Wing Lung Bank, the local Chinese financial institution set up in 1933, was one of the Hong Kong pioneers in starting an Officer Training Programme, launched 15 years ago, which was later suspended. As a wholly owned subsidiary of China Merchants Bank (CMB) since 2009, Wing Lung has undergone rapid growth. It has also restarted a Graduate Training Programme.
"We are going to hire 10 to 15 trainees this year. Our aim is to recruit high-calibre candidates who can bring innovative ideas to the bank's development," says Beryl Chan, the bank's head of human resources.
Wing Lung, which has 1,550 staff, is looking for candidates who are passionate about banking and driven to push through boundaries and take on challenges, she says. They should also possess leadership skills and an entrepreneurial spirit. "The two-year programme offers a series of well-designed classroom training, site visits to working partners and job attachment," Chan says.
Candidates can specialise in commercial and corporate banking, wealth management or operations management. They will first undergo an orientation, focusing on theories - one of the two important components of the programme. For two months, they will learn about key banking services, professional ethics and compliance, and receive soft skills training.
Practical experience will start with tailor-made site visits where trainees will learn about the daily operations of business units related to their chosen functional area, and will be exposed to a wide spectrum of relevant banking products. This will be followed by temporary job attachment opportunities in one of the bank's 42 local branches or in China.
Chan says due to the bank's close cooperation with CMB, trainees may have the opportunity to be seconded to the mainland, providing them with a unique chance to explore the country's banking practices.
Edwin Ng, a Wing Lung vice-president for corporate banking, says his secondment to the mainland was the most enriching stint in his two and a half years with the bank.
"It was an unforgettable experience - not only did I gain hands-on experience in corporate banking in China's financial capital, I also strengthened my relationship with my clients in Shanghai and sharpened my Putonghua skills. After work, I enjoyed the World Expo, savoured the local cuisine and made many good friends," he says.
Ng has five years' work experience as a CPA in Hong Kong and Los Angeles. He has found excellent opportunities to rise through the ranks. "I was regarded as an important member of the team, and we completed numerous deals together. My experience at the bank has allowed me to learn a great deal in a short period of time," he says.