Pascal Gauthier joined NIB in June as Director and Head of the Country & Competitiveness Analysis Unit within the Credit and Analysis Department. According to him, NIB, with its public ownership and private sector business approach, has an important role in supporting competitiveness also in unsteady times.
What is your professional background?
"I came to NIB from Canada where I worked for five years in commercial banking at TD Bank in Toronto. By training I am an economist but I have also been heavily involved in risk management and business planning."
You have both an academic and a business background. Is NIB a good fit for you taking into consideration your professional background?
"For me it was a very good fit as NIB, as I see it, operates in a hybrid space between the private and public sector, being owned by the governments while operating with a private sector approach, in both business operations and management. So I felt very comfortable stepping into the organisation. My academic background gives me the tools to do country analysis on macroeconomics as well as the country risk side and the competitiveness."
Is it different working for an IFI rather than a commercial bank?
"I would say the main difference is one of scale. NIB is small but the activity per person is quite large. I am used to an environment where a small unit serves large needs. The fact that the lending activity is geared to a specific purpose and mission was an attractive dimension for joining the Bank, as well as the possibility to participate in the development and strengthening of the two-pronged mandate. Not only that the Bank has this mandate but that I will be directly participating in refining it and achieving the high levels set by our owners."
How do you see that the two parts of the NIB's mandate can be best combined?
"We look at the competitiveness side, or you could say the productivity side, on the individual company level, within an industry, and for larger infrastructure projects also at the national or even regional, member country level. We aim at enhancing and generating sustainable growth. This means in particular that we would think differently of investments in natural resources where there is a strong environmental component and that we would not tend to rate very highly projects that boost growth just for a few years but rather, enhance long-term prosperity in nations knowing that it is really related to the productivity of the employees, which, again, is very much related to education, the quality of the social infrastructure and the sophistication of the business practice. Our focus is to link economic growth and environmental sustainability."
Do you have some views on what role NIB can play in financially unsteady times?
"As a financial intermediate NIB has a role to play on the macro level, and more precisely on a customer level. When there is a need for financing but the climate is such that it dies out even for the good credits and customers, then there is arguably a need for institutions like NIB. Succeeding during a financial and economic downturn requires management of customer relations by thinking of the big picture rather than just their near-term bottom line.
The ability for economies to rebound and for firms to weather a difficult economic environment is an illustration of competitiveness. Those who survive are ready to take advantage of the next growth period.
As long as there is demand for projects and investments which we know can be beneficial in the long-term, we should be there to supply that credit. And if we can do that, we can partially offset the contractions in the private sector. That is an important role, and a tool not every region or every country has at its disposal."
NIB and Finland’s state property management agency Senaatti-kiinteistöt have signed loan agreement to finance investments in governmental offices and a research centre.
19 Jun 2013
NIB has opened a loan programme for small and medium-sized enterprises in eastern, northern and central Finland.
18 Jun 2013
The financial information on the period of January-April 2013 is now available.
17 Jun 2013