| January 20, 2018
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‘Good interpersonal skills will take you a long way’

‘Good interpersonal skills  will take you a long way’

KATHMANDU, Aug 11: Born and raised in Lamjung District, reaching the post of Senior Executive Officer at Civil Bank wasn't a cake walk for Govinda Gurung. He remembers walking two long hours every day to reach his school in Khudi, Lamjung, and then another two hours to come back home in the evening, until he passed his SLC in 1986.

He then came to Kathmandu to pursue his further education. He started studying commerce at People's Campus in Paknajol. As a student, he also juggled between work and studies.

His first job, while doing his Intermediate level studies, was as a Procurement Assistant at a sock manufacturing company, He worked there only for a couple of months. Then, as an undergraduate student, he worked as a teacher in Graded English Medium School (GEMS) for four and half years and while at it, he also managed to complete his MBA from Nepal Commerce Campus, in 1993.

Also a singer, Gurung has three albums to his credit, in which he has not only lent his voice but also penned the lyrics.

Briefly tell us about your experiences before you joined Civil Bank.

While I was teaching in GEMS, I realized that teaching, albeit a very respectable profession, isn't for me and I don't wish to pursue it for long. So I started looking for other opportunities and even worked for Radio Nepal as a newsreader in Gurung language. I was the first Gurung language newsreader then. Later, I learnt of a job vacancy for Senior Officer in Himalayan Bank and I applied for it. Out of 37 applicants, I was among the four recruited candidates. I worked there for over a decade. In 2006, I joined Global Bank as one of the founding team members from where I shifted to Mega Bank in 2010, also as one of the founding members. I've been associated with Civil Bank since October, 2012.

What are the major challenges you've faced as a banker?

There have been many challenges thus far - not so much on a personal level, because I believe proper communication and discussion can solve such problems easily. However, professionally, the unstable political setup has given rise to many hurdles. Because of the frequently changing government, there is inconsistency in policy formulation which directly hampers us. An example is, without much prior hint, A-class banks were required to raise their capital to Rs 8 billion within two years. Civil Bank was planning on opening new branches and because of the surprise announcement, we were compelled to drop the idea and are now looking for partners to merge with.

With burgeoning BBA students who aspire to work in banks someday, do you think Nepal has enough employment opportunities?

I can't say the exact number, but we do interview thousands of graduates every year. Nonetheless, we rarely find many good people to hire. The problem is not academics but it is the interpersonal skills that many of us aren't satisfied with. Therefore, I can't say if there are few banks for too many graduates or vice versa.

What advice would you like to give to young people looking forward to work in this sector?

Academic qualification is a must, because that's what sets the first impression. Then comes the interpersonal attributes, such as your ability to adapt to a new environment, your communication skills, how disciplined you are, among others which determine your access.

How important is banking sector in Nepal?

Banking plays a vital role not just in our country but for the entire global economy. It accumulates the scattered resources and puts it together for the use of entrepreneurs who create employment and revenue for the nation. It creates self employment opportunities for anyone who has entrepreneurial ideas. So, it creates job opportunities for people directly as well as indirectly.

What are your future plans?

I plan to retain in this sector for another eight years, most probably. Then hopefully go back to working for the betterment of the academic sector through social service. I've been involved in social work for a while now. We've recently established GB Foundation (where G stands for Govinda and B for Bimala, who is my wife). GB Foundation, upon its operation, will focus on the education sector of the country. I recently launched my third album 'Pal' and the money raised will go to the GB Foundation.