff of high quality is also one of our major tasks this year.
At ICBC (Asia), we are building a team of retail-banking customer service managers with professional expertise to cope with rising demand for the bank's retail banking services.
To strengthen the team, we will send new recruits to frontline sales positions while adjusting personnel structures at our branches from time to time.
We strive to strengthen staff training to enhance our staff's professional knowledge and working abilities.
What career development and training opportunities do you offer?
ICBC (Asia) has developed a comprehensive intern training system to help new employees adapt to the working environment.
Under the system, new employees will undergo a series of training in the first month to learn - among many other aspects - ICBC (Asia) businesses and products, workflows, compliance requirements and sales techniques. Then, they will be posted to different branches in the following two months for on-the-job training under the guidance of senior staff.
They are expected to learn various business knowledge and sales techniques from their supervisors. This will help them fit into their new postings more easily.
In addition, ICBC (Asia) holds monthly training sessions for our sales personnel, with a view to updating their knowledge of new products and services.
Various training programmes and activities will be held from time to time to enhance their theoretical knowledge, business skills and professional know-how.
How does your Management Trainee Programme work?
We are a people-oriented financial institution, and we take graduates seriously. Young people are the hope of our society. They are energetic, creative and talented. We have tailor-made the Management Trainee Programme to attract them.
We are now recruiting graduates for the posts of personal banking trainees and teller trainees. If hired, they will receive all-round on-the-job training, through which they will fit into their new posts more easily.
ICBC (Asia) runs a sales merit point system - an objective initiative-driving system that quantifies employees' sales performance regardless of their ranks and duration of employment.
The merit points they earn will be translated into corresponding bonus payments. Under the system, the majority of the trainees have managed to reach the set targets and earn salaries on a monthly basis.
What are your immediate business and talent recruitment plans?
We strive to expand the size of our network to a total of 60 branches and 250 ATMs three years from now.
We are opening SME service centres in an effort to develop banking services for small to medium enterprises.
For retail banking services, we are expanding our comprehensive banking services, which include credit card services, cross-border and general banking services - including deposits and debit cards - and wealth management services.
So we plan to hire about 140 people this year to cope with rising demand for frontline staff, in particular branch sales personnel and tellers.