Dear Ibank- Please I will love all bankers to read this (pt2)

Fashion home!
Continued from previous post:

There was no need thinking of any other world aside this one she was into. At 28, she was a Banking Officer (BO) meaning that if she continued at this pace she could be an Assistant Manager by 30. However, after these two successive promotions, Madam Fel didn’t see another till she was 35 and at that time, had just jumped banks. This had been the trend until this period when I have come to meet her here. I sighed and shook my head in disbelief after listening to her. I decided not to make same mistakes and even promised to quit my job entirely if I don’t get promoted after a minimum of 2 years. Nine months into my job, I was driving my brand new piccanto car which I was able to buy through the car loan offer presented to staff members. The payment plan was awesome as I was given 3.5 years repayment period. You see? I already had a bad start without knowing it. Indirectly, my next 4years had been caged in that bank and if I was even to leave for another job, I would have to pay down immediately the outstanding or have my loan converted to a commercial loan. As a staff, one could get a bank loan at a lower rate different from the supposed rate. A commercial loan runs at the default interest rate applicable and I wasn’t ready for that.

credit: istock

Unlike Madam Fel, my 10 years in banking started and ended in GTB. It was great an experience working in GTB. The bank and its team of Executive Management was wonderful. They had a unique way of driving one to do more and achieve the best result always. The staff members were awesome and everyone was family. I will actually recommend the bank for any fresher in banking. It is a good ground to learn. However, what I will not recommend for any banker are these salient observations I made while a banker as well as certain mistakes I made.

After my second year, my aim became to just work for another 2 years so as to pay down the car loan and quit. I became so frustrated, the job was too demanding and I had lost interest. I just needed to quit and move on with my life (besides, it has never been my in plan to be a banker). The risky thing about this kind of feeling is that you will become uninterested to work. And when this happens, you become an enemy to yourself and the job. You will lose interest in the job and instead of being part of those to drive the bank’s vision, you will fight it. At this point, you will notice that any new policy of the bank becomes useless and worthless to you. You will complain at every given task/responsibility from the bank. You will become a fault/problem finder other than the solver. Gradually, you will build a team of like minds; those that always talk down on the bank at the slightest opportunity. The moment this starts to happen, just know that you are about to hit the rock bottom of your banking career; I WAS THERE.

Thankfully, the long awaited 2 years came, staring me in the face and asking me to pay down my loan. I graciously did and for the first time in 3 years, I received my full salary the following month since there were no more deductions. Wow! This felt good. So I could actually go home in a month with this much salary undistorted by any loan deduction? I asked myself. At this point, I charged myself to start saving. If I could save 70% of my salary for the next 6 months, I would be able to resign in December with some good monies in my savings. This became the new target; to earn my salary and save for the next 6 months before calling it quit. I did this judiciously for 5 months; it was easy for me since I lived with my parents and didn’t have to bother myself with a lot of expense. By November I had in my savings, what could qualify me as a millionaire. I was super excited with this development and was beginning to think that if I do this for a few more months, I will be way richer than I am.

Why am I in a rush to resign self? If I resign what will I be doing? Besides, people say the grass is not greener on the other side, is it not just best I manage this one God has given me and just grow my savings without stress, if I meet my target or not, I will still be paid by month end and my savings will grow atleast till they choose to sack me. I thought to myself. We were already in December; the month when I was supposed to resign but having thought about it carefully, there was no need any longer. In fact the bank had released a transfer list and I was to be transferred .I was going to a new branch by January the following year. This new status was actually in line with the theme for my church for that year. ‘A year of new beginning’. At this time, I had promised myself to turn a green leaf. I will take my job more seriously and since it was a new branch, I will give it my all. This became the new drive. The hustle this time was more real than ever. Starting off in a new branch with no balance sheet meant that we had to work two times harder than the usual. Six months into the year, the branch was still struggling to come out of a loss position and at this time, instead of getting better, we sunk deeper in loss. ”Quite shameful of you all, after years of experience and working in this state, you all want to tell me that you don’t where to go or who to meet to grow our deposits?”  The Group Head yelled during our half year strategic meeting.

I became confused again (this is normal with most bankers; CONFUSION). Should I have just left in December instead of facing this constant embarrassment which is beginning to make one look useless? I thought to myself. Besides, I can’t even see any meaningful savings that I have been able to make from December to date especially now that I have moved out of my parents’ house for proximity sake. This felt like starting afresh with life. Certain expenses have set in and now I need to remain in this work to survive and not just to save. This became the new twist to my banking career until the very moment when again I made up my mind and this time, was able to resign.

Now these are the lessons I need EVERY BANKER out there to learn.
·         Start your banking career with the end in my mind. Please have a plan- This is not too late to set no matter how long you have been in the sector. About 55 percent of bankers in Nigeria currently are only there due to lack of a better option. It is not bad to be there for lack of option but have a time frame for which you should be there. As a fresher, have a plan; know how long you want to be there and if it is a career you intend to grow for a life time, still have a progress plan and work towards. It could be very discouraging and distracting working so long on a particular position without promotion. Most times when this happens, the law of diminishing return sets in, so do not be a victim.

·         The banking sector is full of loads of opportunities. It is the best meeting point for preparedness and opportunities and the best way for you to meet and make good use of the opportunities this sector provides is by being the best at what you are doing. Many Commisioners, Governors, Ministers and many other decision making persons today were bankers who were called upon at one time because a certain person saw and admired their skill. It is when you do your best that you sell yourself. Learn to develop a good relationship with your customers and colleagues. Ensure that your relationship with these customers extends beyond just banking. Always establish a rapport with your customers as long as it remains MORAL and LEGAL.

·         The banking job has a stylish way of stealing your youth life and your social life. Always ensure that no matter what happens, you maintain a very good relationship with your relatives and friends especially those ones you had before joining the bank. Always ensure the class of people you have around you most times. If most your circle of friends is dominated by just bankers, then know that you are not doing well enough if your social life. Make conscious effort to cut across all areas of life.
·         DO NOT LIVE ON BANK LOAN. Loan is a good thing depending on what it is intended for. However, if you are taking a bank loan to furnish life style, then you are making a big mistake. Many people who did that (customers and staff) never get to have a good story to tell. Always ensure that as a banker, you are in a position where you can leave whenever you choose to without having fear of anything holding you back.

·         Except you have chosen banking as a permanent career path, always have a date to quit. Even when you choose banking as a permanent career path, there should be the stage or age you aim to quit. As a banker, we all wanted to quit after 5 years but the reality is different. Do not just put a span because others are doing so, let it be in line with your own life plans. Nobody says you cannot quit after 2years or 5 years or 10 years. No matter how long you choose to be there, ensure you have a plan and it is in line with your plan.

·         DO NOT ALLOW THE SYSTEM THINK FOR YOU. This point was highlighted because of its effect in the life of many bankers. I know you may want to say that every organization has a way of thinking for its employees but trust me, in the banking sector, your life will be taken off you and replaced entirely with another. Always be in a position where you can make use of your brain. Learn to think outside the box. Thinking outside the box in this case puts you in the position of balancing yourself with the world out there. Stay in touch with the real world. I once imagined how it is that I was being paid to chase other people’s money while they were chasing their money. This is the best definition of a marketer in the bank. A bank marketer is a person who is paid to chase the money of people who are chasing their own money. I started to have a re-think the moment I established that this what my life as a bank marketer was all about. And this advice should go to banks also; they need to be more professional towards the discharge of their duties. Banks now encourage their staff to do emotional appeal to their customers in other to lure them to the bank. Gone are the days were you see a sound banker speaking to you about your business or about the economy and giving your professional advice on what to do. These days, all they say is that they are about to get sacked and all those guilt tripping please

·         On a final note, remember that your salary is the bribe they give you to forget your dreams