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Bank of New Zealand

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Daranee Bolger

Some of the most important skills are being able to get on with people, a hunger to learn and being open to new experiences.

What's your job about?

BNZ is a retail, business, private, and institutional bank. I work in BNZ Partners where we have two people, myself as a Senior Associate and a Partner who is the main relationship manager, looking after a portfolio of commercial clients. We help their business with day to day banking and all of their lending needs - anything new business acquisitions, purchasing commercial assets, foreign exchange and cash flow needs.

I look after the day-to-day banking maintenance for each of our clients' banking needs as well as write credit papers for when we want to get money out the door. For example, if we have a ‘New to Bank’ client we might start out by meeting the owners and directors of the business and visit their premises (could be anything from a scrap metal yard, an early childhood business, a group of vineyards, retirement village, food importer and distributor). After we’ve met them, we’ll discuss how we can help them and what their banking needs are. If they are a car sale business: Do they need help funding all of the cars in their yard? If they import and distribute: do they need help paying for their products overseas before they arrive in New Zealand and they can sell them? Do they have a gap between receiving money from selling products and needing to pay their staff? We then assess the business, management team and importantly, financial information and their ability to be able to repay any debt we give them. After this, we write a paper encompassing everything the business does and needs and then seek approval from our credit team. 

What's your background?

I grew up in Wellington and went to Hutt Valley High School then, spent four years at Otago. The first six months of my final year was on exchange in France (highly recommend if your degree allows it!). I had six more months after this back at university and knew I wanted to go travelling after I finished my degree so didn’t make any plans.

I found a job at the Education Council of Aotearoa through a recruitment agency and spent six months there to make money before doing India, South East Asia and Europe for the second half of the year. During my time at the Education Council, it sort of dawned on me I wanted to get some good work experience in New Zealand. I didn’t want to get trapped in a cycle of work for six months then travel for six months and rinse and repeat for the next ten years. I was also keen to have something lined up for when I finished travelling (I knew I’d have less than zero dollars by the time I got back).

I found the BNZ grad job online and thought I’d give it a go and apply. 
After getting back from travelling I spent six weeks at the Ministry of Education (again through a recruiter) to make back some money before having a couple of NZ summer months off before moving up to Auckland to start at BNZ.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely. BNZ, in particular, is pretty open to grads with a diverse background - some of the graduates that I started with came into the bank with science degrees and have done really well! As important as some knowledge in finance and business is a lot of what we do on the job is taught from day dot. Some of the most important skills are being able to get on with people, a hunger to learn and being open to new experiences. If you want a job, apply for it.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Meeting clients is for sure the coolest thing about the job. When you meet someone that’s built a company up from the ground and is so, so passionate about what their business does and stands for definitely stands out. Remember this business might be one of 30 you look after, but they live and breathe it 24/7. You’re also working so hard for your clients to help build and manage these businesses. It’s cool when you can put faces to names. It’s always a good feeling getting final approval from credit after so much hard work to write a deal.

What are the limitations of your job?

In my role, having only two people looking after your portfolio means a lot of responsibility does fall on you. Although as part of a wider team, there are experts in almost everything. You just have to find them.

Banking is an ever-changing world of regulations which means you are always having to keep up with policy - it’s not a job you can learn in a week and sit back and relax for the next year. But it doesn’t get boring and you aren’t watching the clock pining for something to do which is a plus. 

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do after university – if you need to take some time to figure it out go for it but the first job isn’t your only job.

Give something a go (make sure it’s a good go) but there is always room for movement within your organisation especially if you’re at a reasonably sized one.

If you want a job, apply for it. It doesn’t matter what it is.