Up close with Trust Bank's Nyevero Hlupo

Nyevero Panyika Hlupo (NPH) was appointed Managing Director of Trust Bank Corporation Limited (TBC) in late 2010, with the mandate of spear-heading the re-launch of the Bank and rolling out of its branch network.

He has previously held the post of finance director in Trust Holdings Limited, the parent company of Trust Bank Corporation.

Nyevero is a Chartered Accountant and has extensive experience in audit, financial consultancy and corporate finance.

He has lead valuation and reconstruction of enterprises, implementation of commercialisation strategies and privatisation of government bodies as well as fundraising projects for private sector players in Zimbabwe and other regional countries such as Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.

As we continue with the quest to help the banking public understand and know their bankers better at a personal and professional level, Financial Sector Spotlight (FSS) recently caught up with the Portuguese-speaking banker and chatted to him about Trust Bank’s prospects, the state of the banking sector from a “returnee’s” perspective and most importantly, about the things that matter to him at a personal level.

FSS: How did you become a banker? Was it by design or by default?

NPH: I became a banker by chance. Having worked for a firm of accountants, assisted them in setting up and upgrading their regional offices, together with some of my colleagues, we committed to setting up an accounting/audit firm. We realised that there was a conflict of interest in setting up this outfit while we were still working for our employer. I therefore found myself in a halfway house which happened to be a finance house. Whilst there, I fell in love with banking and became conscious that being a banker was more exciting than accounting/auditing.

FSS: Tell us in a nutshell about your banking experience?

NPH: I started off as the “numbers” guy, but also responsible for debt collection, ICT and administration. Later on in my banking career, I ventured into corporate secretarial, credit management and corporate finance. However, it was corporate finance that I became fondly attracted to, to the extent that as the TBC Team we built a powerful brand having successfully handled mandates ranging from privatisation, fund raising, listings and underwriting transactions to issuance of bonds.

FSS: What have been the defining experiences of your banking career so far?

NPH: Being part of a team that made TBC a significant player in the banking sector; a team that believed in delivering quality banking services underpinned by the creation and maintenance of personal relationships.

FSS: Trust Bank comes back to the market at a time of severe competitive pressures due to the state of the economy. What will the bank do differently having – in a manner of speaking – gone on a six-year sabbatical?

NPH: TBC still believes in delivering quality service characterised by quick turnaround times, creating a friendly atmosphere in all our service centres and delivering “out-of-the box” solutions that are driven by cutting edge and exciting technology. We believe in marketing passion as opposed to banking products and thus, as in yesteryears, we will be a leader in innovative product development and delivering high quality service.

FSS: The re-launch of the Bank has been rather fast-paced and fairly well received by the banking public. By early February 10 branches had already been re-opened. What critical elements do you attribute this success to?

NPH: The success is attributed to the outstanding support received from the parent company, Trust Holdings Limited (THL), which provided the resources to perform the bank roll out programme in record time. In addition, the THL efforts were met with a significant positive response from the banking public, comprising the old and new clients who were yearning for the TBC banking experience once again. Above all the TBC team is young, dynamic and results-oriented.

FSS: Trust Bank was the first locally-owned bank to outgrow the so-called traditional/foreign-owned financial institutions. Do you expect the bank to scale those heights again and if so, how soon?

NPH: Admittedly, the standards previously set by TBC with respect to quality of service, product generation, and of course, profitability were extremely high. Whilst the operating environment has vastly changed, the TBC team is committed to reaching those dizzy heights again. Previous good performance was not driven by individuals, but was stimulated by a team approach that was fostered by a deep respect for the individuals. We continue to support and strengthen the team approach and with that, the future can only be bright.

FSS: How would you describe the current state of the banking sector? Has it changed much from the days when Trust dictated the pace in local banking circles?

NPH: The environment has changed significantly. The market is not liquid enough, resulting in market players fighting over a very small cake. The tenure of deposits is also very short and this is unable to support lending for long term capital projects.
Facts on the ground suggest that liquidity determines the “drift of clients” and linked to this, the unbanked market is now quite substantial. It is also important to note that a significant number of the banking corporates and individuals have been severely weakened. Competition has become broader and stronger. Despite all these dynamics that are in motion, the Trust team is geared for the challenge.

FSS: What is the single biggest thing you wish the banking public would understand about how banks function?

NPH: The banking public should appreciate that banks have a significant role to play in mobilising resources from the saving public and deploying such resources to entrepreneurs and businesses for the development and growth of the economy. As such banks play a critical role in analysing and pricing risk on behalf of the investing public who require incremental growth.

FSS: At a personal level, do you have a philosophy you live by?

NPH: I strongly believe in being real and sharing the world.

FSS: Who is your role model if any?

NPH: I admire different aspects of many people who are worthy role models but if I was to name only one person I would say I admire Tiger Woods mostly for his amazing fighting/survival/competitive spirit even when the chips are really down.

FSS: What is your definition of success and how do you handle failure?

NPH: Success is the ability to identify and harness opportunities. Failure is a learning experience meant to support acquisition of knowledge and character building.

FSS: Have you any regrets, any unfulfilled ambitions?
NPH: Regrets? Substantially NO. Unfulfilled ambitions? It’s too premature to talk about these as I still consider myself to be in my prime. My life’s targets are not a secret, but would it not be better to judge the extent of my failure to fulfil my ambitions when my obituary is written?

FSS: Which book(s) are you currently reading?
NPH: Michael Cladwell is a simple and absorbing writer whilst Frances Jones produces good lullabies.

FSS: Please state at least three pieces of advice you would give to Zimbabwean bankers on your deathbed.

NPH: Be creative, be futurist and innovatively support new industries with worldwide competitive advantages.

FSS: Lastly, is there anything that we haven’t asked which you think the readers of FSS would like to know about?

NPH: Lets share the world, there is enough for everyone.

FSS: Thank you for taking time off your busy schedule to talk to FSS

NPH: It was a pleasure talking to you.

Out of a scale of 10, how do you rate Nyevero’s contribution to the development of the banking sector?

Do you have any questions for him? Please send them and any other views and comments to: omen.muza@gmail.com


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