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CitySavings Operations Team holds inaugural Controls Assembly

Ronelo Parlocha and Jocelyn Rabang | July 17, 2018

The CitySavings Operations Team has embarked on their first-ever bankwide Controls Assembly, a conference that gathered branch officers and its reserve pool team for a series of discussions under the theme “Stewardship with a Purpose and Accountability”. 

Held at both the CitySavings Head Office in Cebu City and Ortigas Corporate Office at the UnionBank Plaza in Pasig City, the event was an opportunity to discuss relevant concerns in operations as well as to assess and recommend feasible solutions in various operational processes to safeguard the interest of the bank.

Operations partner teams also participated as resource speakers of their respective fields of expertise during the events, which were held on March 11, April 22 and 23, and May 20 and 21.

FVP-Chief Auditor Anna Gatbonton and Branch Audit Unit Head 1 Lyndon Simbajon discussed Internal Controls and the New Audit Rating System; AVP-Chief Compliance Officer Atty. Candy Seguerra emphasized the importance of Operations Compliance Obligations; Associate Legal Counsel Atty. Christian Cabahug highlighted topics on Fraud Prevention and Detection; FVP-HRQ Head Maila Quijano gave an update on the bank’s Code of Conduct, while VP-Chief Risk Officer Gerry Guillen; and Technology and Operations Risk Head Ferdie Nicio talked about Managing Risks and the Security Incident Management System.


FVP - Branch Operations Group Head Linda Flor Hortezano (seated, leftmost) and the Regional Operations Heads with Board Member Romy Ronquillo at CitySavings Head Office, Cebu City.
FVP-Branch Operations Group Head Linda Flor Hortezano (seated, leftmost) and the Regional Operations Heads with Board Member Romy Ronquillo at CitySavings Head Office, Cebu City.

Strategic Pillars

Senior Adviser to the Board Catalino Abacan shared tips on stewardship and discussed the CitySavings strategic roadmap. He also expounded on UnionBank’s growth direction with the recent acquisition of Philippine Resources (PR) Savings Bank, the country’s leading lender for motorcycle loans where he serves as President and CEO. The move expands CitySavings’ reach to help people of moderate means. Abacan also mentioned CitySavings’ venture into bancassurance with Insular Life, pension loans for SSS and GSIS pensioners, seafarer loans, and OFW beneficiary loans as well as the conversion of existing loans processing outlets into branch lite offices in compliance with a recent circular by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). A branch lite will be able to accommodate loan payments making it more convenient for borrowers.

Dream Big

Member of the Board Romy Ronquillo also imparted his expertise on stewardship. “Our first stewardship role in our very own life was the moment we were born” he shared. He encouraged everyone to craft a roadmap for their lives, predict what their lives will be, and work on vision and dreams.

Dreams are free and if we dream, we have to dream big! If we are genuinely concerned with the growth of our family then our job is to do the best stewardship of our lives that we could possibly give.  Do not rely on good luck.  It is inherent in us to shepherd our lives so we can look back and open the chest of memories and say we did well.

Likewise, Ronquillo talked about the three C’s in decision making. Consciously – giving full attention by being proactive and not by being reactive; Conscientiously – balancing what is moral, what is legal, and what is good for the employee or the company; and Constructively – making sure that it is clear to oneself and to others, and the result of one’s work is what is expected.

“Our obligation as a steward is to train our people to be as good as or better than we are.   Make sure they get the exposure needed so they can have the experience for the future. Respect subordinates in the sense that we want to know how they feel.  Be a very good professional and a person of value to the bank.  For those who don’t have people reporting to them, your job is to remain stewards of your lives.  Search and find out how you can develop yourself better in the near future”, he emphasized.

I Can Sleep When the Wind Blows

FVP – Branch Operations Group Head Linda Flor Hortezano highlighted the importance of biblical stewardship through the acronym ROAR which stands for Responsibility, Ownership, Accountability, and Reward.

She also cited the short story, “I Can Sleep When the Wind Blows”:

The story is told of a young man applied for a job as a farmhand, and when the old farmer asked for his qualifications, he replied with an air of confidence, “I can sleep when the wind blows.” The statement puzzled the farmer. But he liked the pleasant-looking young man nevertheless and hired him.

A few days later, the old farmer and his wife were rudely awakened in the night by a violent storm. They quickly began to check things out to see if all was secure. They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened. A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace. The farm tools had been placed neatly in the storage shed, safe from the elements. The tractor had been moved into the garage. The barn was properly locked. Even the animals were calm. The young man slept soundly. All was well. The farmer then understood the meaning of the young man’s words, “I can sleep when the wind blows.”

Because the farmhand did his work loyally and faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for the storm when it broke loose. So when the wind blew, he was fearless. He slept in peace.

“This also applies to our work. In time, it isn’t the things that you do but the things that you leave undone which give you a headache at the setting of the sun,” she added.

The Ownership Attitude and a Leader

EVP – Chief Operating Officer Levi Villanueva shared two stories, a story about the attitude of ownership and a story about a leader which are both related to each CitySavings Banker.

In one of those Apollo missions, there was a guy named Buzz Aldrin, one of the astronauts involved in the program.  One night, Buzz Aldrin was so bored, he decided to go up and chance upon one of the technicians working there.  The guy didn’t recognize him at first and he asked him, “What are you doing”? The technician replied, ”I’m installing a motherboard in this rocket ship”. Buzz Aldrin asked him, “Do you know how exactly this thing flies”?  The guy looked at him and said, “No Sir, but I’ll tell you something, if this mission fails, it will not be because of me.  I don’t know how this thing flies, but if it fails that’s not because of me”.

“The story tells us about the sense of ownership. This bank cannot fail if we have the same attitude as the technician in the story because we will always do our best” he shared.

The other story was about the era of two vehicle makers — Ferrari and Lamborghini.

In the beginning, Lamborghini was actually manufacturing farm tractors that were made out of leftover war tanks during World War II.  One day, Ferruccio Lamborghini was able to put enough money together that he could now buy himself a Ferrari car.  After buying his Ferrari and started driving it, he noticed that there was a problem with his car so he went back to Enzo Ferrari. But Enzo Ferrari did not listen to Ferruccio Lamborghini believing that his car is the best car in the world.  With this, Lamborghini started manufacturing cars.  He pirated the engineers of Ferrari and so today we have Lamborghini cars that are just as good as if not better than Ferrari.  The birth of Lamborghini as a world-class car manufacturer was born out of arrogance.

Let’s never be arrogant especially to the teachers. Let’s always be open to their needs and feedback so we can serve them better and win their hearts. Let’s be accountable and responsible for our actions. Do not be a victim. Choose rather to be a leader and do not be an arrogant one.