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Interview with Dmytro Grydzhuk, chairman of the Board of Khreschatyk Bank
“There are many ways of achieving success, but probably the most certain one is to show people that doing business honestly is profitable. Such is the main rule of the financial business,” says Dmytro Grydzhuk, Chairman of the Board of Bank Khreschatyk. This financial institution quickly became one of the top twenty banks in Ukraine after a young successful financier, Dmytro Grydzhuk, who had gained a valuable experience in managing a commercial bank, headed Bank Khreschatyk. The new head of the Bank, who had a degree of Candidate of Science awarded to him by one of the leading universities in Kyiv, also had an experience in crisis management. His Ph. D. thesis proved his rights on the unique model of bank development.
Dmytro Grydzhuk is a significant figure in the Ukrainian banking business. There is no doubt that such an outstanding personality in the Ukrainian banking business deserves to be written about, especially about his life values, which have always been the background of his activities as a financier under the difficult economic conditions of today’s Ukraine.
Rising through the ranks
“The desire to achieve an immediate success is a strong temptation and a source of long-term risks,” says Dmytro Grydzhuk, who has risen through the ranks to become Head of the Bank. Starting his career as Head of the Department in the Directorate of the first true commercial bank in Ivano Frankivsk he became Chairman of its Board. Since 2000 he has been Head of Bank Khreschatyk which is well-known not only in Ukraine but also in the international financial community.
Khreschatyk is the only Ukrainian financial institution which, alongside such leading western banks as Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, J. P. Morgan, UBS, and Deutsche Bank has been engaged in attracting foreign loans for the Municipal Council of Kyiv. It has been rated positively by such international rating agencies as Fitch Ratings and Moody’s, with the stable outlook; and which liquidity and stability have been proved by its major performance indicators and confirmed by independent audit.
Dmytro Grydzhuk’s life credo, whose roots are in Hutsul Pechenizhyn of the Carpathians, and who was educated at the Institute of National Economy in Odesa, has always been his parents words: the most important thing in life is to be useful for others, life is an instant where you should understand what is of primary value and what is not; and if you want to be happy you should devote your life to others in everything: from social importance of your professional activity to helping and giving advice to every person who asks for it.
Dmytro Grydzhuk has achieved success on his own. His achievements have been duly appreciated — in the past five years he has been continuously recognized as one of the best top managers in the financial sector by such business publications as TOP-100, Hvardiya 500, and Kompanyon. He has been given an award from the Euromarket Forum Awards in the nomination “For a considerable contribution to the economic integration of Ukraine into the world economic community.” He is a laureate of the Ukrainian national program Lyudyna Roku (Man of the Year) in the nomination Best Financier of the Year.
Dmytro Grydzhuk, who has authored a number of books and scholarly papers, is often invited to give lectures to students and to be the member of the examination panels of economics educational establishments. He has a lot of contacts with youth. Young people often ask him. “What’s your formula of success?” The banker says that there is no universal formula but he emphasises that the variety of your interests should be the foundation of your social activity and personal life. Life is a turn of falls and rises, and the more inquiring you are the richer is your outlook, and the more successful you will be in your career and your relations with the outside world, as Mr Grydzhuk accentuates. We should also mention that nearly 70 percent of Bank’s employees are young people.
Innovations and ingenuity
Being a financier is a creative occupation, where innovations and ingenuity play a significant role. Paul Decourcelle, a French writer, once said, “For intelligent people money is a means, and for narrow-minded — the goal.” These words are particularly applicable in this country, which economy is developing and functioning in a peculiar way.
The secret of turning money into a means of making dreams come true is often easily seen, says Dmytro Grydzhuk, but not everyone can find or use such management technologies that can bring success. He has done that.
In 2000, Khreschatyk employed only 60 people, and now there are over 1,500 employees working at this bank. It runs 86 branches in 33 cities of Ukraine. Dmytro Grydzhuk has managed to raise Khreschatyk from a position of a small bank to the level of big banks, according to the classification of the National Bank of Ukraine. He has managed to do that due to implementing the unique model of bank business development, new technologies of management combined with employees’ motivation. At present, Khreschatyk is recognized as a financial structure, which has been developing in the most dynamic way in the Ukrainian market. According to its performance indicators it is in the 20 top banks of Ukraine. It occupies the 116th place among 1,000 banks in the countries of the former Soviet Union.
Mr Grydzhuk is convinced that managing technologies must be based firstly on experience and progressive ideas and secondly on constructive suggestions, which are initiated by the Bank employees and its management within the general strategy of the Bank’s development. Positive results achieved at the bank’s branches are analyzed and then introduced into the Bank’s central system. And vice versa, the Bank’s head office works as a brain centre, which not only analyzes results, but also works out innovations for banking products and services, new systems of servicing clients, whose number continues to grow by almost one fourth every year. Creative potential of every employee is particularly important, says Mr Grydzhuk, not only the intellect of the Bank as a whole. In this, the top manager plays a key role — the top manager must unite the employees with a common goal, ideas and common values. Moreover corporate relations should be developed on a long-term basis, so that they would maintain the parity of interests of all the parties involved — shareholders, customers and bank employees. Such principles of Khreschatyk’s activities, together with its openness and transparency have become the basis of the Charter of Corporate Management adopted in the Bank in 2005.
Team as the most valuable asset
Dmytro Grydzhuk is certain that the most valuable asset of the Bank is its employees. Undoubtedly, high performance indicators are very important but a highly-qualified specialist, who shares your ideas, accepts the Bank’s development policy and trusts the strategic management prospects is a real reason for success. A good bank functions like a good watch — all the cogs in parts are to be at their right places. The financier Grydzhuk likes colourful comparisons. His Ukrainian is idiomatic and rich. What is more, hardly any bank can boast about such a cultural project as Biblioteka banku Khreschatyk (Library of Bank Khreschatyk), within which books by the authors — Nobel Prize winners — have been published.
The HR management priority is the creation of efficient working conditions for the staff; mutual understanding and consolidation of efforts are aimed at achieving strategic and tactical goals.
“We make our employees realize the importance of team work, we welcome any their ideas and proposals, that are aimed at the Bank’s steady development,” says Mr Grydzhuk. He understands perfectly well the importance of such relations within the Bank and pays a particular attention to the formation of a team, which is oriented towards achieving good results. The system of mentorship, which has been unjustly forgotten for some time, plays an important role in this.
Moral encouragement is another substantial element in the work of Khreschatyk. Corporate parties and festive occasions celebrated together have become traditional; the most successful employees receive awards from the Board of the Bank. Weekend tours to picturesque places of Ukraine are organized; the employees’ children receive presents from the Bank on special occasions and religious festivals.
Plans for the future
When asked, “What is the essence of money?” Mr Grydzhuk answers, “Money can improve our world.”
As an example of it the Bank demonstrates social orientation of many loan programs, due to which even not wealthy pensioners can improve their living conditions, or young families can have their private houses and apartments without having to pay back great amounts of money on interest rates or mortgage loans. Besides the Bank has introduced specialized programs for the pensioners who can have certain privileges in getting their pensions or in saving money; and for young people whom the Bank helps start life as grown-ups in a free, modern and effective way. Innovatory and really humane character of Khreschatyk’s projects is reflected in the Non-government Pension Fund, which has been set up. The main task of this Fund is to form additional pensions through the means of the bank itself, also customers’ deposits and investment activities of the managing company. These are only a few of the Bank’s socially oriented programs that are mentioned here.
Mr Grydzhuk, who is actually responsible for introducing the innovative management technologies, says that the most important for him is to choose and then develop those positive things, which will bring excellent results in the future, to forecast what should be done and find the shortest and the best way of achieving the set goals. It is equally important to listen to all possible variants suggested, to look at the problem at hand from all possible angles and then take a well-balanced managerial decision. That is why it is so important to consider all the details, to distribute correctly responsibilities among the managers, structural subdivisions and branches. If this chain is built in the right way, it will be possible to minimize risks in banking activities, and further development of the Bank, its stability and reliability depends on that.
“Our task for the next few years, that is until 2010,” says Mr Grydzhuk, “is to use, in the most adequate way, the position we have achieved among the leading Ukrainian banks. We are planning to increase the Bank net assets up to 12 billion hryvnyas, credit-investment portfolio up to 9.9 billion hryvnyas and the financial result up to 200 million hryvnyas.” These are quite audacious plans, and Mr Grydzhuk is certain that “if the harmony is kept in everything — in finances, management technologies, corporate standards, relations with shareholders, clients, partners and among the employees, we will achieve great results.” The main thing here is to use the time available in a proper way — as one grows older, there seems to be less and less time left, though one still manages to learn another foreign language, to do sports or to enjoy the best performances in the National Opera.
Dmytro Grydzhuk can hardly be called a typical banker. He is not often seen at high society gatherings or at prestigious sports competitions. He prefers to go to the Carpathians instead, and climbing high up the mountains, he ponders over the enigmas of life, philosophical questions, thinks about mundane matters and about work. Admiring the works of Kyiv artists in Andriyivsky Uzviz he reminiscences about the times when he entered upon this occupation in order to help people run their own businesses and their savings so that money could give them more freedom and more opportunities.
Mr Grydzhuk’s roots that have absorbed the wisdom of the Land of the Hutsuls nourishes him with life energy; and his family, who are very close to him and understand his busy way of life, give him determination and single-mindedness, support him in all his initiatives, fill his life with happiness and love. Being a financier is a way of life, not just work, and you can’t do anything about it.
This article has been prepared for publication by Mariya VLAD
on the basis of the materials provided by Bank Khreschatyk press service
Translated by Lyudmyla BRAYCHENKO
Dmytro Grydzhuk, head of the Board of Khreschatyk
Dmytro Grydzhuk with winners of the children drawing