Robert Kivimäe, the head of Holm’s Partnerships Department, says that for him the bank has been a veritable wonderland in which good ideas can always be turned into reality. “There’s very little red tape to get in your way, so if an idea has merit, you can just take initiative and execute it, or get your colleagues on board and launch the project together,” he smiles.
Robert joined the bank five years ago with no background in the world of finance. “It was pretty daunting, but at the same time a really exciting challenge,” he says. “I took up a position with the Partnerships Department, which is the bank’s Sales Department by any other name, and was immediately handed responsibility for finding, and then retaining, new clients among stores and chains.”
One aspect this involved was making sure it was easy for these new partners to offer their clients the Liisi hire purchase service. Once Robert had the measure of the basics, he started to see ways of making the technical solutions being offered to clients even better – one of which he developed during his first couple of years with the bank and which he is still very proud of today.
“The idea came to me as I was talking to my clients and hearing about the technical bottlenecks they were encountering in their everyday work,” he explains. “We’ve since expanded the principle behind it to other products and developed it to the point where applying for hire purchase, and for that matter applying for all of the other services Holm offers, can now be done entirely paper-free on a smart device. The same goes for entering into contracts. I’m extremely honoured I had a hand in such a major development.”
Robert is inspired in his day-to-day work by the fact that every project and every interaction with his colleagues and partners teaches him something new, which in turn generates new ideas. “It’s a great feeling when projects you’ve poured yourself into start bearing fruit and paying off for the company as a whole,” he says. “I often hear people throwing around statements like ‘Hire purchase is so last century!’, but it really isn’t – it’s kept up with the times and people’s expectations of it. In the best case scenario it’s even been a step ahead of them.”
Robert’s own career, like those of a number of his colleagues, reflects the fact that development in Holm takes place both vertically and horizontally. “You pick up new skills and jump from one department to another, which brings a lot of variety to what you do,” he explains. “It never gets boring. Plus you get the chance to lead teams and decide on the direction a department will take, encouraging and supporting the people you’re working with as you go. I’ve always thought really highly of my colleagues in Holm. They’ve always got your back, no matter what the situation, and I try to match that – to support my team, and everyone else in the company.”
The most recent change to Robert’s duties has seen him shift from dealing with partners all the time to interacting almost entirely in-house. “Since I’d learned so much about hire purchase in the course of my work, the logical next step for me was to take the reins in the department when they were offered to me,” he explains. “It was a great honour to see that my contribution was valued so highly and that they saw the potential in me to do what I’m now doing.”
Although he is still getting to know the unfamiliar facets and challenges of his new position, Robert says this presents a wealth of opportunities to develop the way the department goes about its work and take it in the direction he feels is right for it. “I’m really feeling the benefit of the almost five years I spent here working on partner relationships,” he reveals. “They have taught me about what puts a smile on my colleagues’ and partners’ faces and which problems are obstacles for them, and from that I’m able to help come up with solutions that are as good as they can possibly be. What I like most about my new post is the sheer range of things it involves, but that’s also the biggest challenge it presents. There’s never a dull moment!”
Posti 30, 90504 Haapsalu