Published 22. Nov. 2016

Five Critical Skills for Banking Leaders Today

Financial Services


Vision Casting

Everything is changing at an unparalleled speed. For organizations to survive and thrive, their leadership must possess the ability to foresee and have a clear picture of what lies ahead. And this vision must be realistic and not too lofty according to Vietnam Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank’s CIO Quoc Khanh Bui, “Yes, we need to be able to look into the future and create a vision, but we have to ensure that our vision is realistic to our business and that our organization actually benefits from its implementation.”


Not only are the changes fast-paced, they’re also happening on multiple fronts. To be able to respond and meet demands in a timely manner, organizations must remove old restrictions and be more flexible with policies. This is especially important in innovation, which requires experimentation. For Malaysia Holding’s CMO Mohamed Adam Wee Abdullah, “The policies related to how we respond to changes restrict us from adapting. Organizations must first learn to understand change to be able to adapt to it.”

Change Management 

With things being volatile and requiring constant change, leaders will always be in transitions. To manage, leaders are tasked to invest in strategy, operational efficiency, and in people development. “The leaders management skills will be tested when changes in efficiency, production, and outcome are called for,” says Nathan Nguyen, Deputy CEO of Viet Capital Bank.

Soft Skills

Communication and motivation are must have soft skills. Leaders already possessing a clear vision and in-depth knowledge of the business should not only be able to articulate ideas and benefits, but also be able sell them to stakeholders and to the whole organization. “Gone are the days of the figurehead leaders. Today, we’re talking about a much more involved type of leadership,” adds M.A.W. Abdullah.

Technological Literacy 

From innovation to security, everything is technology-based. With the speed in which technology grows, leaders can’t afford not to be tech-savvy. Viet Capital Bank’s Deputy CEO’s advice is, “Take time to learn banking tech and trends. Only in understanding them can you innovate.”

The interviews were from the ASEAN StrategyForum Banking event in Singapore on the 20th – 21st of April 2016. For more on our upcoming events, visit the Event Calendar »