SCOTTSDALE, Ariz -- The Automotive Dealership Institute(ADI)’s recent Automotive Lending Workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, drew high-ranking financial executives from 11 banks throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Entitled Creating a Competitive Advantage in the Auto Financing Market for Tomorrow, ADI’s fourth international automotive finance workshop was presented to the The Banking Academy, a subsidiary of The Asian Banker. Participants hailed from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Philippines, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. A diploma was awarded to every participant upon successful completion of the three-day intensive program.

The workshop was led by ADI’s Director of International Programs, Professor Marguerite Watanabe. Drawing on her extensive experience in automotive finance, Watanabe identified the trends, challenges and opportunities in today’s automotive finance arena. Participants were given a comprehensive understanding of best practices in sales, marketing and operations, as well as a thorough overview of risk management and other key success factors.

With such a diverse audience, the focus on international best practices and strategies was of the utmost importance. Attendees also participated in numerous interactive roundtable sessions, during which bank and country-specific business were explored. For many participants, this spirit of international cooperation was one of the most rewarding aspects of the workshop.

“While we discovered many differences among our countries, we also found that there are just as many similarities,” recalls Yasser Kashkash, head of the Automotive Finance Leasing Division at National Commerce Bank of UAE, “The discovery process was incredibly worthwhile for me personally and professionally.”

In light of the overwhelming response, the Banking Academy has already requested additional workshops from ADI, the first of which will take place in Dubai this November. This is thanks to the large number of Middle Eastern countries represented at this latest program.

A second workshop, to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, is slated for early next Spring. However, several of the participants in this latest ADI-Banking Academy workshop, anxious to hone their competitive edge in the international marketplace, have requested private in-house consultations at their banks with Professor Watanabe and ADI’s Dean of Education, Arzu Algan. Preliminary agreements are already in place for consultations in Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Bodrum (Turkey).

“This was the first Asian Banker workshop to have such a diverse Middle Eastern presence,” reports Watanabe, “It made the participants’ exchange of ideas especially fascinating.”

“I truly believe it is always important to get this outside view in order to grow and prosper as a business,” says Bindu Nair, chief credit policy officer at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, “This session was very valuable in allowing me to study the trends of the industry and lean new ways of improving my business.”