Home Credit Bank Develops and Uses ProBank Simulation
Home Credit Bank Group is a leading mass market consumer finance provider with €9.3bn of assets which was established in 1997 in the Czech Republic. Тhey serve consumers throughout Central and Eastern Europe, the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and Asia and employ more than 51,000 employees. Key focus is consumer finance services – lending to consumers seeking purchases of durable goods, bank’s network consists of point-of-sales (PO”) outlets, own branches, post offices and direct channels.
In 2009 the Home Credit Bank Russia approached us with a request to develop a banking business simulation teaching strategic planning to the banks managers that would also allow them to test different possible strategic decisions and their impact on business. Simulation was to be run at the banks corporate university for target audience of their middle level managers.
We started to develop the game. Already at the middle of the development process we saw that our chosen game engine and is so effective, that the coming game could be used for a much wider audience and to reach many more goals than initially stated.
First we saw that simulation would work very well also with frontline employees – tellers, cashiers, loan officers etc. In terms of banking business acumen they were getting more in 2 days than they have learned in 5 years at university studying finance.
Second we found it interesting that banking acumen was as important for middle managers, despite their banking management experience. It was the same game still, just debrief and theory parts between game years varied. For managers of non-bank specific functions like marketing, IT and HR it was a complete eye-opener about bank’s business model and understanding, how actually banks make money. For managers of bank-specific functions like risks, operations, retail branch etc. as well as branch managers it was still an acumen simulation with much detailed focus on strategies, markets, product mix and etc.
Third it appeared that simulation could very well solve another real life problem. Bank’s two key business lines are their own branches and point-of-sales (POS) outlets. The problem with POS employees was that they do not associate themselves with the bank since their physical workplace is retail stores of consumer electronics, furniture, telecommunications etc. The developed simulation approached the problem very efficiently – by both seeing the big picture from the game and playing several roles in simulation including their own and one from the branch business, POS employees really started much more to associate themselves with bank and feeling of belonging increased.
And fourth the game turned out to be very useful for senior managers. Since we have been modeling bank’s key processes and decision options, the game turned out being strategically very profound. We play the same game with a few little changes to complicate the strategy part and senior managers could explore and test real life expansion strategies in the game as well as get feedback about their unconscious strategies and sometimes limiting beliefs.
When launching the game banks intention was to let absolutely all of their 20.000+ employees to play ProBank and they are still in this process now.
Anna Sechenova, Director of Corporate University: The game allows seeing the big picture and strategic direction where the bank is heading, the key business result is improved decision quality at any level of decision making. Also our people loved the simulation so much that by popular demand we even run an internal championship of it with inter-team scoring, winners and prizes.
When the simulation was finished many other banks started using ProBank. VTB24, part of Russia’s second largest bank VTB, uses ProBank for their senior and middle management succession program. Bank managers go through a customized 2 year long banking-MBA program, which is started with a 2 day ProBank game. Key goals are to immerse participants in banking business acumen and motivate them for the whole 2 year program. Until now more than 300 VTB24 managers have played ProBank in this framework.
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