HERE AND BEYOND
What makes us unique is our “Dream Team” concept and principle
Media Room

Armine Ghazaryan, Head of Human Resource Management Unit at Ameriabank CJSC, is answering our questions on www.banker.am website.

- Mrs. Ghazaryan, in 2008 Ameriabank CJSC was staffed, a number of specialists from other banks and financial institutions of Armenia were recruited by the bank. Can the process be deemed completed?

- Certainly, staffing the bank with highly qualified and experienced specialists is called for by our priority objectives. As a result of it, we were able to put together a complete team, which has great potential and experience. In my opinion, yes, we have been successful in creating a team of professionals. However, I cannot claim that the process is complete because the process of expansion is still ongoing. Out net in the regions of the country is expanding, the number of clients and the range of banking services are growing daily. Hence, the staffing process will be permanent. But the bulk, the team of young professionals and experienced specialists is in place now.

- Does the educational system of Armenia provide the banking sector with a sufficient number of qualified specialists and meet the current quantitative and qualitative demand of the banks? Based on your experience, what is the proportion of applicants to the vacant positions announced by Ameriabank CJSC that have met the requirements of your bank?

- Unfortunately, today’s educational system is still unable to meet the current demand of the banking system for qualified specialists, and our bank, in an attempt to establish a system meeting the best international criteria, has higher professionalism requirements for their employees. The number of graduates from around 60 state and private universities is about 18000. Even after receiving their bachelor degree, graduates encounter the problem of finding a job, and you can imagine how many of them end up, in particular, in banks. If we take into consideration those employees of the financial sector who are in interested in working with one of the leading banks in the system, it becomes clear what a big number of people constantly applies for jobs with the bank.
To give a more explicit answer to your question, I can say that only 20-30% of them fully meet the minimum professional requirements established by the bank. For me it is quite strange and astonishing that in the 21st century there are job applicants who do not have even minimum computer skills, even though these are taught at universities. In general, the demand for economists and, in particular, banking specialists, is rather high in the banking system.

- In Armenia, there are not any academic courses offered specifically in banking. In your opinion, isn’t there any need for such academic studies? Isn’t there any need to grant professional certifications of a ‘banking specialist’ or ‘banker’? It looks like the relevant RA CB license for a bank director does not require high levels of preparation and experience in banking, while the current qualification courses are not full-fledged either.

- I don’t think I can agree that the professional qualification of the CB of RA does not require high levels of preparation and all the more experience in banking because such qualification requires an extensive knowledge of normative acts, laws, regulations, diverse legislation, standards. Generally speaking, this CB process requires a complete and serious qualification. Of course, the requirements for a branch manager, executive director or deputy, internal audit member are different. In general, I do not agree that it does not require high levels of preparation and banking experience. This is true, of course, if we are talking about real, objective licensing. I am sure that it is like that. That is quite a different matter what the requirement for educational qualification of a banking specialist or banker is in the financial sector itself. As I said above, we have been successful in the bank in recruiting the bulk of young specialists and experienced people. In any case, at present, we are trying to recruit qualified resources, train them, give them both theoretical and practical knowledge, thus enhancing their professional and business qualities. Ameriabank encourages the development and improvement of their employees, appreciating their need for education. We are giving our employees the opportunity and the funding to improve their educational and professional level and degree in the territory of RA, and especially in renowned educational institutions abroad.
I can proudly say that 25% of our current employees have different academic and international degrees in the relevant areas.
- What are your estimates of the influence of the crisis on employee turnover in banks? Are employees “running away” or, on the contrary, the number of applicants to banks has increased?

- If we consider the international economic crisis in global terms, we all know what a major blow it was for the entire financial sector. Many mighty financial structures are simply laying off thousands of employees. It is not without reason that the International Labor Organization is expecting additional 50 million unemployed around the world during the year. To explicitly say if employees are “running away” from banks or not, I can say that, in my opinion, in the banking system there is a lack of qualified and experienced specialists, and today there is still a need for better quality specialists. I don’t expect a mass “escape” from banks. It can rather be a mass flow from one bank to another than away from the banking system. The reason for any movement of staff among banks is the lack of qualified specialists. In the current crisis many employers cut their jobs, but I am sure that we are not only recruiting new, qualified employees, but also increasing our employees’ remuneration based on the results of their annual appraisal. The bank always carries its objectives and promises to completion and, on the basis of this, reviews remuneration and makes the relevant amendments. I am sure that we do not have a high employee turnover problem.

- It is widely known that there are numerous contradictions and conflicts in banks as a business. What, in your opinion, is the guarantee of the success of the bank? Who or what does such success depend on?

- To emphasize once again, for each organization qualified human resources are like a real investment, a base stone for long-term growth and development and a guarantee of success. I would like to state that what makes us unique is our “Dream Team” concept and principle, which is the main guarantee of success – the aspiration for and the will of the team of winners, the young, experienced, committed specialists to achieve success.
In my opinion, the guarantee of success is the team, to what extent they understand the set goals, the way, the strategy, with what resources and team spirit they will be able to achieve all the short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. The concept of the team of professionals means that the team members, due to their potential, team ideas and initiative are not afraid of any difficulties and, of course, together are able to operate effectively due to commitment and sense of responsibility and to overcome all the barriers. Of course, in my opinion, much depends on the team leaders. I would like to make special mention of the professional team of top managers that we have in out bank, as well as the fact that the strategic partner of Ameriabank is the Troika Dialog Group, one of the largest Russian investment banking companies.
Of course, we have fostered the corporative style and the general approaches of Troika Dialog, which, with its ideology and principles, is a vivid example of a success team. In the last three consecutive years Troika Dialog has won the “HR brand of the year” award as one of the best employers in Russia, where young specialists choose to work. We aspire for a similar achievement in Armenia: in the near future, we will want highly qualified specialists to be setting working at Ameriabank as a goal for themselves.

- In your opinion, what are the key qualities of a successful bank director?

- In my opinion, the key qualities of a director, independent of whether it’s a bank or another organization, is the capacity to lead, understand the situation expeditiously, make decisions, as well as diligence, objectivity, and, definitely, excellent professional preparation. As regards the qualities of a successful bank director, it should be noted that the financial sector is a very diverse and responsible area, and, of course, in these circumstances, in addition to the above-mentioned qualities, objectivity, diligence and management skills are also very important. Especially in a bank, these qualities must be more emphatic.

- Please tell a funny story from your experience or a joke related to banking for the readers of Banker.am website.

The son asks his father:

- Dad, is it true that in the early 1990s bread was given by cards.
- Yes, son, - the father replies with a heavy heart.
- How, then, did you use to manage getting the bread from ATMs?
Tigran Hovhannisyan

Updated 14.03.2014, 18:23
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