Q and A with Cees Ovelgonne, IBSS Manila country manager
Since Dutch financial giant ING Bank, N.V. first established presence in the Philippines 28 years ago, it has not only made a name as the first foreign bank in the country to gain a universal banking license; it has also been expanding its business.
In 2014, it set up ING Business Shared Services (IBSS) Branch office as an operations hub to support ING’s wholesale banking branches in Asia. In just four years, IBSS has grown exponentially — occupying eight floors of the newly built World Plaza in a PEZA-registered area in BGC, Taguig City, and servicing more than 38 locations in Asia, Europe and North America.
Cees Ovelgonne, country manager of IBSS Manila, shares ING’s progress and plans to expand its presence in the Philippines.
How did ING’s shared services entity perform in 2017?
We have kept our commitment to the Philippines’ shared services sector, which is expected to employ approximately two million workers by 2020.
In June 2017, we moved into a bigger office at World Plaza where we started with four floors. We’ve seen tremendous growth in less than a year and we are gearing up to expand further and diversify our services. The primary aim of the expansion is to further harmonize services and shared technology within ING’s global network, ultimately leading to an enhanced client experience anywhere and anytime in the world.
“We will keep growing and moving to higher value services.
More activities will be offshored to the Philippines.”
How unique is IBSS’ operations in the Philippines?
We are 100% ING; we conduct banking operations for ING’s Retail and Wholesale banking businesses including group support functions. Our work gives our people a view of the entire value chain and the opportunity to learn through managing end-to-end activities. Joining us will give you the opportunity to influence, automate and re-engineer processes and grow with the organization. Continuous Improvement is at the core of what we do.
How do you manage to keep your people empowered and engaged?
We manage to keep our attrition rate on the lower end of the industry norm. We focus on providing continuous learning for our employees. We have a career framework that includes international mobility. There are opportunities for our employees to go on global assignments and gain international exposure, which is immensely appealing to young Filipino talents.
We make it a point to cultivate talent internally, especially that we are a growing organization ourselves. We also have “learning champions” in every team, who are in-charge of their group’s upskilling and cross-skilling programs.
Also, more than 40% of the people who join us come from our employee referral program. This proves that our employees enjoy working at ING, so much so that they have encouraged their network to join them.
What is your outlook for your business in 2018?
We will keep growing and moving to higher value services. More activities will be offshored to the Philippines. We’re poised to grow to just over 900 people this year, and as they say, exciting times ahead. We’re just getting started!