Dual training programme for bank consultants
iMOVE interview with Ferdinand Feldgen, Deputy Managing Director, Savings Bank Foundation for international Cooperation, February 2015.
The Savings Bank Foundation for international Cooperation introduced an innovative training concept within the financial sector in Turkmenistan.
iMOVE: What is the name and background of your organisation?
Feldgen: The Savings Bank Foundation for international Cooperation was established in 1992 as a registered association. Its member institutions comprise 261 savings banks and 11 savings bank associations. The Foundation makes their experience available in developing and emerging countries by implementing projects on site and lending support to financial institutions, which sustainably promote the economic and social development at a local, regional and national level by way of demand-oriented banking.
The Foundation has set itself the goal of increasing the professional standing of its partnering institutions so as to put these in a position of being able to offer their customers stable access to financial services. The target groups of the partnering institutions of the Foundation are in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as poor people and socially disadvantaged groups.
By strengthening the local and regional financial structures, the Foundation not only creates development alternatives for broad swathes of the population and local enterprises, but also contributes to generating new jobs and income opportunities. Many of these projects receive funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in the context of German development assistance.
iMOVE: Which services do you offer in the field of vocational education and training?
Feldgen: The basis for successful banking is well qualified personnel at all levels of operation. This is why personnel development and training constitute integral elements of any project undertaken by the Foundation. It moreover organises projects with an exclusive focus on personnel development and training. The largest German banking group and the leading group by far in the field of vocational education and training in the German banking sector, the German savings banks, their associations, academies and university contribute a special degree of competence to such projects.
The Foundation is committed to the establishment and further development of educational institutions for the financial sector and the establishment of a dual system of vocational education and training.
The Foundation moreover devises concepts for the vocational training and continuing education provision to the finance industries of its partnering countries; it carries out train-the-trainer seminars and organises specialised and executive seminars focusing on management issues as well as on business administration for small enterprises.
One of the Foundation's specialities is a set of five Business Games. By adopting this modern training method, participants can experience concrete management practice in the fields of Bank Management, Risk Management, Micro Business Management and other topics. More than 12,000 trainees already received this kind of practical training.
iMOVE: What are your international business experiences?
Feldgen: The Foundation co-operates with financial institutions that are similar to the savings bank concept, microfinance institutions, associations and vocational training institutions as well as with other organisations and institutions that provide important services to the financial sector.
The Foundation is a well-respected and valued partner, known for long-term and sustained commitment, in South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. The usual project period is six to eight years. In 2014 alone, 39 projects in 38 countries were carried out by more than 160 employees (24 alone working in Germany). The number of implemented projects has more than doubled since the Foundation's establishment. The total sum of project budgets has multiplied many times over.
The success stories of the partnering institutions are even more impressive. For instance, the microfinance institute CARD, the Foundation's project partner in the Philippines, awarded microcredits to about 6,500 members when the co-operation started in 1996. Today, the institute has more than 2.3 million members and customers and has extended its service provision to all fields of financial services for the population and small enterprises.
iMOVE: Which key service do you provide for a successful cooperation with international partners?
Feldgen: In the context of a fact-finding mission in 2012, the Foundation conducted talks with the central bank and several commercial banks in Turkmenistan to sound out their need for supportive action. The Turkmen partners expressed the desire to develop a dual system vocational education and training programme for bank assistants/customer account managers in the context of a co-operation project between the Foundation and a banking college maintained by the Turkmen central bank.
The subsequently launched project comprises the conceptual and content-related development of a ten-month vocational education and training programme that aims at increasing the customer awareness of future bank consultants. It consists of about 40 per cent theory and 60 per cent practice, taught in the respective departments of the participating ten banks.
The theoretical learning content includes, amongst other things, economic and legal fundamentals, whereas the practical part focuses on customer-oriented communication, payment transactions, forms of investments as well as customer and data protection issues, to name but a few.
© photos: Sparkassenstiftung (Savings Bank Foundation)