Training Center Designed to Boost Georgia’s Banking Sector
Georgia's financial sector is one of the most developed segments of the economy. There are currently twenty-two commercial banks, eighteen microfinance institutions, forty-one licensed credit unions, fourteen insurance companies, and three pension funds operating in Georgia. The banking sector constantly struggles with a shortage of skilled employees. This is due, in part, to the lack of a unified training system that adheres to international and European standards.
The Georgian Banking Training Center (GBTC) was established in 2007. It is a joint venture of the Association of Banks of Georgia (ABG) and Caucasus University (CU). GBTC receives financial and technical support of USAID's Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Support Project and Georgian commercial banks. The center has been designed to provide Georgian banking professionals with the skills required by the country's expanding financial sector.
The SME Support Project partnered with the Association of Banks of Georgia to design a program to create a skilled workforce. The Project provided a grant and technical assistance to develop the Center. ABG-member commercial banks more than matched USAID's grant dollars. They selected Caucasus University, one of the leading business schools in Georgia, to house the GBTC. CU donated the use of a building and staff for the Center. ABG and CU established a permanent limited liability company to operate the GBTC. ABG owns 51% and the Caucasus University owns 49%, and all profits are reinvested into the center. A supervisory board is comprised of members of the banking community and other interested parties.
Levan Gogoladze, the head of GBTC explains, "The center provides its trainees with the European Foundation Certificate in Banking [EFCB], a three months course and a special preparation course for the exams. This qualification is already being offered to all European countries and is based on European standards."
In total, 70 employees have already completed in the course. The graduates are employed at nine different banks: TBC, Bank of Georgia, VTB Bank, People's Bank, Cartu Bank, Invest Bank, Standard Bank, Bank Republic and BasisBank.
TBC Bank announced that it will give candidates with EFCB priority for employment. They believe hiring GBTC graduates will save resources previously used to train new hires.
In the future, new courses will be added based on specific needs of the banking community. The center's courses are available to individuals in the finance sector, including microfinance institutions, insurance and leasing companies, pension funds, and those seeking careers in this field. Additionally, the GBTC is already operating on a self-sustainable mode, due to the banking community's firm commitment to the center.
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