Report on the Hong Leong Bank Visit

                    It was the 8th of November, when the Form Three’s of YAC organized a visit to a Hong Leong Bank Branch in Subang. The visit started at 11am in the morning and the friendly branch manager, Ms. Foo, greeted us warmly. As we entered the bank, I took a quick scan around the surrounding and noticed that security was very tight around the bank as there were quite an amount of security cameras as well as a security guard. There were also a number of people queuing up in the respective counters.

                    Ms. Foo then brought us to the upper level of the bank where we had a briefing on what was in store for us that day. The upper level was mainly where meetings were held and bank documents were handled. The first on our itinerary was to observe the transactions made in the bank as well as to see what happens in the bank. I was very pleased to actually see the tellers being really friendly and patient to all the customers. One poster that caught all our eyes was a new product being introduced by Hong Leong Bank. It was the MTV credit card that offers discounts at the many places we all like to hang out. We were actually looking at the poster for a very long time and wishing we were all 18 and above! While observing, we took down a few questions to ask Ms. Foo. After 15 minutes or so, we went up to get our questions answered.

                    Let the questioning begin! First we talked about the remittance counter that we saw downstairs. According to Ms. Foo, the counter is set up to handle foreign currency. We talked a bit more on the ATM machines as well and one new thing that I never knew was that with a new system which is called MEPS, we can go to any ATM machines in the country, for example a Maybank ATM and withdraw money from our account in Hong Leong! The only catch is that, we will be charged RM1 for the service. When we were all downstairs, we took note of a few brochures as well stating about online and SMS banking, which sounded very interesting to me. Ms. Foo mentioned that online banking is now being encouraged by most of the banks here and with online banking everything can be down except for withdrawing hard cold cash. SMS banking on the other hand can only be used to transfer money from your own account and to check your balance. I found that part very interesting, as it will actually save a lot of time and is very efficient.

                    Apart from that, we even talked about what will actually happen if there was a robbery. If ever there was a robbery, all staff will follow the guidelines and everything should go according to plan instead of just panicking! The money with the tellers is also limited for safety reasons. These tellers will have to take money from the cash officer in charge and after receiving a certain amount from the public they will need to pass it back to the cash officer again. When we were observing the different counters, we all took note of one counter, which said Priority Banking. This counter according to Ms. Foo is for chosen customers only as well as the senior citizens. These chosen customers will have to fulfill certain criterias such as having a deposit in the bank, a unit trust and a loan less than a million. This counter is set up actually for the convenience of the public so that they wouldn’t have to queue up too long. I find this counter very useful and this will definitely attract more customers! During the whole briefing, we were all wondering on how does a bank earn its income? Ms. Foo then mentioned that the bank actually earns some of its income from all the interest rates the bank charges to all loans.

                    After a quick break, we went downstairs to have a look at the ATM machine as well as the insides of a bank. It was all very interesting and I was completely taken aback by the money-counting machine! It is usually 99% correct and the speed of the machine was just so amazing! When we went back up, we had another talk by Ms. Foo on what makes a bank different from the other banks. All banks have the same products but the only difference between each bank is the good customer service. Hong Leong Bank on the other hand has a programme for customers called the I-CARE programme. Ms. Foo passed a few booklets around concerning the programme. I-CARE means- I Create A Rewarding Experience for all customers! They also have this customer service training twice a month as well as a service quality index. Hong Leong Bank has also done a survey on what do customers want and I must agree to most of the customers who wants fast and efficient services.

                    This branch has also SBJ values, which they came up with all by themselves! S stands for superior customer intimacy, which means they believe in providing their customers tiptop services. B stands for Best Work Attitudes And Practises that actually means having positive attitudes to towards their work lastly J means Joyous Team Working Environment, the last value actually speaks for itself! To me I really think this SBJ values really differentiate HLBB from the other banks!

                    At the end of it all, we had a talk on wealth management by a wealth management consultant. Wealth management is an organized financial planning process to achieve our financial goals and objectives, which is to be financially independent or in other words having financial freedom. It all comes down to saving! Financial independence begins with the habits of saving and investing on a regular basis. Time is our friend in wealth management, the longer we save the more we get to enjoy in the future! I guess I better start saving really soon!

                    At the end of our whole visit, we passed a gift to Ms. Foo as a token of appreciation. It was a very cool experience being inside a bank and about me being a banker, well, I started considering the job again! Thank you again Ms. Foo and all her friendly staff!!


Article written
by Jennifer Guan, Nov 14, 2003.