Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lake Kivu... Karongi

On March 25th, I visited the Karongi Office close to the Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu is a long lake bordering DR Congo and the entire west side of Rwanda (Gisenyi from the north through Karongi in the middle and to Cangugu in the south.) This lake is sitting on a dormant volcano and known to have a lot of methanol gas captured in the lake due to the weight of the water. When the balance of the lake is broken, this gas could be pushed out, potentially dangerous to people living by the lake.

It took us two and a half hours to get to the Karongi Office, located at the center of a local market, 15 minutes from the lake. The road is paved, but it is winding all the way to the office crossing over a tall mountain, approximately 4,500 feet high. The scenery was panoramic and spectacular from the top. What a beautiful creation that the Lord has done! But people suffer because of the car sickness. Thanks to the grace of God, we all made it safe.

There are only four members of the staff, with a small exposure. The purpose of the visit was to listen to a group of clients the majority of whom were trying to leave the bank (16 out of 20). Their departure may not have been significant financially, but I needed to know the reasons of their departure to continue to push the Christ-centered, Client-focused service culture bankwide.

I did not want to bore you with a long story. In a nutshell, they all appreciated UOB for giving them assistance when they needed it most, and they did not want to leave, but our products were inflexible to accommodate their needs and they could not afford to make timely payment. So they wanted to leave. It is hard to believe in the U.S. context, but these innocent people did not want to create a commotion by making an appeal. May God bless their hearts!

After a lengthy meeting, they all decided to stay with the bank. Praise the Lord! From the process, all staff learned a great lesson of the importance of listening to the clients. Many of the issues could have been taken care of by the supervisor and the lending staff.

Oh Lord, thank you for the opportunity to learn how important it is to listen to our clients to be able to serve them better. May we all be able to learn from this incident and apply the client-focused service spirit to the entire bank! Amen. - Jeffrey


Dale Dawson said...

I love this simple story of making the effort to talk and listen to others - our customers and loan officers. It's a powerful demonstration of what it means to be client focused and market driven. Thanks Jeffrey, for walking the talk...Dale

jlee80111 said...

HI Dale
Thank you for leaving comments of encouragement. Jeffrey