I joined the Institute (December 2004) at a time when the banking in the country was vastly different from what it is today. The activities of the Institute at that time were different than what it is today but were also not in sync with the banking industry’s needs. Further, as there was not much recruitment, the number of bank employees taking the Institute’s exams was on a steady decline.
We however knew that the banking contours will change. PSU banks had started the core banking initiatives. Banks had also started reorganising the functions. In this background it was evident that banks will recruit in large numbers. As such the institute should be ready with relevant courses such that the new recruits are job ready as early as possible. With this in mind the first step that we took was the preparation and launch of the revised 3 paper JAIIB examination; a modular course with contents suitable for modern day banking. We also restructured the CAIIB examination with 2 compulsory papers and 11 optional papers to cater to the needs of employees in all the major verticals emerging in banks. Simultaneously we launched DB&F for students to create a cadre of job ready candidates. Thanks to the support of our resource persons we could also quickly publish new and revised exclusive courseware for each paper/subject within a short period of time.
Simultaneously we also embarked on a journey with a view to make IIBF a virtual institute with a motto of offering high quality examinations/certifications at a very low price. Over the next few years the institute also introduced many certificate and diploma examinations thereby offering more options to banking and finance executives. Institute also moved into the space of offering exams for organisations working in the banking domain such IT/BPO companies, DSA/DMA/DRA etc. The introduction of many new examinations, publishing courseware for every subject, making available on-line exams in a large number of centres and qualitative improvements in the conduct of examinations helped to improve the image of the Institute among members and banks. The number of candidates taking various exams started showing a healthy growth. The following chart will show the phenomenal growth in examinations achieved in the last 10 years.
Without doubt the growth of the Institute in the past decade has given us immense satisfaction. At the same time we are acutely aware that changes in the banking workplace are more rapid than the past and the institute must remain nimble and alert if it has to continue to be relevant. It is due to this factor that the institute has taken many steps such as introduction of e-learning, video lectures, online payments, online examinations and use of technology for making a difference in the distance learning format. The institute has now attained the stature of a virtual institution and its activities have come in for praise and accolades from different national and international bodies. It is a matter of immense personal satisfaction for me that the courses and books brought out by the Institute have been appreciated and given due recognition by many academic bodies and associations.
For all these the credit goes to all the bankers at large and the members of the Institute in particular. It is members like you who have made the Institute what it is today by taking up the course and services offered by the Institute. I take this opportunity to thank each one of you for your support and encouragement to the activities of the Institute. I am also grateful to the team of resource persons who have helped the institute at every stage to actualise the ideas and convert them to reality during the period.
At the same time there are certain concerns. For example in the e-learning and video lectures which have been offered free to the candidates taking flagship examinations , it is observed that only a small portion of the candidates who appear for the exams( JAIIB/CAIIB) make use of the same. We feel that If books, e-learning and video lectures are made full use by all the candidates there will be a higher % of overall pass in JAIIB and CAIIB, the flag ship examinations of the Institute where the current pass % below 25%.
Today the Institute offers more than 31 exams/courses and all these courses have been designed, developed and delivered with much thought and very careful preparation. These courses have futuristic value to a banking and finance professional. Banking tomorrow will need specialists in every vertical. It is for this purpose that the institute now provides a suite of courses to meet the different needs of bankers, whether it is in the field of retail banking, treasury, risk management, compliance, and credit to mention a few areas. In 6 years banks have recruited nearly 4 lac new employees. Unlike the past when it took very long time to reach the top management cadre, many of these new entrants will, in a very short time scale up the ladder to senior and top management. Given that they may not have the time to go through all department and functions of banking but must be ready to move up when the opportunity arises there is a need for them to consider the various options given by the Institute so that they possess the knowledge and skill in all aspects of banking and seen as the potential talent. Institute has now a state of the art leadership centre offering courses/training in niche areas. I would like to make a special mention of the flagship weekend course called Advanced Management Programme singularly aimed at creating future leaders. The Institute offers training programmes to update skills in varied areas like Risk, Treasury, compliance credit, SME, Forex, Dealing, financial services, wealth management etc.
I will be moving out of the Institute in the next few days. As I look back, more than anything, I know that I have been fortunate to get excellent guidance and support from the Governing Council members. I have also received very good support and cooperation from resource persons, professionals, academicians and senior bankers over the years. Needless to add the dedicated and excellent work put in by the IIBF team helped me to crystallise the approved strategies and plans within the specified time frame. Today the Institute is possibly the largest of its Kind in the world and has imprinted its foot prints in many countries..
The steps that have been taken in the last few years will keep the Institute ahead of its peers. Many exciting courses are on the anvil and use of latest technology will continue to be the USP of the institute. I will miss the pleasure and pressure of the Institute. Yet I know “men may come and men may go, but I1 (Institute) go on for ever!’. The institute goes into more capable hands and I am sure that IIBF will do very well under the new CEO and will scale greater heights.
Wishing all of you the very best in your professional career and personal life.Dr.R.Bhaskaran