Breaking News: TUV Rheinland, the global service provider based in Cologne, Germany, has recommended the issuance of a certificate to the Philippine Postal Savings Bank, Inc. as an ISO 9001:2008 certified organization! Bank President Sarino has sent a congratulatory message to all Postbank staff, saying that it has been a long and arduous journey, but it was well worth the effort as the Bank will now formally join the select group of banking institutions who practice quality management in their operation.
With the installation of the Five-Year Strategic Plan of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank, the new managers searched for ways to fine-tune and institutionalize it. This essentially meant comparing it and making it conform with internationally accepted standards. It also meant strengthening its systems orientation to insulate it and preserve the consistency of its application.
Any organization genuinely desirous of finding a model to emulate need not look far. It is imprinted over the names of the most prestigious institutions around the world, and its reputation for Quality Management Systems is well recognized. This is the ISO certification. ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization while ISO (series) 9001 refers to Quality Management System (QMS). It is a means of objectively evaluating products and services, such as that provided by a bank, to ensure that the structure and processes used to manage the institution are established, documented, and continually improved consistent with internationally recognized standards. It is for all intents and purposes a guarantee that the institution will perform at a very high level of quality.
What will this mean for Postbank? It will ensure all of its clients that the Bank will consistently provide them with excellent service. Working towards an ISO certification is a concerted effort in which every employee is involved, and they are all asked to imbibe and commit to a Quality Management System.
The ISO-driven improved level of performance should translate into higher financial profitability and growth for the institution. The certification is a badge of honor, so to speak, and this explains why many institutions use it to create a positive market reputation before their customers to increase their volume of business. More than being a requirement of Executive Order 605 of the Governance Commission for GOCCs, it actually serves many useful purposes, the most important of which is to improve operations. It adheres to the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan which cites the enhancement and standardization of the quality of public service delivery to become consistent with the ISO requirement.
The project, which takes several months to accomplish, was started in late 2014 with the development and approval by the Postbank Management Committee of a Quality Policy and the Quality Manual which goal shall guide the ISO development process.
The policy, confirmed by the Bank’s Board of Directors, states that:
“Philippine Postal Savings Bank, Inc . (PPSBI), in synergy with the Philippine Postal Corporation, is a government-owned financial institution committed to provide development to the countryside specifically the unbanked/underserved areas.”
ISO 9001 involves a structured requirement to establish, document and continually improve the operation of Postbank using bank audit records and management reports to determine if they are in conformity with the standards set. Subsequently, at 6 or 12 month intervals, surveillance audits are conducted on-site to determine ongoing conformity and continual process improvements. Re-certification audits, likewise conducted on-site, are then carried out every three years for renewal of certification.
At Postbank, the certification campaign commenced with a kick-off meeting with the Postbank Management Committee on November 19, 2014. The following month, an ISO awareness program and a documentation course for the Core Team, and one-on-one meetings were held with different groups, departments, and divisions. January 2015 was spent for a series of awareness programs for the rest of the Bank employees and selection of Quality Auditors.
STAGE 1. A Bank audit, using bank records and management reports, set off the certification process.
Head Office Units, Malolos, Lipa and MBO sites were visited and prepared for audits in February and March, 2015. Audits were conducted by the Quality Auditors in May 2015 to finally prepare them for the external audit.
VP Malou Panzo of the Compliance Office and the appointed Quality Management Representative (QMR) presided over the certification process over the last six months.
VP Panzo admits that implementation and maintenance will probably be more difficult than the installation of the System, but she is optimistic that with the same high level of support given by the Postbank officers, led by Bank President/CEO Cesar N. Sarino and the staff, both in the headquarters and the Bank’s provincial branches, the Quality Management System now in place will elevate the Bank’s operations to international standards.
STAGE 2. No stone is left unturned as external auditors fan out to the provincial bank branches for the standards review and correction process.