Sanctions Provide Opportunity For Consolidation, Citibank Says
For Tigor M. Siahaan, who is still awaiting formal confirmation as the new Indonesia head of Citibank, the sanctions imposed on the lender by the central bank served as an important lesson.
Rather than dwell on the negatives, he said, the bank was determined to make the most of the situation. Since Bank Indonesia in May suspended Citibank from acquiring new credit card customers for two years, priority banking clients for one year and opening new branches for one year, the lender has been able to consolidate and improve its services, he said.
It’s certainly a step in the right direction after the two major scandals that engulfed the lender earlier in the year. In March, a glamorous relationship manager was accused of embezzling millions of rupiah from her wealthy clients, then a politician died soon after being confronted by outsourced debt collectors.
“We are very grateful that in the past two months, no customer has left us. They are very loyal,” Tigor said on Thursday. “They have been our customers for more than 20 years, but we now realize that we can provide more services to them.”
Citibank, he said, was now focusing on building relationships with its existing customers.
“For example, most of our individual customers own businesses, but we barely knew about that. They have been using other banks for their business,” he said. “So, our aim now is to provide more comprehensive services, ranging from lending to business advice. We won’t be talking about products anymore, its all about the customers’ needs.”
Tigor, who will be the first Indonesian to lead Citibank, is replacing previous chief country officer Shariq Mukhtar, who was assigned to the bank’s Singapore office.
Tigor said his first task was to improve Citibank’s human resources. “We must be very, very comfortable and really invest in our human resources because the banking business is a business of people,” he said. “Yes, there are buildings and all the computers. But behind all that, it’s human.”
He added that he wanted to ensure that every customer’s funds remained safe under his leadership, something that he said was not guaranteed under his predecessor.
His second focus, he said, would be to make improvements in the mindsets of his employees and quality of service. “I want us to be the provider of the best customer service,” he said.
Tigor said, Citibank should be able to provide innovations and solutions that not only meet customer needs but exceed them.
“This world is very competitive and we have to be one or two steps ahead,” he said. “Even before customers think they need something, we have to provide that for them.”