KATHMANDU: Jhalak Prasad Khanal, CEO of Jyoti Bikash Bank Ltd (JBBL) considers banking to be his true calling. Prior to his appointment as CEO, Khanal served a a credit officer for nine years at Nepal Indosuez Bank (now Nepal Investment Bank). Following that, he was designated as a senior manager for six years in the same organisation. Khanal began his career from a
totally different field — as a principal of a primary school in Tanahu. He recalls, “My first salary was Rs 175 per month, a princely sum back then.” He made a leap into the banking sector in 1993 and since then, there has been no turning back, as he considers this to be his
final career landing.
Khanal holds a Masters degree in business administration from Philippines, which helped him grasp
the ideas of banking and the business sector and gave him the determination he needed to excel in it. “It is a human tendency to yearn for more and be ambitious in life. To achieve this, I quit my job as senior manager at Nepal Investment Bank and began a new venture. I felt it was high time and I was ready to take on the role of a leader and decision maker,” shares Khanal. Armed with 18 years of expertise and experience in the sector, he opened the doors of JBBL to the general public in 2008 and in a three year period as a CEO, expanded the paid up capital of the bank from Rs 259 million to Rs 740 million and extended it to 14 locations across the country. JBBL was the first private bank to open its branch in Diktel a few months ago.
Even after this achievement, he is aware of the negative impression that customers harbour about development banks, since few development banks — such as Nepal Bikash Bank in 1999 and more recently, Gorkha Bikash Bank —
have made customers suffer. “Because of failure, misappropriation of loans and deteriorating financial health of some banks, it is difficult to convince customers that all development banks cannot be cast in the same mould.” says Khanal.
According to him, the concerned central authority, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), and Finance Ministry should come up with effective evaluation and grade
development banks accordingly. After that, prompt steps should be taken to announce banks involved in financial irregularities as ‘problematic’. This would help depositors and the general public to prudently choose the right bank to suit their needs.
Khanal feels that banks have to learn to operate professionally but in Nepal, they are operating as an industry. This has resulted in the mushrooming of banks only within the valley, as this is where they are most profitable. Because of this, only about 30 per cent of the total population has access to banking services. “Political instability, insecurity and lack of awareness are the main hindrances to progress in this sector,” says Khanal.
Talking about the challenges as CEO, he says, “Educated and professional stakeholders and share-holders should be involved in banking. Unfortunately, most banking and financing institutions lack such professionals.” Khanal is careful not only about personal enhancement but also about employee development. To keep employees up-to-date and creative, JBBL conducts in-house trainings fortnightly. Khanal says, “I give assignments to my staffs and inspect them myself. I believe employees also need to grow as the company prospers. Besides, we also encourage staffs to attend trainings and workshops organised across the country.” Although he is optimistic about the introduction of new technologies like GPRS, mobile banking and smartcards, he opines that one must proceed with caution — as the success rate and substantiality of these ventures is yet to be seen.
KHANAL’S TIPS ON EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT
• Complete dedication and commitment
• Building a team of like-minded people
• Clear vision and dedication
• Clear channels of communication
• Educated and professional stakeholders
JBBL AT A GLANCE
Established in 2008, Jyoti Bikash Bank Ltd is a National Level Development Bank licensed by Nepal Rastra Bank. JBBL is established with the primary focus on financing development of hydropower and infrastructure and providing banking facilities to the general public. It aims to serve a wide range of customers with its unique customer- oriented quality services and has vision to be a leading bank with unique identity. Out of the bank’s total portfolio, 15 per cent of its investment is in hydropower. Hydropower projects include Jiri Khola Sano Hydropower with an investment of Rs 230 million and Khani Khola Hydropower with an investment of 200 million. Similarly, Rs 100 million is being invested in infrastructure development.