Saturday, August 30, 2008

Party Poopers

It's so hard to blog and rant when what you're ranting about is confidential. So I try to be as vague as possible and limit the post to be seen by just a select few. So forgive me if I sound weird as I have to withhold certain information.

I have spent majority of my corporate life in Credit, and it is quite known to be a thankless job. For those with a hazy knowledge in finance, we're known to be party poopers as we usually hold the business back from achieving their targets.

Sales and Marketing has their targets and it's usually in terms of number of accounts or peso/dollar figures depending on who you're talking to. We set the parameters and criteria on who they should be doing business with. We have the power to approve or deny a person or company a credit facility which the business is lobbying to be approved.

To put it simply, the more we approve, the happier the business will be.

However, with the current market crunch and economic conditions, we had to do some belt-tightening and these measures were very unpopular and I stress the word VERY. I attended a credit industry meeting last month and the chair said that credit will be the bank's life-saver in the current conditions and I totally agree with him. It's just so difficult to persuade the people from the other side of the fence.

In the end, our BIG bosses had to step in and dictate the measures and policies to be implemented. The other side of fence couldn't do anything as these were the bosses already. Even the CEO was involved and informed. These measures resulted to lower portfolio figures and lower approvals. They also beefed up the Collections team up to the point that they had to get my own people to help out (yes, whether I like it or not) and are in the process of getting more from other departments.

Last night, my friend from Marketing offered to take me home as he has a party to attend in our village. Since it has been ages since I hitched a ride with him, I agreed. Once we got into the car, we began talking about the recent developments in our business until the conversation lead to the recent measure that we did. We had a long discussion and I felt I was in the hot spot justifying our actions. I know I'm not supposed to take it personally but I felt that Credit has sunk lower in the eyes of the rest of the people at work. He kept on saying that we're killing the business and that we will certainly close shop by next year.

I tried giving him another perspective of things. Though I understand his concern, I told him the facts which lead to us to make those hard decisions. We don't deny applications just because for the fun of it. We have our reasons and by policy and necessity, we can't divulge all those reasons to the whole world except for those who are in the need-to-know basis.

Yesterday morning, I spent four hours in a Credit review meeting with the two business heads and I could see their support especially in terms of Collections. They didn't focus too much on new acquisition as they know I've done all that I could and basically, I'm doing my job in ensuring that my unit does not add to the bleeding (thank God!).

I'm just tired, I guess, from all the stress this past week. Good thing Leo and I are going on vacation the next few days. I need to relax and get my sanity back.


JC Sobejana said...

naku naku naku....just dont let that stress kill you and your baby. always take care!!!

Nonie David Carluen said...

you are so right there sunshine. when the going is good - thanks to sales but when it is bad - it is the fault of the credit department. your department can never win - which is why i did not like it in credit when i was working for the bank. and speaking of banks - do you know that internationally - in europe and australia anyway - with the present economic climate - that if you should be working for a bank you would want it to be standard chartered bank? perhaps the solid performance has a lot to do with people in their credit department. check out the overall company performance against other banks in bloomberg. you are the same standard chartered bank that is UK domiciled?

Sunshine Sangalang said...

yes, we are one and the same. actually, we are quite well-off compared to HSBC and Citi with their current losses and write-offs. nevertheless, i'll just give this a couple of years more and then we'll see.

Nonie David Carluen said...

Does this person hear himself talking? Standard Chartered Bank to close shop?!

Nonie David Carluen said...

quite well-off is an understatement. you guys are the only one still in black and your factor for losses barely untouched.

Joelle Horca said...

Insulation against the global malaise is more a function of circumstance since the products offered are by default not as sophisticated or complex as those offered by the bigger counterparts. This is because the markets in which SCB operates (90% of business is generated in Asia, Africa and ME) are not as affected by the sub-prime crises. We have next to nil presence in the Americas and Europe.

Sunshine Sangalang said...

joelle - at least they had foresight to focus their vision of being the #1 bank in the asia, africa and the middle east :) i used to wonder why they did that.

Joelle Horca said...

That's easy... they followed the path of the British Empire. =) It's only now that they're going into fairly uncharted territory -- Korea and China. From what I gather, the going is rough, particularly with the Korea integration.

Nonie David Carluen said...

bottomline - SCB shareholders are happy while Citi shareholders are crying. meanwhile majority of Bern & Sterns shareholders have commited hara-kiri.