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Khan Bank – from the verge of closure to Mongolia’s top bank

Khan Bank was at one point of time facing virtual closure but by adopting strategic measures, including induction of technology it has now become the No 1 bank in Mongolia:

Khan Bank, or the erstwhile Ag Bank of Mongolia, was at one time on the verge of closure. But, today, it is privatised, is Mongolia’s largest bank by assets, loans, deposits, and earnings, has 547 branches, 6500 employees, and serves 80% of the country’s households. While 70% of Mongolian households have banking relations with the bank, it serves as much as 98% of the rural communities. It also has 1,500,000 digital banking user base, over 1275 ATMs, some 24,000 merchants, 30,000 POS terminals and 144 kiosks.

From a virtual closure, it has transformed into a bank with $4.7 billion in total assets, becoming a strong economic pillar of Mongolia. Its focused activities today are transaction banking, consumer lending and SME banking.

ENABLING EMPLOYEES


Khan Bank has been an early adopter of technology and among the first banks in the work to offer digital banking products and services. Now, 98% of its total transactions are through digital channels. The method it chose to implement digitization is unique. It committed itself to make its employees learn and develop and thus become digitally savvy first. It started with a phased approach to digitize workplace learning and set up an internal e-learning system called KB Academy, helping employees access essential internal policies, procedures and e-learning resources in an equitable and inclusive manner. And the project made use of LinkedIn Learning so that its employees could learn both online and offline, and on desktop or mobile. Initially, it was a month-long project covering a group of select employees when internal rules and procedures for e-learning and design training plans for each employee activation plans were prepared. Subsequently, it has become full-fledged ongoing program of weekly learning goals for all employees. An employee today spends more time on leadership and management courses, compared to role-specific, functional courses.

Equipped with these trained resources, the bank is on the threshold of launching an online branch program where it intends to deliver optimal self-service with the ability to do everything at the kiosk. The bank has already launched an Omnichannel Project to enable multiple banking services through internet and mobile channels. Customers are able to use their mobile phones to access various services thereby eliminating visits to branches. The bank is also implementing a centralized customer relationship management system, which will be fully functional soon.

ALL DATA AT ONE SPOT

The bank has a data lake, set up in partnership with DataStax, that has the capacity to handle 70% yoy growth in the volume of data. The idea is to bring all the data now sitting in different databases together in a centralized data warehouse, do analytics and deliver the intelligence to business lines and customize products.

The bank makes use of behavioural scoring in its consumer banking division. The score is based on the credit profile of the customer, including whether he or she pays bills on time, keep salary account at the bank and so on.

The bank is also transforming its 200-strong IT team through a DevOps program.

The digitization program uses Apache Cassandra and DataStax Enterprise to transform the entire IT infrastructure across its retail and digital banking services. The bank wants to make use of microservices application designs and implement an operational data layer to support this process.

VARIED ONLINE SERVICES

The bank’s investments in creating a strong digital infrastructure have helped it to offer its customers a variety of banking services online. It has internet banking, the Khan Bank mobile app and Mobile Banking for 2G devices, QPay, a QR code payment system, e-billing through Khan Pay, phone banking, and SMS alerts. Its kiosks help customers to receive banking services 24 hours a day, using their fingerprint and ID.

It has partnerships in correspondent banking with over 200 banks and in trade finance with more than 30 banks in the US, Germany, Japan, Russia, and China.

HELPING SME

The bank strongly believes that small and medium-sized businesses are backbone to any country and this segment has important financial potential. It therefore has special assistance programs for this segment, as also for herders, farmers, the private and public sector workforce and social welfare recipients. It has strengthened its technology platform, especially its core banking solution, to offer timely services to these sectors, specifically loans. There are several new products that have quickly yielded strong results and helped improve the country’s economy, even as its own loan portfolio grew manifold.

Going forward, the bank intends to improve access to banking services and make banking and financial services more customer-friendly. It is developing products and services using technology so that customers have a variety of options to be served – branch visits, going online, or reaching out to the contact center.

IT PREPAREDNESS

The bank has this year set up a new unit in its IT management structure to support and accelerate delivery of new automated business products and services. And in order to build and improve the online ecosystem, it has also developed a basic infrastructure and a roadmap for the development of APIs. Likewise, the bank has successfully implemented DevOps automation and enhancements to reduce software development and delivery lead time, and to improve quality through engineering and automation. The deployment of core systems with the most frequent changes has been fully tested with DevOps, enabling reduction of software deployment time for systems by 45%. Another way to shorten delivery lead time is the introduction of pattern developments that are re-usable architecture solutions developed for modular applications.

To improve network management capability and automation and ensure security, the bank has designed a software-defined virtualization of network and to have uninterrupted availability, network connections with internet service providers have been improved and automated.

The bank has built a third data center, equipped with fully operational, state-of-the-art solutions to ensure the operational readiness of databases and core systems in compliance with the requirements of the regulatory body.

For the bank, system upgrades are a continuous process that enhances quality, reliability, and security, and enables enhancement. It has also introduced a production environment for mega and strategically important projects, increased system capacity, and evenly distributed and balanced workloads.

During 2021, the bank has implemented more than 140 business and technology projects and programs with the main goal of expanding and improving its online products and services. These projects and programs create new opportunities for applying for loans online and responding to other requests from customers, automating the bank’s operations, supporting business activities, and meeting regulatory requirements.

IT risk assessment is aligned with the bank’s strategy, and action plans have been defined and implemented for identified risks. Successful implementation of risk mitigation actions and the improvement of IT operational risk measures have been an achievement of the reporting year.

PROVIDING CO-WORKING SPACE

One unique initiative of the bank is Khan Business, which offers business customers a co-working space and business incubator center, business consulting, training, and communications events, as well as access to several types of loans and other financial services.

The bank has been paying attention to sustainability and has developed and launched its Sustainable Development Policy, which included all of the Ten Principles of UN Global Compact. All the bank’s internal policies and procedures are consistent with Mongolian laws and regulations, including its human resource policies, Code of Ethics, employment agreement and contract, and internal labor procedures. Khan Bank is compliant with all human rights and eligibility standards, and committed to providing equal opportunities for all candidates, employees, and customers, regardless of age, race, religion, social status, marital status, disability, political party affiliation, political views, sexual orientation, job title, position, financial status, or education.

Khan Bank Foundation is an initiative to meet the bank’s social responsibility goals. It has implemented several programs in fields such as education, culture, arts, rural development, environment, public health, and poverty reduction.

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