MA. CRISTINA TAN-PEREZ ,
AVP, Metrobank Card Corp.
B.S. Legal Management
De La Salle University
How’s your industry doing these days?
There is a growing demand for credit cards in the Philippines. Metrobank Card Corp (MCC) recognizes this because of our enormous growth in the past two years. MCC is actually one of the fastest growing card issuers in 2005. Filipinos are relatively more accustomed to using credit cards now even for their regular purchases or utility bills, but Philippines’ card usage is still low compared to other countries.
What’s its greatest challenge?
The credit card industry is very dynamic primarily because of the stiff competition amongst key players. Credit card companies cannot afford to be complacent as there will always be innovations and new product features introduced in the market. Plus the fact that there is a finite and limited cardholder base in general.
Having said this, I’d consider the ability to keep the customers and consistently provide them compelling product features as the greatest challenge of all.
How do you respond to the challenge?
We continue enhancing our systems and processes and beefing up talents in the Bank. We promote excellence by recognizing the efforts of the people.
In anything we do or introduce in the market, we always think of the customers. Cardholders can be very discriminating now specially with the various perks, privileges and loyalty programs different card companies offer. We make sure that ours has a competitive edge.
Is there such a thing as brand loyalty?
Definitely! Brand is the “promise” – the promise to deliver quality service and satisfaction to the target market. Brand means the measure of quality that creates a certain level of prestige when you own it. And when a brand is well known for its superior quality and service, people tend to continue patronizing it or keep it in the case of credit cards.
Metrobank is one company well-known for its loyal customers as brand has long been tested and proven to be very reliable. Needless to say, it’s the banking giant in the Philippines.
Please tell us about your career path.
Immediately after graduation, I was hired by Asiatrust Bank as a junior officer in their Investment Banking Unit handling small and medium enterprises. Three months after, I received a call from HSBC and decided to join them in October 1997. My initial post was in Credit Cards Collections. I practically went through all the units of Collections from Outbound to Inbound Credit Card Collections to Personal Loans. Four and a half years later I was posted as an Asst. Manager for Marketing-Acquisition handling the Direct Sales Agencies and Alternative Channels. I experienced handling the acquisition campaigns for the RED MasterCard and Mabuhay Miles Visa.
Another two and a half years later, I was invited to join Metrobank Card Corp where I am now. I am the unit head for Product Development and Branding. This is tremendously an exciting job to fill in.
What are your plans for the foreseeable future?
The way things are going (obviously getting more and more exciting!) I see myself staying with MCC in the years ahead. Marketing is one group that is forever dynamic and vibrant. You never cease to think of new ideas and strategies. That’s why I truly enjoy my job. Admittedly, it can be very excruciating at times – running after deadlines, chasing and negotiating with several and different parties among others.
As I have a daughter who just turned two this January, I’m open to the idea of having one more baby by next year. It’s long been my dream to have a big family as I grew up with only one sibling. I feel that it would have been happier if we were more [in the family] especially now that my dad has recently passed away. I initially wanted to have five kids. But oh no! Now that I’ve realized how difficult it is be pregnant combined with the economic factors, I’d probably just settle with three.
As I am a very business-oriented person (since I was in grade school), which I primarily inhibited from my parent,s I intend to put up an antique store of my own later on. I can probably combine it with my parents’ sash factory/woodcraft store. The concept may change later on, but I will certainly put up a business of my own without necessarily giving up my career.
How do you make sure you’re on top of your game?
Again, in developing new product propositions, I always think of customer satisfaction. I do research on the demographics and the competitors’ offerings. And in anything I do, I do it with passion. Dedication is a key to achieving my goals. I focus on the task at hand without losing sight of my colleagues’ needs. That way I also gain their support. An integrated communication to my internal and external clients is always a MUST; otherwise projects might be blown out of proportion.
What’s it like coming to work every day?
I was faced with multiple challenges at one time, but each challenge was also an opportunity for me to improve and excel. Not only did I enhance my craft, but the old processes of the Bank were streamlined as well. Challenges opened opportunities for me to train and share my knowledge to my new Team. It feels so rewarding to see your own people improving and your own programs successfully running.
And now that we’ve recently introduced Femme Visa (the very first product I championed in MCC), the card for the woman on top, I am all the more convinced that I made the right choice joining this company. True to Metrobank’s tagline – I am in good hands =).
What advice would you give young professionals who want to be managers and directors?
Don’t rush things. It is good to dream about being on top of the corporate ladder, but savor the moments while you are still in the grass roots. No matter how small your contribution may seem, always work at your best! Don’t do anything half-baked! Entry levels will teach you the details that you need to know when you’re already on top!
Never confine yourself to the things at hand. Always see and experience the world outside. That way you learn more.
Value integrity while you work your way to the top. If you do things and deal with people with moral soundness, your superiors and your colleagues will truly value and remember you for that!
Lastly, I have this fave cliché since I was probably seven years old that I wish to impart. This has forever stuck in my mind, “Who you are is God’s gift to you and what you become is your gift to God.