STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION PROGRAM FOR CITIBANK INDONESIA’S CRISIS
This paper will review the crisis faced by Citibank Indonesia, related with the death of Irzen Okta, the secretary general of National Unifying Party (PPB), when he tried to negotiated his credit card problems at Citibank office.
In the same time, Citibank also faced big problems related with their former relationship manager, Malinda Dee, who steal millions of money, using her position and connections with Citibank’s priority customer.
Several strategy of crisis communication recommended by this paper, has been made after several analyzing phase.
Crisis is something that mostly happened to every company, with different level of damaged. Not just happened in unstable small company, crises can also happened in a big, well known company, with a good reputation, such as Citibank Indonesia, one of the most well-known bank in Indonesia.
This crisis begun when Melinda Dee, also known as Inong Malinda, relationship manager of Citibank Indonesia, arrest by police at March 23th, 2011 at her apartment at South of Jakarta. Police suspect she embezzled customer’s money, and do a money laundering.
Several days after Melinda’s arrest, there was another problem. Irzen Octa, the secretary general of National Unifying Party (PPB), died at Citibank office at march 29th, 2011, when he tried to negotiated his credit card problems. There are allegation that Irzen death by debt collector’s violence.
This situation for Citibank considered as a crisis. So, Citibank must have a good strategic communication program especially to overcome this crisis, limit the damage, and rebuilt Citibank reputation.
Jerri Hendrix (2000) used the acronym ROPE (Research, Objectives, Programming, and Evaluation) as a four phases we need to take to determine a good public relations programs. .
Meanwhile, Smith (2008:9) at his book Strategic Planning for Public Relations, offer nine step of strategic public relation, that are grouped into four phase: formative research, strategy, tactics, and evaluating research .
Some of these steps will be used to analyze “Citibank Nightmares” situation and develop an effective communications strategy to get over the crisis.
1. Analyzing Situation: It is a crisis!
According to Fern and Banks, crisis is something worst than a problem, because crisis risk the reputation, remove people trust, and also caused economical suffering. . It is also happen in Citibank Indonesia.
The reputation of Citibank, can be diminished by this condition. As cited by Difi A Johansyah, Kabiro Humas Bank Indonesia, “Although Bank Indonesia has not given sanction for Citibank, case at Citibank already destroy the image and reputation of this bank. This is actually, an indirect sanction.“
Citibank also suffer financial loss, because they have to compensate customers loss because of what Melinda did. The preliminary estimation is in the range of 17 billion rupiahs. “We are lose out financially, because we have to return our customer losses,” said Ditta Amahorseya, Country Corporate Affairs Head Citibank.
There are also potenciality to loss 12 billion rupiahs a day, after Bank Indonesia temporarily, freeze the Citibank gold customer-rasing activities as a consequences of Irzen’s death. “Citigold get two gold customer a day from each 12 branch. Each customer minimum have 500 million rupiahs,” said Hotman Simbolon after meeting with Komisi Keuangan DPR RI, April 6th, , 2011.
And, of course, we can be sure that people trust of Citibank will be decreased as an effect of this two situation. The death of Irzen octa, will make people who are not Citibank costumer think twice to be Citibank customer. And, they, who already become Citibank customer maybe now considering to withdraw their funds and move it to another reliable banks because of their fear and anxiety.
2. Analyzing the organization: Citibank greatest name being challenged
Citibank Indonesia is a full branch of Citibank, N.A. with its head office in New York, U.S.A. This bank first established in Indonesia in 1918 through its predecessor company, The International Banking Corporation in Batavia and Surabaya. While those branches were closed in the late 1920s, Citibank returned to Jakarta in 1968 and established a full range of banking activities.
Citibank retail banking in Indonesia now operates 19 branch offices and 102 ATMs in six major Indonesian cities: Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Medan, Semarang and Denpasar.
It has 4 key business groups, namely Retail Banking, Credit Card, Personal Loans and Citifinancial.
At 2006- 2008, Citibank are one of the 10 bank in Indonesia with the biggest asset, in the range of 38 until 53,5 billion rupiahs. In terms of financial performance, based on the monthly publication of financial reports to Bank Indonesia, the assets of Citibank as of December 2010 (unaudited) amounted to Rp 55, 69 trillion, net interest income Rp 3, 173 trillion, the net income of Rp 2, 2trillion. Over nine times in a row, Citibank received an award as the best bank in Indonesia. The last is a Triple A Country Awards 2010 from The Asset magazine.
But now, the greatest name of Citibank Indonesia is being challenged by two big cases they are facing. As a respons for two cases happened in their corporation, Citibank ever made a general – very general, actually – officials statement. “It is our commitment to protect the interest of our customers, including swiftly repaying all customers who suffered losses in the fraudulent transaction, fairly and timely,” said Citi’s Indonesia country corporate affairs head, Ditta Amahorseya.
And for the case of Irzen, Ditta said, “As representatives of the bank, all our contract staff are required to adhere to the code during all interactions with customers,” she said.
Ctibank also declare their cooperation intention to help police in their case investigation. “We are cooperating fully with the police in their investigations to determine if agency staff adhered to the code of conduct.”
However, because the big demand from council member for Citibank to make apology to the people of Indonesia, Syarikh Mochtar, Country manager of Citibank Indonesia finally convey their apology. “Saya mewakili Citibank Indonesia mengucapkan maaf yang sedalam-dalamnya atas meninggalnya saudara Octa. Saya tahu ini sangat berat bagi keluarga korban, kami berharap keluarga korban mau memaafkan kami,” said Syarik after hearing meeting with DPR and Police Department at April 6th, 2011.
3. Analyzing the publics
Acording to Smith (2008), public is a group of people that shares a common interest vis a vis an organization, recognizes its significance and sets out to do something about it. They usually have similar characteristic and interest, aware of the situation and relationship with organization, and potentially organized or energized to act on the issue.
There are four categories of publics (Smith, 2008:41- 43):
Customer are public that receive product or services from organization. So, for Citibank, customer can be citibank’s depositor, investor, or credit card holder all with have financial relationship with Citibank. It can be sure that these case reduce public trust. Some of council members, who are Citibank customer return the Citibank credit card as a sign for their disappointment over the behavior of Citibank to their fellow folk, Indonesia. Citibank must respond this reactions wisely, because it can be followed by another Citibank customer.
Producers are those public that provide input to the organization. For Citibank, it is include employees, supplier of card, paper, or any material their needed, and also donors, financial backers, etc.
Enabler are those who serve as regulator. They made a norm, standar or regulator for the organization, opinion leader, and groups that have potential influences for organization success, also an ally, that enable the organization to work with on a project.
Limiter are those who in some way reduce or undermine the success of organization. For Citibank, limiters can be the other bank that become their competitor, police or council or government, that become Citibank opposite because their duty to defend the society.
For this case, DPR (House of Representatives) made a decisions after hearing with Citibank at April 5th and 6th , 2011, there are:
1. Komisi XI DPR sangat kecewa dan menyesalkan modus operandi penagihan tunggakan kartu kredit yang dilakukan Citibank Indonesia yang diduga telah menyebabkan matinya nasabah Citibank Indonesia Irzen Octa. Bahwa Citibank Indonesia merupakan cabang dari Citibank NA yang berkantor pusat di New York AS Komisi XI menyampaikan protes resmi dan menuntut Kantor Pusat CItibank di New York untuk meminta maaf dan bertanggung jawab secara hukum, baik materiil maupun immateriil kepada keluarga korban serta rakyat Indonesia.
2. Komisi XI menyatakan bahwa peristiwa pembobolan dana nasabah yang dilakukan MD menunjukkan bahwa bukan saja sistem dan prosedur operasi, serta pengawasan internal Citibank Indonesia yang lemah tetapi juga ketidakpatuhan Citibank terhadap peraturan Bank Indonesia dan instruksi Bank Indonesia tentang persyaratan sertifikasi pejabat bank dan rotasi karyawan, dalam hal ini terhadap MD.
3. Komisi XI berdasarkan penjelasan BI dan pengakuan Citibank menyatakan bahwa kelalaian, ketidakpatuhan Citibank terhadap pengawasan Peraturan dan instruksi BI serta lemahnya pengawasan BI telah menyebabkan terjadinya penyalahgunaan wewenang dan pembobolan yang dilakukan MD dan merugikan kepentingan nasabah. Tidak hanya itu dikhawatirkan akan merusak kepercayaan masyarakat terhadap cabang-cabang bank asing yang beroperasi di Indonesia.
4. Oleh karena itu berdasarkan butir 1,2 dan 3 diatas, Komisi XI DPR mendesak BI agar dalam waktu yang secepat-cepatnya mengambil tindakan sebagai berikut :
a. Menyelidiki dan menjatuhkan sanksi yang tegas kepada Citibank Indonesia sesuai peraturan yang berlaku.
b. Mendukung dan mendesak Kepolisian RI untuk membongkar dugaan adanya praktek kejahatan perbankan pada Citibank sesuai peraturan yang berlaku baik pidana umum, pidana perbankan dan tindak pidana pencucian uang.
5. Komisi XI menilai tugas BI dalam melakukan pengawasan dan menegakkan peraturan terhadap bank masih sangat lemah dan tidak tegas.
6. Komisi XI merekomendasikan dan mendesak BI untuk membekukan kegiatan penerbitan kartu kredit Citibank yang baru terhitung sejak tanggal dikeluarkannya sikap Komisi XI ssampai kasus meninggalnya Irzen Octa selesai dan mempunyai keputusan hukum yang tepat.
7. Komisi XI DPR mendesak BI utk mencabut, merevisi dan menyempurnakan PBI No 11/11/PBI/2009 dan SE No 11/10/DASP terutama mengenai tata cara pelaksanaan penagihan atas tunggakan yang diragukan dan macet kepada pihak ketiga. Selama revisi dan penyempurnaan dilakukan, maka pihak perbankan harus melakukan penagihan langsung kepada nasabahnya.
8. Komisi XI DPR RI mendesak kepada BI untuk dapat dengan tegas menerapkan asas perlakuan yang setara (asas resiprokal), baik terhadap Citibank N.A. Indonesia, maupun juga terhadap cabang-cabang Bank Asing yang beroperasi di Indonesia dalam semua mslh perbankan.
9. Sesuai dengan asas nasionalitas dan kedaulatan NKRI, maka Komisi XI DPR RI berkomitmen untuk melakukan revisi terhadap UU tentang Perbankan dan UU tentang Bank Indonesia pd Masa Sidang IV Tahun Sidang 2010-2011.
10. Industri perbankan merupakan industri yang mengandalkan kepercayaan masyarakat. Kasus meninggalnya salah satu nasabah Citibank N.AM Indonesia dan pembobolan dana nasabah Citibank N.A. Indoensia oleh pegawainya sendiri, serta kasus penggelapan dana masyarakat seperti yang terjadi di Kabupaten Pesisir Selatan, Sumatera Barat, dapat merusak citra dan kepercayaan masyarakat terhadap dunia perbankan.
Bertitik tolak dari hal tersebut, serta diharapkan agar kasus-kasus serupa yg terjadi di Citibank N.A. Indonesia tidak terulang kembali di masa datang, maka Komisis XI DPR RI sepakat akan membentuk Panitia Kerja utk mendalami berbagai permasalahan perbankan sehingga dapat mengembalikan kepercayaan masyarakat terhadap dunia perbankan.
11. Keputusan ini disampaikan kepada pimpinan DPR untuk diteruskan ke Presiden RI, Pimpinan Baleg DPR, Gubernur BI, Kepala Kepolisian RI, Dubes AS, Pimpinan Kantor Pusat Citibank di AS dan keluarga almarhum Irzen Octa.
12. Komisi XI DPR meminta kepada BI dan Citibank N.A Indonesia agar melaporkan pelaksanaan keputusan Komisi XI DPR dlm waktu 1 bulan sejak keputusan dikeluarkan.
Strategy, Program, and Budget
Facing the crisis, Citibank should make a crisis management, that is a process of strategic planning for a crisis or negative turning point, a process that removes some risk and uncertainty from the negative occurrence and thereby allow the organization to be in greater control of its own destiny. (Fearn-Banks, 2007: 9).
Some of the strategy I will use to manage Citibank crisis are:
1. Communicating with the media
In crisis, we can consider media as our ally as well as our limiter. Our ally, because when they made a news that accordance with our objective, media can help us to overcome this crisis.
Objective: give the media appropriate and clear information about the crisis: what happen, potency of extention damaged, why it happen, what will the company do, how company response council decision, etc.
– Choose the best person to be the spokeperson, as a company representative. From him or her her, media will hear any information about the case from the company. For the crisis situation, the spoke person should be someone who have power to make a decision for the company, not just media relations or public relations person. This person must be determined as soon as possible.
– Make a press conference. From this event, media will get one, clear, information from the company. Of course company must prepared what kind information will be delivered to the press, what safe answer must be sent for various type of media questions, without made a false statement.
– Made a special page at the company website to give all information related with the crisis, needed by media (newsroom). The information must be updated when there are any progress or new information.
Impelementation: this crisis communication program to the media must be done immediately, so the media get the appropriate and true information direct from the Citibank, not from another party.
Budget: Rp. 50.000.000
– Make a press conference that held in the neutral area, such as restaurant or hotels’s meeting room, not at the Citibank office,
– press release and media kit
– provides a special staff to handle the press room at Citibank website during crisis
– consultation fee for public relations/media relations expert.
Evaluation: evaluation of effectiveness of this program will be done by analyzing news coverage about Citibank in the media.
2. Communication with the expert
Malinda’s case and so do the debt collector case have the potency to become a legal problems. Objective: Get the best suggestion from the experts to anticipate the problem become worst.
– Consultation to the financial expert about all the thing related with the financial and banking case.
– Make a consultation to the public relations expert, to get their suggestion about the approreiate approach to all the Citibank’s public.
– Make a consultations with the lawyer, because they are the expert in the areas of law. They know better about what to say and what is don’t, because it can be used to against the company in the court.
Citibank must set a meeting with some expert, especially in financial and banking area. From them Citibank will see the case from another point of view, that can be used as a guide to decide the next step want to take.
Also from the lawyer, we must take a time to listen their advice from the law’s point of view.
Budget: Rp 200.000.000
– Make a group discussion with bank and financial expert.
– Discussion with PR expert
– Consultation fee for the lawyer
Evaluation: effectiveness of this program can be evaluate from analyzing the effect (that hopefully positive) toward the cases, after Citibank conducting the suggestions from the experts.
3. Communication with internal party
The case of Melinda, especially, might be become a big issue, not just for person outside the company, but also all people inside the company. There were posiblility that they feel some unfairness happen to them who dedicate all they have, but they get not as much as what Melinda get.
Confusion and anxiety may also occur because they are not sure what exactly happen, in this two cases, what will be happen in this corporation, and of course what will happen with their future.
Objective: give the employees the truth information, and future assurance, consolidate, and make all of the employee spokeperson for the company.
– Made an internal meeting, invite every branch manager and give the proper information. They have a responsibility to share information they get to his or her coworkers at their branch.
– Disseminate positive and optimistic news and information internally through all channels, phone, intranet, internal newsletter, and so on.
– Make a internal consolidation, so all of the employee can be a “spoke person” – with the same voice – for the company, especially they, who directly interact face to face with the customer.
Evaluation: effectiveness of this program can be evaluated by analyzing turnover rate and performance of the employee, and consumer satisfaction.
4. Communication with the customer
Maybe it is not the right time to get new customer. In fact, Bank Indonesia freeze the customer raising activity. But, of course we have to maintain Citibank loyal customer’s trust.
Objective: maintain consumer trust; ensure their fund will be safe with Citibank, vanish public fear (especially for card holder to face the debt collector) and uncertainity.
– Optimalization of customer services to provide an explanation desired by the customer.
– give information to the customer that their fund will be safe with Citibank. Ctiibank will protect all the customer and all the risk and loss will be take by Citibank. (via website, personal email, telephone, letter, or newsletter)
Budget: Rp. 50.000.000
– Print newsletter for the customer and sending all to their address, to disseminate general information about what was happen, and try to get back their trust. This newsletter will also give information of phone number, email address, and any channel they can use to look for information.
– Give information through all possible channel to inform the consumer about how banks work, especially in terms of credit card payment (and give proper information about the relations between bank and debt collector).
– provides a special staff to handle the interaction room with customer at Citibank website during crisis
– provides a special staff to handle customer service telephone line during crisis
Evaluation: effectiveness of this program can be evaluated by analyzing complaints or questions that go tocustomer service line, and see the loyality of customer from the number of people who withdraw their fund at the Citibank comprises them who remain become Citibank customer.
Smith, Ronald D., 2008, Strategic Planning for Public Relations, New Jersey, p. 8)
Fern – Bank, (2007) Crisis Communication: A Casebook approach (p.8)
http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/twin-nightmares-for-citibank-indonesia/433085 diunduh pada 5 april 2011