Govind Dhakal : CEO, Garima Development Bank, President, Development Bankers Association

Tell us about the recent progress of the Garima Development Bank?

We have been serving nearly 4 million customers through 91 branches. Every province has access of our banking services. We are planning to open 11 more branch offices in the near future. Then we will have a total of 103 offices. In addition, we are investing in ‘IT’ keeping in mind the recent problems in the bank.

We are moving forward with the belief that IT should be used to control problem from wherever we see the same. Similarly, we are also in the process of expanding this business.

What is Garima doing in the area of social responsibility?

We are especially focusing on health, education and society as the areas with long-term benefits.  Similarly, we have increased our support toward equipment needed for libraries and blood banks. We are assisting as per the need within a fixed budget.

How is the public’s attraction growing towards development banks?

The highest number of people in our country is of middle level people. The role of the middle level is also the greatest in the Gross Domestic Product GDP. Our customers are more from middle and lower level families than the upper level. Therefore, the goal of the Development Banks is towards the middle and lower level people.

In the coming days, the role of the Development Bank seems to be even more important in expanding the bank’s market. As we cover the middle and lower classes, it is difficult to get into commercial banks easily. It will be development banks that will implement the campaign of one person, one bank in coming days.

Development Banks provide loans ranging from one thousand to one billion. In rural areas, we have also provided loans with collateral of land, farm and so on. Because of this, I think the role of the Development Bank is important and that its future is even better.

These days, social security issues are also being raised. What is your opinion on the same?

The Social Security Scheme was brought by the government. We should not go against the government’s plan. However, despite this, the Registration of the Development Bank Association, Banker Association and Finance Development Company have jointly sent a letter.

There is no situation to implement Social Security Fund. It is the voice of the employees more than ours.

The law calls for the Social Security Fund to be voluntary. But the government is trying to force the imposition going against the Constitution.

However, the number of employees receiving Citizens Investment Trust, provident funds, and service facilities is not even less than 1 percent. Employees are against the idea of cutting down on their convenience.

The then Labor Minister Gokarna Bista was positive when we put forth the case to him. He also gave some verbal assurances. However, a new minister has arrived now. We have not had the favorable environment to talk about the issue to him. The thing is, people enter the bank in 18 years, work for 20 years, and get retired at 38. However, it is mentioned that there will be no pension till the age of sixty. How will they make living not getting money for 22 years? That’s the problem.

Another is that the social security policies are so discriminatory that there is almost a 50 percent difference when compared with government employees. The state should see all the citizens equally. After the same policy formulated, the benefits must be same too. There is also talk of taxation. It is said that the state will take 51 percent and only get 49 percent while collecting 100 percent. How fair is this? Therefore, there should be no discrimination.

You are the president of the Development Bankers Association. Is this what the Association says as well?

The Development Bank does not have a single registration status in the Social Security Fund.

Not only the development banks, there are as many banks of several categories and they have a unanimous opinion.  We have also jointly requested with signatures. Some employees have even talked about resigning if the current situation is materialized. Therefore, it is our point that errors should be corrected and differences should be resolved.

What do you say to all customers in the end?

Not only Garima Development Bank customers, but to all other development bank customers as well, I want to say that we are launching campaigns to further improve the services you have taken from Development Banks. I would like to express gratitude towards the faith shown towards development banks.