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Joshua Thunig

Joshua Thunig

Risk Seeker
March 2017 | By Joshua Thunig

Risk, put simply, is the effect of uncertainty on objectives; and for banks, risk is unavoidable.

It’s how banks do business.

So understanding risks and applying appropriate controls is the best way to keep the business running efficiently. Trying to avoid all risk just isn’t possible and is actually counter-productive!

Following an 11 month stint in the Credit team, my next rotation took me to the Operational Risk team. It was great to start in a new area of the business, an area that was of particular interest to me. Operational Risk focusses on ensuring the business has the appropriate safeguards in place against any adverse risks that could happen. For example, Rural Bank has developed plans for when a natural disaster affects our ability to service customers. By doing this sort of work before the actual event happens, the Bank helps to lower the chance of disruption to the customer’s banking needs./p>

So far, I have been tasked with researching potential data risks that exist in the business, helping facilitate business unit risk meetings where we identify and document risks, conduct daily fraud checks, and assist in reviewing policies. And while it might sound dry as you read it, and at times it can be, I am finding the work rewarding and quite enjoyable!

During these past 12 months I have looked at loan applications, improved the bank’s Hindsight Review process, provided market analysis for Relationship Managers, managed valuation requests, and so much more.

Doing risk tasks is very much a group effort, you’re relying on subject matter experts, Risk Business Partners and execs for guidance and specific information about how their business unit operates. Working in team environments really resonates with me, it’s a great way to see different perspectives and helps you to understand why people do what they do.

My Risk rotation continues until late May.

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One Year with Rural Bank
December 2016 | By Joshua Thunig

As I write this blog it has been exactly one year since I started my graduate program with Rural Bank. Where has the year gone? Do years usually go by this quickly?

Anniversaries are a good time to reflect on what you have achieved and gauge what it means for the future. When I think about what I have learnt and achieved over the past 12 months, I remind myself that when I started I had never been employed in a full-time capacity and had limited knowledge of farming and banking. I was a mostly shy and reserved person who was excited and a little scared of what was to come.

While I am still excited about working for the bank and developing my skills, I am definitely not afraid to get involved and challenge myself. I am now a more confident person.

And it’s hard to comprehend how much I’ve learnt too. From understanding workplace values, reporting, policies and procedures, farming practices, workplace values, financial analysis, applications, and then remembering all the acronyms that exist in the business! The graduate program has allowed me to understand all of this and more.

But perhaps the most satisfying part of my graduate program has been the opportunity to contribute back to the business as I learn.

During these past 12 months I have looked at loan applications, improved the bank’s Hindsight Review process, provided market analysis for Relationship Managers, managed valuation requests, and so much more.

Taking on these projects and getting involved in the thick of it has resulted in the most growth for me.

Every day I am thankful of the opportunity I have been given, and I continue to want to show my worth to the business.

I finish my rotation in Credit at the end of the year before I take on my next rotation in Risk late January.

Happy holidays everyone!

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Credit Crunch
19 September 2016 | By Joshua Thunig

I am currently working with the Adelaide Credit team as part of a 12 month rotation. The Credit team are in the thick of the banks operations. They mainly review loan applications for property purchases, livestock purchases, equipment finance and refinances. This is done by checking financials, livestock schedules, crop projections, security, insurance, and so on.

It’s very much core banking knowledge, which I’m sure will prove valuable throughout my career.

As part of my rotation I have been required to undertake training to use the AgriBank System; a computer program that allows users to create, submit and review credit applications. It was very reassuring to know that I wasn’t going to be thrown in the deep end without having some training provided! The system was daunting at first but I have the hang of it now.

I have had the opportunity to assess loan applications and bounce off a few of the Credit team members who’ve guided me through to credit process. While I can’t approve any deals, it’s been quite interesting looking at loan applications and trying to work out whether they are sound or not.

Early on it was difficult to gauge what to look for, but with practice I have been able to ‘connect the dots’ and identify what good applications look like.

In between looking at loan applications, I am kept busy compiling monthly reports used for committee meetings, and collecting various data and analysing the results to help adjust policy.

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Bats, Grads and a statue of Monroe
28 June 2016 | By Joshua Thunig

Before I started my rotation within the Credit team, I travelled to Bendigo to meet the Rural Finance and Bendigo Bank teams and learn about the requirements for my new role in Credit.

Even though it’s a regional city, Bendigo has a lot to offer. The food scene was impressive, with many diverse restaurants lining the streets, and finding out about the amount of festivals that the city hosted every year showed that Bendigo had plenty to do. I was lucky enough to see an 8-metre statue of Marilyn Monroe, promoting an exhibition in her honour, in the city centre. The statue weighed 15 tonnes and always seemed to have a crowd snapping up pictures.

Walking through the beautiful Rosalind Park and seeing the bats fly around was a surreal experience that helped to make the trip even more memorable.

In the Rural Finance office I met the team, including my fellow graduates. I really enjoyed talking to them about their experiences so far and what was ahead for them. Since we had all roughly been through the same hiring process and induction to the business, we related well to each other, which helped build rapport. The chats quashed the idea that I was the only one experiencing certain challenges at times. It really reinforced the belief in my own capabilities.

In between meeting the graduates, I was getting a rundown of the work I’d be doing in Credit. It meant I had a lot of time to ask questions and understand exactly what I’d be doing. This was a unique way of easing me into the next rotation.

While we do have access to good communication tools, like video conferencing, with the business split over many different locations throughout Australia, it’s very important to make the most of face-to-face meet ups when they arise.

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Partner Management Placement
8 April 2016 | By Joshua Thunig

For me, the first three months of the graduate program involved a placement within the Partner Management team, which is a really unique team who are involved in nearly every aspect of the bank’s operations. With Rural Bank’s unique distribution model, the Partner Management team focus on fostering relationships with our channel partners, Elders, and the Bendigo Bank and Community Bank® network to support business growth.

My role was quite analytical at times, ranging from forecasting new settlements monthly for Elders to conducting market analysis in Gippsland to determine opportunities available to Community® Bank branches.

During the three month stint, I was also part of a team assigned to update an intranet page. This gave me a chance to get a little creative and design what the page would look like!

I wasn’t just in the office all the time as I was also able to go on the road a couple of times and shadow a relationship manager for a day. Having direct customer interaction help me to understand why the bank exists and how we can further improve our customer service.

I thoroughly enjoyed this rotation as no day was the same with new and exciting projects always popping up. The variation in the work was the most surprising aspect of it all and it meant that the three months went by very quickly with plenty to learn!

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On rotation
By Joshua Thunig

Hello. My name is Joshua Thunig and I have recently joined Rural Bank as a Finance Graduate. A bit of background about myself – I grew up in rural South Australia (Berri, Meningie, Lucindale, Orroroo and Edithburgh) before I moved to Adelaide to study Economics and Commerce (International Business) at the University of Adelaide.

After graduating in the middle of last year, I rewarded myself by going to the UK and Eastern Europe for a month. Highlight for me was seeing the Scottish Highlands – I have never seen more beautiful scenery before!

Staying in Adelaide was very important for me, so applying for the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Graduate Program was at the top of my list, particularly with the Rural Bank head office being based in Adelaide. Also, living in rural South Australia and having completed an internship with PIRSA (Primary Industries and Regions South Australia) that focused on achieving benchmarking standards for South Australian seed potato producers, I felt as though I had something in common with Rural Bank’s purpose and vision.

I’ve recently embarked on a two-year graduate program with the Bank. Over this time, I will be rotating to different parts of the business. I have just finished my first rotation with Partner Management, a team that manages the Bank’s working relationship with its distribution partners. I’m now one month into my time with the Credit team learning about how lending applications are assessed and approved and, early next year, I will start work with the Risk team, gaining an understanding of operational and credit risk and regulatory and compliance requirements.  

What appealed to me most when I applied was Rural Bank’s sole focus on farm lending, which brings a great point of difference to the customer through tailored products and expertise. Farmers aren’t just talking to a banker, they’re working with someone who actually understands their business and can provide specific knowledge and support.

I’m really excited to share my experience with you. Next week, I’ll talk about my first rotation in Partner Management.

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