Reinforcements at Security Bank

HIDDEN AGENDA - The Philippine Star

Last Tuesday, Security Bank Corporation caught quite a lot of attention after announcing the impending nomination of its president, Abet Villarosa, as the next chairman.

Villarosa is credited with helping lead the bank towards exponential growth. Under his stewardship, the bank rose to a position of leadership in terms of returns to shareholders. It also received recognition from international and local organizations for product innovation, market leadership and best-of-class management practices.   

Security Bank also announced that consumer banking veteran Yogi Salcedo would take the place of Villarosa as president and CEO.

Salcedo would be a prized addition to the bank’s already winning management team. His experience should indeed serve well in reinforcing the bank’s consumer banking strategy. With 30 years of experience in banking and finance under his belt, most of them in retail and consumer banking, he is an apt choice to be Security Bank’s next president especially in reinforcing its consumer bank strategy as a third pillar to complement the bank’s existing strengths in wholesale banking and financial markets.

It was in 2010 when the bank embarked on a growth strategy which involved building its retail and consumer banking business. Wholesale banking and financial markets have always been strong suits of the bank. So they subsequently set a new growth tack for retail banking to become what Villarosa refers to as the bank’s strong “third leg”.  

The bank’s erstwhile chairman, Frederick Dy, who by the way would step up as chairman emeritus, said that with Villarosa and Salcedo at the helm, he is confident the bank would move towards being among Asean’s best managed institutions in terms of good governance and sustainability to enhance shareholder value.

Still on the banking scene

President Aquino has finally signed the guidelines that would allow United Coconut Planters Bank to complete its rehabilitation initiatives. 

The guidelines, embodied in Executive Order 179, sets the path for the privatization of coco levy assets among which include a significant number of shares in UCPB. And it is the liquidation of coco levy assets-owned shares that are at the core of the bank’s the rehabilitation process.

No less than UCPB president Jerry Kilayko stressed how the bank had been keenly awaiting this development. Its impact on UCPB could be described as ?nothing but favorable because it carries the bank one “giant step” closer towards recapitalization, a process that would give UCPB more resources to expand and ultimately, revitalize and strengthen the bank’s overall competitive position. 

Not just a few potential investors, some of them financial institutions keen on expanding their network through mergers or acquisitions, have expressed interest in participating in UCPB’s recapitalization.

Their serious interest in UCPB is not surprising. They evidently recognize UCPB’s strength and value which reflect how competitive UCPB is perceived in the industry.

Just consider, for example, the fact that the bank has grown exponentially, now with 188 branches nationwide, despite never having had the chance to increase its capitalization during its entire corporate life. (The bank was originally founded in 1963 with only P1.5 billion in capital.)

Notwithstanding such handicaps, the bank remained focused on continuously creating value-adding services to its target market through technology -based initiatives that would allow it to reduce operating costs, improve efficiencies and enhance competitiveness.

UCPB has undoubtedly had its share of challenges over the past years. But the fact that the bank continues to stand stronger in such a competitive environment is a testament of the resilience, determination and commitment the bank continues to exude.   

Opportunity in big data

Can you imagine an exabyte? Try this: I am watching a high definition movie in Blu-ray, and I run that film for 36,000 years, the total amount of data size is an exabyte. Still can’t measure it? Imagine having 42,949,672 Blu-ray discs in your home. That’s exactly a petabyte. 

And how much data is the world churning out today? In 2010, Google CEO Eric Schmidt placed it at 2.5 exabyte every single day. I read a TechCrunch article where Schmidt said that the total estimated number of digital data the world has produced since the dawn of man to 2003 is only at five exabyte. That means all of mankind’s history up to 2003 is no match to two days of data we are currently producing.

Welcome to the problem of Big Data, a term used to describe the exponential growth and availability of data, both structured and unstructured. It’s mostly an offshoot of how big the Internet has become. It’s already a big concept being discussed in the tech industries nowadays, and for good reason.

Big Data is already valued at $18.6 billion and it is just in its infancy. By 2017, the big data market is predicted to grow to a $50 billion market. Data is growing beyond our imagination and the biggest stumbling block many companies face today is the lack of big data software engineers.

It’s not only the lack of software engineers (SES) that’s a problem for companies that want to manage big data; other industries are also fighting tooth and nail to get their hands on SEs to design and manage their software.

While the Philippines produces a lot of IT professionals, it is producing programmers and not enough SEs.

According to Mitch Andaya, VP of academics and dean of the School of Computing at iACADEMY, he predicted a boom in software architects, which is what an SE really is. When he helped iACADEMY set up its course offering in 2002, they made sure that their Computer Science course would include a major in software engineering.

Andaya said software today is complicated such that they require a software engineer. Unlike before, businesses only needed someone to automate their payroll and other simple processes, that’s why they hire programmers to code. Today, big data coupled with the complex business requirements of companies require a thousand programmers using different languages and platforms – and everything has to be designed and managed by a software engineer.

It is not surprising then that schools that train software engineers not only produce graduates that are hired in less than six months; they are also offered an entry-level compensation that’s equivalent to senior staff or mid-level executive. Andaya said that just recently, one bank already sent job offers to almost half of their fourth year SE students even before they graduated. Other companies have also started recruiting the other final term students.

The CHED should take the industry trend on big data and the case study on iACADEMY as a wake-up call. They have to come up with a campaign to give the market what they really want – in this case, software engineers.

For comments, suggestions, and observations, e-mail at philstarhiddenagenda@yahoo.com


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