The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has stifled business in a number of areas. Nevertheless, Home Credit’s experts in Indonesia have not given up on innovation and their focus on customers’ needs has resulted in new products, as HC Indonesia CEO Animesh Narang describes.
Our first job will always be a special one because it determines our career trajectory. When you start to work, you meet a lot of new people, learn professionalism, get used to punctuality, and also it is a springboard for your professional future. Whether it's a short-term internship or a full-time job opportunity, it teaches you about professional life, how to make contacts, you become a stronger person, and it also teaches you new things and new ways of doing them. It is best to have some guidance before starting the first job about the market and its trends from a great leader.
Rahul Chauhan from Home Credit India sticks with the Nelson Mandela quote: “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” That’s why he is a very successful digital expert.
Training is gradually becoming accessible to employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is possible because of digitisation and of its moving online. The trend, which saves people’s energy otherwise spent commuting and allows the development of more employees over shorter periods, has been greatly aided by Covid, says Boris Novorka.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, women from Home Credit’s different countries came together to discuss diversity and inclusion.
Lubomír Hanusek has been analysing data for two decades, and he is quick to point out how substantially the industry has advanced during that time. “It has better technologies, and it can use a bigger amount of data that may seem disparate at first. For us, it’s no longer all about analysing data tables – it’s about analysing human dialogue, for example,” he says. What he appreciates most about Home Credit is that the company really favours innovation. That, by the way, is the key to its success in Asian markets where it has the largest part of its business.
Natasia Sumatro is part of the Operations team in Home Credit Indonesia. Her positive attitude and enthusiasm got her nominated as an “Inspiring Employee” within the country. “We need to be aware that people need us,” Natasia tells us.
When Boris speaks of Home Credit, he uses the following simile: “They have these Frecciarossa high-speed trains in Italy. If I were to liken this to the financial industry, all our peers are like local or express trains at best. But Home Credit is the Frecciarossa. It’s going at a completely different pace.”
Loan applicants are no longer required to complete forms with multiple pages. In a matter of minutes, they fill in a few pieces of information on the Internet or maybe just photograph their ID, and they know whether their loan application has been approved in less than a minute. This is what a customer-oriented approach looks like for Lubomír Hanusek, Research and Development Manager in Home Credit’s Risk Management Team.
Home Credit India carried out a survey across seven major metropolitan areas nationwide on “How India Borrows” during the second half of 2020, a key period for the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. The results showed clear learnings for the ongoing recovery of India’s vibrant consumer market.
Earl Kwan is Head of IT Sales and CRM Delivery at Home Credit Philippines. He loves his work and knows he can rely on his colleagues in both good times and bad.
The looming demise of the brick-and-mortar retail industry seems to be a common assumption these days. It has been discussed so often that a search on Google News for “the end of traditional shopping” phrase yields results in the tens of millions. But the reality is more complex than how it is seen.
Welcome to our series where our colleagues speak about their relationship with money, expenses and savings, budgeting, and investments. The hero of this edition is Pavel Mikhalev, Head of Digital Banking.
Czech company EmbedIT develops IT systems for 130 million customers. Even though it operates on a truly global scale, you may well not have heard of it before. The The software development company, which is a member of PPF Group owned by the wealthiest Czech, Petr Kellner, provides technical solutions for Home Credit, an international consumer finance lender whose businesses includes its main consumer credit business, P2P lender Zonky and Czech retail bank Air Bank.
“Today, one tenth of Kazakhstan’s economically active population use our app,” says Karel Horák, Head CEO of Home Credit Bank Kazakhstan. In this wide-ranging interview held at the Prague Finance Institute, he describes how the head start that the company had on digitisation in Kazakhstan helped the company stay profitable during the pandemic. “What we have learned in the digital realm is something that nobody will throw away,” he adds.
Khalid Husseini knows everything about Home Credit’s information systems. The work that his team delivers serves 150 million customers all over the world. Even so, most people probably do not know about his innovations.
Renata Mrázová has, by Czech standards, unique experience. At the beginning of this year, she started with 120,000 employees under her, whereas today she has around 75,000. The coronavirus pandemic hit the company hard, but part of the reductions are on account of digitalisation. "A number of companies had to take similar measures, and I think that we will see that alternative models of employment will continue in the future. Companies with different profiles of jobs will be better able to plan how they allocate their resources according to their needs," Mrázová believes.
Nearly all businesses currently use some form of data science. “Our experts also utilize this area to help Home Credit achieve its various targets,” says Home Credit Indonesia's Head of Data Science, Kirill Odintsov.
It doesn’t happen very often that a manager can draw you into their topic in such a catchy way as Wiwik Wahyuni can. We talked with the director of human resources at Home Credit Indonesia about what it is like to be a woman in the mostly man’s world of top management, and how digital technologies have transformed her work.
Radek Adamec, Enterprise Architecture Consultant at Home Credit’s headquarters, describes the implementation of a technology that will bring a real improvement in the way our colleagues work.
When the opportunity to go to India knocked, Marko did not have to think for too long. Today, he is in charge of marketing and customer experience at the Home Credit business in that country. He says that he follows two rules in life: first, always see and understand the big picture, and second, be pragmatic and patient.
Petr Šebesta started as a developer and rose to his role today as the Head of IT at Home Credit Philippines. How did he get promoted from EmbedIT, our central IT team based in Brno in the Czech Republic, to the Philippines in just three years?
He became head of IT at Home Credit’s Indian branch just weeks before the country went into coronavirus lockdown. Programmers and developers suddenly had to implement a flood of urgent changes – from setting up home office for thousands of employees to boosting digital services for clients. “The important thing is to keep calm, keep in close contact with people from IT and the business, work as one team and not to be afraid of improvising,” says Ladislav Šimíček.
Filipinos are the undisputed world leader when it comes to smartphone and social media usage. Seven out of 10 Filipinos own a mobile phone. But still, we’re far from being digitally savvy, says Susan Ong, Home Credit Philippines’ Chief Information Officer.
Though it may seem incredible as a career path at first, Jude Romano’s journey from a war crimes prosecutor to Head of External Affairs at Home Credit is not such a stretch after all. Considering the wealth of experience he brought to the table, gained from the different hats he wore while in government, and his international exposure working in a multicultural environment, it was only natural that Jude would take over this important role at Home Credit in the Philippines.
For years, she worked in marketing and PR. But then, Marzhan Merekenova got an opportunity to work in Home Credit Bank in Kazakhstan, where she rose to Head of Internal Communications. She finds inspiration in her colleagues, but also often in children: "I think we can learn a lot from them," she says.
Puneet Suneja is one of the key men for Home Credit Philippines’ in the new normal
Liliya Aidarbayeva worked in marketing her entire career. Then one phonecall from Home Credit Bank changed her life.
Business Environment Management is the art of connecting the possibilities and making inferences; the key is not in connecting the dots but finding the right ones, says Col Sarpret Singh.
She was there at Home Credit’s debut in Kazakhstan. Today, Maria Emelyanova is Deputy Sales Director, with more than 3,000 people across the country reporting to her.
Simply put, Jakub Kudrna was a laser expert. He graduated in experimental physics, but he eventually settled in finance professionally.
An unsual name, Alpha Omega Aquino, is that of a woman with an extraordinary career, who is now the Chief People Officer at Home Credit Philippines.
Shivani Singh could hardly have gotten a better background for her position as an HR business partner. Before entering the corporate world, she studied forensic science.
India and Europe are so different that one has to be left behind before you can function normally in the other, says Jana Kuklová.
IT analyst Harvinder Singh from Home Credit India was facing a dilemma three years ago. He had received two job offers in the finance sector. He eventually chose Home Credit and has never regretted his decision.
Petr Kořínek has 15-year experience at Home Credit. He set up an instalment payment scheme from scratch in Vietnam, he was involved with introducing a paperless lending process in China, and in the Philippines he and his colleagues devised a unique loyalty programme.
Explore Chinese sites that are not so well-known but that you definitely should not miss with Pavel Hait.
Eager to combine mathematics and new technologies, Marek Mukenšnabl started studying cryptography. Now he puts his interest to work in both fields in the best manner possible as a data scientist at Home Credit. He researches using new technologies and data for predicting whether clients are capable of repaying their loans.
Jakub Kudrna is a Czech native who spent several years as a manager at Home Credit in Russia.
When Jana Kuklová joined Home Credit some years ago, she gave no thought to the possibility of working abroad. Later on, a job came up in the Indian city of Gurgaon, close to Delhi.
A nationwide quarantine was declared in Kazakhstan at the beginning of March 2020 and the economy was put on hold. Most of our colleagues there switched to “working from home”, as did Karla Symbata, a manager in the customer care department.
Stanislav Tyan, Head of Home Credit Bank’s Online Business in Kazakhstan, explains why the country’s banking market will never be the same.
Evelyn Qiu is our head of the CSR team at Home Credit China. For almost three years, she was involved in training over 1,200 emergency responders who can serve as air ambulance crews in China.
Jana Kuklová experienced the expansion of the Home Credit India IT department all the way to the current team of 150 co-workers, and assisted in deploying digital verification of clients’ identities, online loans and mobile applications.
Although I have been living in the US for four years now, I still find myself in surprising situations. What makes the United States different from the rest of the world?
In online lending, verifying the applicant’s identity is the key issue. “Its importance is increasing as our life, and with it our business, is moving into the online world more and more,” says Eva Stanovská.
In Moscow, where Home Credit’s Russian business is based, people are more ambitious and the tempo is more relentless than in the company’s home city of Prague. “That’s true in general, and especially in our company,” says Jakub Kudrna, a Czech native who spent several years as a manager at Home Credit in Russia.
Arif Nurhidayar, a data analyst from Home Credit Indonesia, knows that ongoing education is simply a must for a team’s everyday work. He tells us how online courses have helped him stay on top of new trends.
During the lockdown in Russia, our Home Credit team produced new video for social media. “Stay home! We remain open online!”. This is, in a nutshell, what our new commercial says. “We cast 30 of our employees across the country to perform in the clip. They all used their smartphones, a lot of enthusiasm and they made the fun happen in just two weeks”, says Maria Burak, Marketing Communication Director at Home Credit Bank in Russia.
When Home Credit Indonesia’s employees learned in March that most of them would have to work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, they did not try to hide their enthusiasm. But after a month of home office, many want nothing more than to return to their usual work environment, says Freya Pradieta, Vice President of Brand Communication at Home Credit Indonesia.
It was a Thursday night at the end of March this year, much like any other, in Ho-Chi-Minh City, Vietnam’s metropolis in the south. As the country reported a sharp increase in the number of those infected by the novel coronavirus, a bar near Home Credit’s office in Thao Dien, District 2, emerged as a new hotspot.
The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the business landscape, but also the way we as individuals interface with our workplace. Not only did it make us work remotely – which could mean moving one’s call center work from a giant office to one’s living room – but it also changed our way of living. Suddenly, while still carrying out our work from our homes, we could adjust our daily schedules to fit our needs better.
Are you planning a trip to Vietnam? Refresh your motorbike riding skills, get used to continual bustle and forget about time.
Vít Černý has been working at Home Credit for almost ten years. When asked what made him stay with the company for so long, he answers it was primarily the variety of his work. „I enjoy working with people of various nationalities and cultures both remotely and during business trips all over the world,” says Vít who is currently devising a strategy for the collection of defaulting loans on the American market.
Kazakhstan is under a state of emergency as a preventive measure to combat the spread of the COVID-19 infection. Karel Horák, the head of our bank in the country, has some additional experience unlike many others: the distribution of the government’s special social allowance to the clients whereby the bank has motivated the clients to use cashless payments more. To date, payment cards were often used for identification during cash withdrawals from ATMs.
The coronavirus crisis has shown that our Russian Home Credit & Finance Bank is full of determined and proactive colleagues who put their customers first and make us all proud. Natalia Anikina, the Director of the Regional Sales Development and Efficiency Improvement Department, is one of the examples.
Life abroad has always appealed to Eva Stanovská. She loves travelling, and ideally, she’d forever be exploring new places. “Living in Prague is great but I always think: I already know this place, and I’d like to go somewhere new again,” says Eva, who worked for three years in Kazakhstan, a country straddling Europe and Asia that has taken the best of both worlds.
In these unprecedented times, situations can arise at work that fundamentally change paradigms and existing systems. And those changes require huge effort, sleepless nights, right deadlines and, it could even be said, a dose of heroism to face the challenge head-on. Just like in the case of our colleague Viktor Komkov.
He was at the helm of Home Credit’s effort to purchase a hundred million Czech crowns’ worth of masks, respirators, ventilators and other medical equipment from China for the Czech Republic. Together with his team, he sought out suppliers and negotiated with shipping agents. From Hong Kong where he lives, this is Jan Ruzicka’s story – Home Credit’s Chief External Affairs Officer.
On February 6th at six in the evening, Bryce, wearing a mask and holding a black umbrella, was striking forward along an empty street of Wuhan. City of 12 million had just been quarantined, cut off from the rest of the world. Despite the driving rain, Bryce was heading to his destination – Home Credit China’s Wuhan office.
Jana Pěchoučková is the head of finance in the Manila branch of Home Credit. Her husband first tried to “re-educate” the Filipinos but Jana explained to him he would wouldn’t succeed in changing 106 million people.
“We literally grabbed as much as we could,” says Paul Hu, describing the moment when it seemed as though a crucial shipment of 200,000 respirators from China destined for the Czech Republic might slip away.
Bear in mind that Kazakhstan is one of the largest countries in the world. When you want to take your car and go travelling somewhere, it will usually take a day rather than an hour. However, many places will take your breath away.
Chinese Tianjin, located near Beijing, is developing at a remarkable pace. “A new line of the underground appears every year and you don’t need cash for anything any longer, since mobile apps are used for paying everywhere. Only an ordinary forest is in short supply, and you have to spend many hours travelling to see some natural scenery,” says Pavel Hait.
It accelerates the development of the models for evaluating the client’s ability to repay credit, because it runs five times faster. And it is happy to digest data in a more raw form. We are talking about a next-generation algorithm, LightGBM. Data scientist Lubor Pacák seeks to implement it in practice at Home Credit.
Eva Fasorová has lived in the United States for four years. With her team of experts, she improves customer care at Home Credit´s business there.
According to the worldwide database BoardGameGeek, the best party game ever is a Czech game called Codenames. Players get clues from their “spymasters” to help them find which of the 25 words on cards spread out on a table belong to their team, so they can map out their network of agents. Artificial intelligence can help players here, as Jan Hynek found out four years ago. Today he works on risk analysis as a data scientist at Home Credit.
How is technology changing Home Credit in China? Sales representatives are trained via video, they communicate with the firm using a voicebot, and a mobile application is used to guide new job applicants through the recruitment process. Pavel Hait is especially fond of one application capable of replacing sales representatives to a great extent.
“It took a little longer than one year for Home Credit in Indonesia to get rid of 99 per cent of paperwork,” says Štěpán Kareš, the head of IT at Home Credit’s Indonesian business.
In this era of quick changes, companies increasingly use the word agility. At Home Credit in China, agility has helped to shorten the time from the initial idea to the implementation of the innovation from four to five months in the past to four to six weeks. “For me, agility is primarily using common sense,” says Jiří Forman, who deals with agility in China.
Shortly after joining Home Credit, Jiří Kawulok, a Czech expert on credit risk management, was offered the chance to work in Vietnam. He was tempted by curiosity and the chance to break away from the stereotypes of life in the Czech Republic. How did he and his family find living in Vietnam?
It is often just a few percentage points by which Home Credit analysts try to improve the accuracy of the models they use to rate loan applicants’ ability to repay. Ultimately, though, it means a lot of money. Barbora Šicková and Hynek Hilbert are developing a new model, XGBoost, for Kazakhstan. It is more demanding in terms of implementation but promises better results.
Good, sure, of course, naturally... Staff at Home Credit in Indonesia put together more than 80 ways of saying yes, or expressing consent. They did not do it for fun – they went to such great lengths because they were tuning the voicebot, or voice robot, to be able to communicate better with local customers.
While our ancestors found truth in wine, the modern age seeks it in data. We at Home Credit can tell from data whether a loan applicant will be able to repay their loan. Current technology enables us to do this even using data that appears to have no direct relationship to finance, says Pavel Sůva, Data Science Manager.
Notebooks and tablets are a thing of the past in Asia – this continent lives off smart phones. As a result, Indonesia’s Home Credit faced the necessity of having its own mobile application about three years ago. And pronto. “The entire local business is heading towards the mobile world,” says Štěpán Kareš, the Head of IT in Jakarta.
When you decide to live and work abroad, you need to prepare for many differences and be tolerant, says Jana Pěchoučková the head of finance at Home Credit in the Philippines.
Every six to nine months, Tomáš Pondělík radically changes the region he supervises and the location where he works. To date, working for Home Credit has taken him to Hong Kong, mainland China, Indonesia and Kazakhstan. “This job is unbelievably interesting, diverse and dynamic. For me, this company is like a rollercoaster ride that never ends,” says Tomáš.
The days of stilted voices telling you to “please press 1” when you call customer service are soon going to be a thing of the past, replaced by voicebots that are able to hold a conversation almost at the level of a human – and to make the experience a smooth and even enjoyable one at that!
Karel Horák heads Home Credit’s bank in Kazakhstan, with six thousand people working for him.
Savory dishes taste sweet. It’s cold indoors and tropical outside. Daylight nearly always lasts the same time, and the people, who are poorer compared to Czechs, are incredibly joyful and like to sing. The Philippines is simply full of surprises.
Czech manager Karel Horák has lived in Ireland and Indonesia and now he works in Kazakhstan. Looking back at his foreign experiences. He says, that surprisingly, the biggest change was Ireland.
A weekend trip in America can take hundreds of kilometers and over 20 hours of driving. However, a trip in nearly any direction is certainly worth it.
At the youthful age of 33, Jiří Kawulok, a Czech expert on credit risk management, has already spent three-and-a-half years at Home Credit’s business in Vietnam, along with his family that includes two small children. He says that working abroad makes you step out of your comfort zone and experiences things that would never happen back in the Czech Republic.
They say that in certain Asian countries, such as India, there are more people who own smart phones than people with access to toilets. “In terms of digitalization, Asia is much further than Europe. In many countries, laptops and desktops have become an obsolete technology in everyday life,” says Tomáš Pondělík, Home Credit’s expert on digital.
An unsual name, Alpha Omega Aquino, is that of a woman with an extraordinary career, who is now the Chief People Officer at Home Credit Philippines.
I have always been very passionate about customer experience. And I always wanted to build a corporate culture which is tremendously focused on providing an excellent customer experience, says Chief People Officer at Home Credit International Renata Mrázová.
The story of Bang Dzoel from Indonesia shows that we often need to muster the courage to achieve great things.