Women at the helm

ANZ’s new head of retail banking Renuka Kumar during an interview yesterday. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

THERE is a need to value the females in any corporate organisation and for them to stand beside the males in the business for greater success.

ANZ Fiji country head Saud Minam said about 65 per cent of the management team at the bank were females.

Ten out of the 12 branches of ANZ has female branch managers with the bank recently announcing the appointment of Renuka Kumar as the new head of retail banking.

Mr Minam said there were a lot of people with the concept that it was the men who were running the bank when in fact it was the females who were at the forefront of all major departments.

He said Ms Kumar’s appointment would strengthen the retail banking for the bank and also confirmed that she was in charge of Pacific Retail Assurance for the bank.

With almost 31 years of service with the bank, Ms Kumar said she had been part of the evolution of the banking sector and had seen changes from passbooks to digital era. “We have evolved over the years — we started off with passbooks and now into this digital era.

“We do not even issue passbooks any more and it’s all debit cards, visa cards and now chip cards for more security and less chances of fraud,” she said.

Originally from Ba, Ms Kumar commutes on a regular basis and loves her job.

“People are more susceptible to online banking and since we launched the first banking app, more customers are now using it,” she said.

With the bank commanding about 30 per cent of retail banking, Ms Kumar said there had not been any major change in the market over the years.

“There hasn’t been a major change in the market but at the moment if you look at personal loans, we are focusing more on quality, focusing more on responsible lending and we are only lending to people who are able to pay them so we are not overly committing any customer.

“We are focusing on savings — we are proactively telling customers to save so that they don’t have to borrow. Savings is prime for us.”

Mr Minam said looking at the retail banking sector, in the past there were only four banks in the market and then HFC Bank entered followed by BRED Bank.

“The size of the pie has not been increased — the number of people has remained the same but the competition has increased which basically has diluted overall percentage number with the profitability coming down,” he said.

In their efforts to improve and strengthen their retail banking sector, Ms Kumar said they planned to be more customer oriented and do more for their customers.

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