Principles Of Public Relations

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Habib Bank AG Zurich is a large financial services provider, incorporated in Zurich, Switzerland, with operations spanning four continents. Its operations and subsidiaries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America provide trade finance, corporate, consumer, private, retail and correspondent banking products.

Following is a narrative description of the organisation of the Bank:

Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the overall functioning of the Bank, and reports to the Board of Directors in Switzerland.

Network of eight branches across the UAE, where the eventual functional reporting line of the respective branch managers is to the Chief Executive Officer. Five of these branches are located in Dubai; two are in Abu Dhabi and one in Sharjah. There is also an Electronic Banking Unit in Dubai Marina.

The Network is supported by the centralised departments, which also report to the Chief Executive. These departments include:

Finance Department

Treasury

Private Banking

Information Technology

Compliance

Risk Management

Transactions Banking Services

Centralised Trade Finance and Other Services

Public/Media Relations Department

Legal Department

Human Resources Department.

Following is what external sources have stated about the Bank:

HBZ is now at the forefront of electronic banking and has launched a security feature in order to rule out any possible security risk while logging onto the bank's electronic banking portals â€" HBZweb and HBZmobile. HBZweb is the bank's highly secure Internet-mobile banking service that allows everything from paying bills to transferring money worldwide. The launching of HBZweb made HBZ the first bank in the United Arab Emirates to offer e-letters of credit on-line. With HBZweb, the power of more than 80+ transactional and querying options are now in the hands of clients. Sybase.com

The banking sector in the UAE is aiming for 40 per cent Emiratisation. Dr Shaikh Sultan presents an award to Arif Lakhani. CEO of Habib Bank AG Zurich, for achieving 42 per cent Emiratisation. Khaleej Times 06-03-07.

Habib Bank AG Zurich (HBZ) has won the ‘Best use of Technology’ award at Banker Middle East Magazine Awards 2005. The award recognizes that Habib Bank AG Zurich has one of the most technologically advanced banking systems. Strategiy.com

Section A: Employee Communication within the Company

The Bank has an open door policy for its employees. The system has a Corporate directory, where contact details of employees of all designations are listed. Furthermore, the staff can send in-house mail to other staff.

The Privilege and Sick Leaves, Loans Applications, Allowances of any kind, Formal Salary and Visa application letters are applied through a system based application menu. The application is forwarded to the Line manager, who then subsequently forwards it to the Human Resources department for approval as per the designation criteria.

For formal requests and communication of all other kinds of issues, a system based memo is raised. The memo is automatically forwarded to the Line Manager of the concerned staff, who then forwards it to the Human Resources department for approval.

The job performance of the employees of the Bank is assessed annually towards the end of the calendar year. The Line Manager fills out the appraisal form forwarded by the Human Resources department. Subsequently, the employee being appraised reviews his/her appraisal, and inputs his/her comments. Based on the appraisals, the employees are assigned grades from A to D. The grades are then used to determine the annual appraisals / increments.

Formal Announcements on matters concerning all the employees are also communicated to the staff via the system based mailing system.

Communication from remote locations is made through the official e-mail I.Ds assigned to the employees.

Since the Bank is a service oriented organisation, the employees of the Bank play a very prominent role in delivery of the service that would lead to the sustainability and growth of the organisation. Hence the overall career development and economic well being is vital towards achievement of the goals of the Company.

Section B: Consumer Relations

The Customers of the Bank are required to have a Bank account at any one of the eight branches in order to carry out any kind of transactions. The relationship commences with the opening of an account, where the prospective customers give their identification, source of funds, the kind of services sought and the level of activity expected.

For customers that avail loans and other credit facilities, either for personal or business use, the branches have a team of relationship managers that monitor and facilitate the banking needs of these customers.

For customers that avail the general banking services, for example maintaining a savings account or current, opening a locker for safe keeping of belongings, operating debit and credit cards and ATM cards, the branches have a team of tellers and other staff that facilitate the day to day banking activities of such customers.

The Bank also has a Call Centre, where the customers can call and receive information on various topics including account opening procedure and requirements, contacting the concerned staff for a specific query etc. The Call Centre staff is trained to assist the customers in the best way possible, and to connect to other specialized personnel for more complex queries.

The branches also have a complaint procedure, where the customers can register any kind of complaints for review by the Bank's Management. The complaints made by the customer are readily reviewed, and it is ensured that they are satisfactorily resolved.

In order to provide time efficient services to the customers, the Management of the Bank is striving to centralise its activites. The aim is to make the branches as points of contact, marketing and customer relations, whereas the processing of documents, transactions, loan applications etc are handled by specialised departments dedicated to provide such services to the branches. The planning of this initiative is such that the customers deal only with the branch representatives, and there is no formal contact between the centralised departments and the customers, where service requests of all branches are processed on timely basis.

Since the customers are the main source of income generation for the Bank, the Management continuously ensures that the branches provide efficient service to them. It is also ensured that no complaints are received from the same, and even if any kind of complaint is received that the same are resolved readily.

Section C: Community Relations

No organisation is capable of surviving like an island. In order to maintain a positive growth, every organisation has to maintain cordial relations in the community in which it exists. The External Environment of the Bank comprises of the following:

Legal Environment

The community relations in terms of relations with regulatory authorities comprise of two jurisdictions for the Bank, namely the UAE regulatory Authorities, mainly the UAE Central Bank and the Swiss regulatory authorities, where the Bank is incorporated. The Management of the Bank is in regular contact with the authorities at the Central Bank, and all their requirements are readily complied with. The concerned Management has devised a system that ensures that where information is required to be furnished on timely basis, the same is prepared and reviewed and made ready for submission prior to the official deadline.

Social Environment

The Social environment of the company comprise of customers, competitors, suppliers and other social groups prevailing in the economy.

The Bank maintains cordial relations with other banks, and strict professional behavior is followed whenever there is any form of communication with the counterparts. This also includes relations with other group companies operating outside the UAE.

The Management of the Bank also sends it staff from various departments and branches on training programs at the Emirates Institute of Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS). Representatives and speakers from other Banks also attend these trainings. These sessions provide an opportunity for members of the Banking community to interact with each other, and areas of mutual interest are discussed along with the professional developments achieved through formal training sessions on diverse topics and issues facing the banking industry in the UAE.

It is also the aim of the management of the bank to have a positive image of the organisation in the eyes of the local community. In light of this initiative, the Bank participates in social and charitable activities occasionally. For instance, the employees took part in a cleanliness drive carried out by NGOs.

Conclusion

In conclusion of the information obtained of the Employee communications, Consumer relations and Community relations of the Bank, it is safe to note that all aspects of people management, whether it is management of employees, consumers or the community in general are crucial to the sustainability and growth of an organisation. A successful organisation is one that is able to strike a balance between the varying needs of personnel, be it employees, consumers or any faction of the general community.

The Bank has been able to achieve this balance through different measures devised by its Senior Management:

The needs of employees are met through a dedicated Human resources department, which ensures that all short term (e.g. timely salary, other perquisites) and long term (e.g. Career development, training etc) are readily met in liaison with the respective Line Mangers.

The needs of consumers have been segregated into credit and other customers, and dedicated public relations managers are assigned tasks as per their specialisation. Furthermore, customers with larger portfolios are dealt with by more senior and experienced staff.

The Community relations are met through establishment of dedication by the Compliance department, which caters to the requirements of the regulatory authorities. Furthermore, the Bank's Management as well as the Strategic Planning and Control department caters to relations with other external parties.

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