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Banker Credits Golf for Success

A lifelong sports lover, Kamrul Hasan Khan has seamlessly blended his passion for athleticism with a distinguished career in banking. From his early days spinning tops and flying kites to excelling in cricket and badminton, his sporting spirit has driven his professional journey. With over two decades of experience in the banking industry, including significant roles at Eastern Bank PLC, HSBC, Prime Bank, and Mutual Trust Bank, he now serves as the Deputy Managing Director & Chief Business Officer of Modhumoti Bank PLC. In an engaging conversation, he shares insights into his professional path, the transformative impact of golf on his life, and the strategic parallels between sports and banking.

Banker Credits Golf for Success

Could you tell us something about you and your professional journey?
I would like to describe myself as a sports lover since my very childhood and I did play all available sports around me. Be it spinning a Top, Flying Kites, playing Dangguli, Shatchara, Marbles, Football, Badminton, Cricket, Table Tennis, Lone Tennis, and Swimming. Interestingly, I used to be a decent player in all the sports I played. I understand my attitude towards sports along with the atmosphere I grew up helped me to love sports a lot. My School and the Locality that I grew up in, had a great sporting culture which helped forming my sporting attitude. In my childhood, I was punished at home a lot of times for being so obsessed with sports and not doing enough justice to my studies. To me, Sports is a great way to stay connected and build new relationships. I did my undergrad in Pune, India and I was living in an apartment of a housing society in Pune along with a few of my friends. There also we become so much a part of them through sports. I used to play in their cricket team and eventually, all of us became a part of their people.

My professional career started as a Management Trainee Officer at Eastern Bank PLC.where I worked for ten years. Then I moved out to HSBC, Bangladesh and worked for six years. I also worked in two other Private Commercial Banks, Prime Bank and Mutual Trust Bank for the next five years. Currently, I am working as the Deputy Managing Director & Chief Business Officer of Modhumoti Bank PLC.

Banker Credits Golf for SuccessWhen did you start golfing and who introduced you to the game?
Back in 2015, one of my teammatesat HSBC, Mr. Rais Uddin Siddique started playing Golf and when we used to visit one of our customers, Mr. Mostafa Tanveer Palash who was a keen golfer, they would always talkabout golf with all their excitement which made me curious about this game. One day we both went to Mr. Palash and as usual, they started speaking about golf and asked me to start playing the game. I said I don’t have my golf set to start with. At that very moment, Palash Bhai surfed Amazon and found a Taylormade golf set for me. I bought that set online and somehow managed to bring that to Bangladesh. I started going to the driving range ofthe Army Golf Club (AGC) with my new set and took some lessons from a Pro for around one month. I then started playing on the course. I still can recall the first day on the course at AGC when two of my first shots went out of bounds to Airport Road and I became extremely frustrated. But at the next hole, I made a Birdy. Since then Golf has become a part of my life and I enjoy playing this game a lot.

Golf is often considered a game of strategy and precision. Can you discuss how these attributes translate to your role in banking, particularly in decision-making and risk management?
Every sport has its own strategy and level of precision; however, the main difference in golf isthat,unlike many team sports, golf is eccentric. Most of the time, you play against yourself to try to beat your previous record. This makes it a lot of fun to work hard and try to do better than the last time you played. To win in any other game you need to defeat the opponent but due to the scoring system in golf, you need to defeat yourself meaning doing better than your par score. One more unique feature of the game is you can even play this game alone.
It is very important to have a game strategy and for every hole you play, one needs to plan the course and then play the shots choosing the right club according to their ability.
What golf has helped me in my personal and professional life is that it taught me that it does not matter how well or bad you start, you always have the next chance to come back on track. You need to be extremely patient and focused on your target. Even if you have a good skill set for any task, the outcome may not always be better; and patience is the key. The last important thing that I feel is good learning for me; it’s just a game therefore enjoy it.

What is the best thing about golf?
Before starting golf I often used to think that this might be a boring sport, however, I now feel this is a very exciting sport. In the context of Dhaka city, this is a genuine privilege to be a golfer and be on a green for four to five hours. Golf is a good exercise, you need to stand on your feet for four to five hours in addition to a. 7/8 kilometers of walk.
Nowadays, we see a lot of ‘Vitamin D’ deficiency related health problems because we have less opportunity to get exposed to the sun; playing golf in the morning helps to cover it up and the game is a great way to release stress and anxiety.

Over the last seven years, I have played with a lot of unknowns who are now good friends; golf helped me make new friends. When my regular golf buddies are not available, one of the easiest ways is to head to the course alone and the Startersetsme up with other players. By the end of the round, I make one or more new connections.
There are many of my corporate customers who play golf and it is a great opportunity to play a round with them. When I visit them in their office it is more of a formal meeting of half an hour, however on the course that same person remains in an informal and sportsman mind, and spending two to five hours with that person makes your relationship stronger.

many of my corporate customers played golf and when I met them on the course it helped me build better relationships with them.

What is your golfing routine?
I am a weekend golfer as on the weekdays it’s quite challenging for me to play due to my office timing. When I play I try to do some stretching exercises before my first tee-off and I take at least one free swing before playing any shot. Sometimes, I go to the Driving Range and hit 25 balls before getting on to the course.

Networking is an essential aspect of both banking and golf. Can you share how your involvement in golfing has helped you build relationships and further your career in banking?
I have been a Corporate Banking professional for most of my career and in all the banks I worked, I had a portfolio to handle where customer relationships had been the key element. Before I started playing golf, I did not know that many of my corporate customers played golf and when I met them on the course it helped me build better relationships with them.

Some of my best friendships and significant stories have happened on the golf course. I found this game brings people together unlike any other sport. Golf has especially been important for me to develop friendships with a lot of new people and connecting them into my network helped me remain updated. If I did not golf, I would never have been lucky enough to meet some very prominent people who have been important to me in growing my career.

What is the best memory you have related to golf?
There are many in the memory lane; however winning the Runner-up trophy inthe Priyo Prangon Golf Tournament 2018, winning Best Gross in the Prime Bank Cup Golf Tournament 2019 and winning the trophy in Bali, Indonesia in 2023 were really special.

Banker Credits Golf for SuccessHow do you handle competition in the banking industry, and what strategies do you employ to stay ahead in a competitive market?
This is a vast topic and has lots of technicality within it. However, competition is a common phenomenon that bank faces daily, especially when we are operating in an industry where there are 60 banks. Competition is inevitable in any business however it needsbetter planning to handle the market and stay ahead. As banking is more of an intermediation business between depositors and borrowers, the lower cost of intermediation and rendering better service will always make the bank confront competition. Greater market competition in the banking industry indeed helps to lower the financial intermediation cost for the banks which eventually helps the customers. There are many other performance parameters on which we take regular stock and review those to stay competitive in the market.

Apart from you is there anybody from your family who is interested in playing Golf?
Yes, both of my sons started playing golf. Since the elder one is now staying abroad for his studies he does not play; the younger one is not very enthusiastic about golf.

How you will influence others to play golf?
Golf is a wonderful game and it has lots of positivity in it and players have a wide variety of motivations for getting into the game. No matter how you end up on the course, golf can be an enjoyable and lifelong sport. Regardless of skill level, you can play with a better player and still, you can win based on your handicap. Even players who are routinely better than their golfing buddies are always competing against themselves. If improvement and learning are major drives in your life, golf will be a game that can be embraced. Golf courses have absolutely beautiful landscapes and greenery with serenity which is very special for anyone living in Bangladesh. In recent times there has been an increased number of population suffering from Vitamin D deficiency and Diabetics; golf can be a better solution to these problems yet entails lots of excitement. There are many travel destinations involving golf and those could be the biggest incentive for starting golf. I keep on spreading the positivity of golf into my surroundings and I found the popularity of this game is increasing gradually in Bangladesh.

Say something about your golfing buddies?
I started golf with one of my childhood friends and a few of my colleagues later became good friends. Now, there are quite a few golf buddies with whom I play regularly.

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