Myths about the state-owned bank debunked | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 20, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:28 PM, September 06, 2017

Myths about the state-owned bank debunked

If you were asked to close your eyes and picture a government institution, shabby buildings, long lines, and slow service are probably the things that come to mind. And although that's not entirely true, most of us try to steer clear of public organisations. Today's story is about a state-owned institution. We caught up with Md. Abdus Salam Azad, General Manager, Human Resources of Janata Bank in the hopes of debunking some of the deep-rooted stereotypes we hold.

Mr Abdus Salam's day starts with the thought of getting to work on time and sorting what he'll do once he gets there. His job is very demanding and he looks to escape the stress with a cup of tea or chatting over lunch with friends and colleagues. His biggest concern is developing quality officers who can be the leaders of tomorrow.

Tell us a little about Janata Bank. What is the culture like?

Janata Bank is a state-owned commercial bank. It was founded in 1972 and has 906 branches in Bangladesh and 4 abroad. It also has 3 exchange houses.

As for culture, we are strictly customer-oriented because we are here to provide a quality service. We also encourage employees to be innovative and let them contribute by giving them some discretion in their jobs. Overall it's a culture promoting hard work and success.

How do you manage diversity?

We apply a quota system in the recruitment process. Some of the categories are female quotas, minority quotas, and freedom fighter quotas. By doing this we ensure that all kinds of people can work in Janata and contribute to its success.

How do you retain and motivate staff?

There are quite a few activities to motivate staff. The initial orientation program is aimed to assimilate employees into the culture. Once that is done, we keep them busy with training programmes and skill development courses to enhance their skills. We also post them in remote places so that they learn to work in different conditions.

What do you expect from new recruits?

In today's business environment you must definitely be innovative. But you must also have the competencies to back it up. When you actually work for a company it's often about the will and preparedness to tackle day to day challenges. So innovative, talented, and resilient are the qualities I look for.

Some people think that state-owned banks aren't as good as private ones when it comes to providing service. What do you think?

I disagree. I have accounts in private banks but the service is not always top quality. On the other hand a few branches of public banks might be underperforming but you can't label all branches because of that. You see our branch managers play a key role in the operations of each individual branch, they have some discretion on how tasks are being carried out and some managers perform beyond expectations. You can expect international quality service at these branches.

What was your motivation for getting into this field?

Back in our day we had limited career options compared to today. These days there are many startups and endless opportunities to explore. Janata Bank was (and is) a huge organisation is a truly global industry. It's also a vital part of the economy; we sanction some of the biggest loans. There's also the chance to meet people from all walks of life in this job. All this was enough to convince me to join the banking sector.

The interviewer is a freshman at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka

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