26th National Convention

Posted in Events

BAIPHIL@70: Empowering the Banking Industry through Continuing Education, Innovation and Research

Article Courtesy of Ms. Abby Rebong (First Published in the Philippine Star,March 18,2011)

The Bankers Institute of the Philippines holds its 26th National Convention – along with the celebration of its 70th founding anniversary this 2011.

In its continuous quest to promote and impart industry best practices to the local banking community, the Bankers Institute of the Philippines (BAIPHIL), through the 26th National Convention Director Aristeo P. Zafra, Jr. and the 26th National Convention Overall Chairperson Teresita I. Andres, has been working to ensure that this year’s National Convention is truly something to look forward to. More than two hundred participants (BAIPHIL members and guests) from Metro Manila as well as from the provinces are expected to attend the Convention, which will open today at the Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay and will run until the 20th of March.

This year’s BAIPHIL National Convention promises to have an interesting lineup of activities prepared for the participants ranging from the general and technical sessions (to help members learn and better understand the latest banking practices as well as related technologies today) to an exhibit showcasing leading IT and other service providers and suppliers. This is a great opportunity for member banks to catch up not only on the best industry practices but also on the latest technologies that can help improve their day-to-day operations.

Acquiring new knowledge
All these are of course in line with the Convention’s current theme, Empowering the Banking Industry through Education, Innovation, and Research. According to BAIPHIL President Emmanuel Barcena, this year’s theme perfectly reflects the Institute’s Vision to be the leading organization in the pursuit of banking excellence aiming to be at par with the best in the Asia Pacific Region and the Mission to support the banking industry in enhancing productivity and keeping abreast with relevant developments through continuing education, research and information exchange. As for its relevance to the current state of the local banking industry, BAIPHIL First Vice President Agnes Brillante-Santos affirms that acquiring knowledge on the new financial accounting standards, new regulatory standards, and industry best- practices, etc., for an industry such as theirs will always be relevant, especially for banks aiming to render the highest level of standard of service and be globally competitive. She cites the latest changes in the accounting standards, PFRS 9 and gearing up for the implementation of the new Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process(ICAAP), which is in line with the Basel III requirements (just some of the topics that are going to be tackled in the convention) as two examples of relevant knowledge that their members should update themselves with. As the Institution is geared towards supporting banks in enhancing productivity through education, innovation and research, it’s a must that banking professionals are provided with all the necessary trainings. Brillante-Santos also note show important technology is to their industry, given that it “improves the way banks deliver their services to the clients; it promotes efficiency from within and provides cost efficient solutions”, which is why it’s only appropriate that the Institute makes technology a big part of their biennial Convention.

Keeping up with today’s technology
Leading by example, BAIPHIL has also taken steps to make use of technology to their advantage. Starting with the recent facelift of their website and getting into social networking both aim to better update its members as well as to reach out to a bigger market. BAIPHIL’s 7-year old website, www.baiphil.org, was re-launched in 2010 and has since then been very instrumental in the improved communications and information exchange between all institutional members and partners in the banking industry. Its online availability has also served as a major vehicle for BAIPHIL to continuously expand its limitless viewership. While the website has already been helpful in fulfilling BAIPHIL’s goal of providing relevant opportunities to serve its members in the field of education and research, in fulfilling BAIPHIL’s mission of providing relevant opportunities to serve its members in the field of education and research, moves for further improvement to update its service continue to be planned.

BAIPHIL Second Vice President and Director of Automation and Website Management Salvador “Buddy” Serrano shares, “We gave the BAIPHIL website a lift last year to make it more dynamic like linking our training offerings to institutional member banks. So far, based on our Google Analytics, the website already has a growing following – with unique visits by people from other countries. We’ve also created a Facebook and Twitter page which we try to update on a more regular basis – we see these as highly effective tools to support what the website has started on. In the future, we see the website as a virtual meeting space not only for its members but also for its partners and associates. That is why enhancements of the site are a work in progress, never ending, never tiring.” For now, Serrano adds that members can look forward to a continued campaign“ to entice all members to take advantage of what the website offers.” Likewise, the BAIPHIL Blog will hopefully be launched soon and open doors for a more interesting interaction via the internet, of course, in a controlled fashion. The “for members only” page will certainly be a blast for those who seek to know more about the men and women of BAIPHIL, present and past. Certainly, it will be another exciting year as the website gears to new heights!”

Barcena adds that technology has indeed helped the Institute move a lot easier and faster, “Our website and the employment of electronic mails are commonly used to relay information amongst our stakeholders and the outside world.” Although admittedly, they also find technological improvements as “double-bladed” as it can either pose challenges or provide opportunities, the Institution cannot afford to be seen as “antiquated” especially during these times, which is why BAIPHIL continues to embrace technology in order to stay relevant and make the most of it.

Overcoming challenges
While everything is going smooth sailing in terms of adopting new technologies into their operations, certain challenges are of course still present like sourcing speakers for the specialized trainings that they offer, some administrative challenges like setting up a better office – hopefully in the Makati area; increased participation from provincial banks, and trying to come up with better ways to serve their members given the possible competition that they may end up facing through other learning institutions. But in spite of all these, BAIPHIL is always ahead when it comes to planning on how to face these challenges head on – and succeed. “We closely coordinate with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and other non-government financial institutions to address our recurring problem when it comes to resource speakers and we also have our eye on possible office locations that we can move into soon,” says Barcena.

As for keeping their edge on training programs, “We try to offer value-added services in terms of what we provide our members which are not just all theories but are based on the actual experiences of our resource speakers. In effect, the members get a better feel of what really happens in the industry,” says BAIPHIL Education Director Estrellita Ong. It’s also a plus that the Institute makes sure to keep its rates at a minimum. BAIPHIL also doesn’t limit its reach to those from the banking community as they also share their knowledge with OFWs and their spouses through the Financial Literacy Outreach Program. Through this program and in partnership with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, they also get to work with parents and teachers to teach them basic budgeting that hopefully they will be able to impart to their own children. The program, which started with the public schools located in Metro Manila, is something that the Institute hopes to also hold in provinces like Cebu and Pangasinan soon.

BAIPHIL has indeed come full circle with its scope of services and special projects that aim to uphold banking excellence in the country and provide financial education to the masses. By keeping its core values of good governance, competence and integrity, service, teamwork, and innovation always in check, members can only expect to see even better things to come from BAIPHIL.