Credit Where It’s Due: Zdenek Jankovsky
As the COVID-19 pandemic drove the retail experience further online, Home Credit Philippines stepped up to put purchasing power back in the hands of Filipinos. Director Zdenek Jankovsky says it’s all in the cause of financial inclusion.
With the rising cost of living, options in the consumer finance sector have sprung up to meet growing need. ‘Buy now, pay later’ services have taken up much of the oxygen, but for many, traditional lenders are enough to make life’s financial road bumps a little easier to navigate.
It’s a role global consumer finance expert Home Credit Philippines has played in that country since 2013. A part of the Home Credit Group, which has a presence in eight countries across the world, Home Credit Philippines encourages financial inclusion and safe lending among its customer base of more than nine million Filipinos.
Despite its size and success today, Director Zdenek Jankovsky says it wasn’t so long ago that Home Credit Philippines was just a startup.
"That’s how it was when I joined," says Jankovsky, who became Director and CFO in December of 2014. "We had about 400 employees; now we have more than 12,000 staff.
"We grew from scratch and we’ve changed the way Filipinos do their shopping."
Partnering for success
Today, Home Credit Philippines’ services are widely available around the Philippines. The company has partnered with more than 4,500 businesses to provide finance to customers, and in doing so promotes higher standards of living.
"When we started, there was basically no relevant consumer finance for the un-banked and under-banked," Jankovsky says. "We’re now synonymous with consumer finance in the offline retail world in the Philippines. We have a presence at more than 13,000 stores nationwide. Online, our mobile app, My Home Credit, has more than two million users."
My Home Credit has been a particular leap forward, not only for Home Credit Philippines but for the way consumer finance is done in the Philippines.
"Customers would have to apply for loans via laptops operated by our sales agents," Jankovsky acknowledges.
"During the pandemic we moved a lot of our activities from face-to-face and telephone communication to our app, and now all our customers are able to use the app."
My Home Credit allows for loan approval in minutes. "Once they’re approved, we can guide customers to where they can purchase what they’re after. It’s a huge change."
Another development in the digital world is Qwarta, Home Credit Philippines’s virtual credit limit.
"Our most loyal customers can use Qwarta to obtain a further shopping credit limit on top of their standard loan," Jankovsky explains. "All they have to do is visit a participating store, scan using our mobile app, and it’s charged to their credit. It’s a fantastic product, and it’s taking the customer experience to a new level."
Asking the right questions
It’s an expression of Jankovsky’s business philosophy, which begins with the obvious question of why.
"We start with ‘why’ to understand the needs of our customers," he says. "You have to solve the problems of the customer. You can’t just push your product onto everybody.
"Once you understand what needs you have to meet, you can innovate to meet them. We’ve made huge progress on our digital journey and our mobile app is best-in-class. The level of service we provide can hardly be found anywhere else in the Philippines."
Backing Jankovsky is the Home Credit Philippines team, which itself is an emblem of his approach to business.
"A team for me is not a group of people that simply works together," he stresses. "It’s a group of people that can rely on each other."
The most important role of a manager is hiring towards a harmonious team.
Sure enough, Home Credit Philippines has worked hard to develop a team that’s diverse and inclusive. Women make up an impressive 51.94 percent of all Home Credit Philippines staff, and 38.46 percent of the executive council members, while millennials and gen Z are the vast majority of the workforce.
"The most important role of a manager is hiring towards a harmonious team. You have to build your team with different strengths and skills that compliment each other, and let your people grow."
The success of Home Credit Philippines is also down to its key business partners.
"Local banks such as UnionBank are our most important partners," Jankovsky notes. "Most of our funding comes from local banks, so we have around 15 partners in that space. Their help is critical to us delivering on our promises to our customers."
Going forward, Jankovsky says Home Credit Philippines will continue to fulfill those promises by refining its online offerings.
"We’re happy with our business model," he concludes. "Assisted shopping via our sales agents is what the Filipino people want. We’ll keep on delivering and incrementally improving the Home Credit Philippines experience."