KATHMANDU: An American educator and a poet is famous for his following words, “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.”
These words encompass the journey of NMB from humble beginnings of a “C” class finance company at the time of its inception in 1996, to its present status as the best bank in Asia, with its win of the Bank of the Year 2021 Asia award.
Through its journey of over 25 years the bank has faced challenges, struggled in the face of adversity but remained true its ethos of hard work, forward looking perspective and a welcoming attitude towards change.
The current status the bank enjoys is a testament to the fact that NMB Bank has always aimed big and staying true to this value the bank became the first “C” class Finance company to upgrade to an A class commercial bank to finally allow it to compete with the biggest and best in the industry.
The present status of the bank is owed significantly to the prudent decision taken by the Board and Management at that time.
In 2008, 12 years after its inception, NMB Bank was an up and coming institution in a rapidly growing and dynamic market environment.
Having shifted its merchant banking services to its wholly owned subsidiary NMB Capital, the bank focused on increasing its portfolio base of business lending and diversified fund sourcing. The bank achieved another major milestone in 2015 with the merger with 4 BFIs, including Clean Energy Development Bank.
This merger strengthened the bank’s ability to contribute towards its vision of sustainable banking and soon after, the bank also started serving demographics requiring small ticket size micro finance loans through its second wholly owned subsidiary of NMB Microfinance.
During this time, the bank also became the first class A commercial bank to become a member of Global Alliance for Banking on Values, a worldwide association of banks focusing on sustainable lending and lending to the real economy sectors.
Today, NMB Bank Limited, is one of the top banks in Nepal. It has ranked consistently in the top 5 position in terms of Risk Asset size, Deposit Volume, and Net Profitability along with being able to consistently provide above average returns to its investors.
Further to its financial ranking, the bank is the undisputed digital pioneer in the Nepali banking industry credited with an astounding number of “industry firsts” in the digital arena. These include the Omni-Channel banking service, Video KYC, NMB Sapati, Social Media onboarding and account opening, in terms of digital services.
Furthermore, the bank also holds the honor of being the first bank to pave the way for foreign investments, diversified fund sourcing, and debt partnerships by its pioneering agreements with IFC, CDC, OFID and its issuance of the Local Currency Energy Bond – again a first of its kind in Nepal.
The bank carries with it the vision, mission and values of contributing to the real economy, sustainable practices in banking and digital transformation.
The long-term vision of the bank is to build communities through sustainable and responsible banking and become the preferred bank for all stakeholders while enabling its clients to achieve their financial goals with the ultimate vision of contributing to a prosperous Nepal.
The vision is also executed in its mission statement of promotion sustainable socio-economic development and bringing about positive impacts to the environment and society. Self-reliance and customer service delight are at the center of the bank’s mission to grow itself and the country.
The Bank of the Year Award given by The Banker Magazine, London, UK is a prestigious award and considered the gold standard for assessing bank credibility across the world.
Hitherto, NMB had won the country level awards in 2017, 2018 and 2020 on basis of its laudable work towards sustainable banking and digital transformation. In 2021, NMB created history and reached a milestone unlike any other, for the first time in Nepal’s history by overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds by winning the Bank of the Year 2021 Asia award.
With this award, NMB rubs shoulders with countries and banks that are not only Asian but truly global giants.
NMB bank has made this victory possible with its pro-active work beginning at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide lockdowns.
While the world came to a standstill, NMB continued on its journey of strategic mergers and acquisitions, never let the foot off the pedal on digital initiatives, while ensuring a safe working environment for its staff by leveraging digital technology. A feat such as this was made possible by the strong corporate governance practices the bank operates on.
The strategic objective of the bank can be summed up with engaging in synergistic partnerships, leading the way forward to self-reliant country, contributing to a prosperous nation, engage in activities that propel sustainable growth and a strong focus on digital transformation.
To meet its strategic objectives the bank will continue on its endeavors towards building its unique brand value with focus on Sustainable Banking, Digitization and Corporate Governance that has helped set NMB apart from competition and create an inimitable identity amongst its peers.
NMB Bank, governed by a diversified board with representation of FMO – a Dutch development bank, industrialists and representatives from government and private sectors, is well poised to continue delivering on its commitments to serve the country and its people through its truly unique brand of banking.
Upadhyaya is Chief Business and Strategy Officer at NMB Bank