Career Story: Consumer Loan Credit Manager At A Regional Bank

Consumer Loan Credit Manager At A Regional Bank

Job Title: Consumer Loan Credit Manager At A Bank

Type of Company: I work for a state-chartered bank which offers all the usual retail banking services, including investments and payroll.

Education: Husson College (Bangor, ME)

Previous Experience: I worked my way up from an entry-level job as a loan collector and eventually went from assistant manager of the Collections Department to assistant manager of a branch and then to branch manager. I transferred afterwards to the Indirect Lending Department because I liked consumer credit. Today I manage all consumer credit underwriting at a $2 billion financial institution.

Job Tasks: All lending decisions at my bank are done at a centralized location. Branch lenders submit loan applications through computer software and send them to one physical location where my staff and I review the applications for personal loans. We make credit decisions, create loan documents and coordinate loan closings for all 63 of the bank's branches. We are expected to make sure the loans conform to the bank's policies, as well as to state and federal guidelines. Banking is highly regulated and the laws change frequently, so I need to make sure that our lending practices keep pace with the changes in the statutes.

Documentation is our second biggest challenge. There are laws requiring financial institutions to make sure that customers have a clear understanding of the obligations they incur. We try to ensure the documentation is accurate and that the customer has acknowledged his obligation with signatures in all the correct locations in the loan closing package. Carried out responsibly, consumer lending can be a win-win proposition.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is structuring a loan that meets the customer's needs while not putting him or the bank at unnecessary risk.

The worst part of my job is the politics. There are times when a decision has to be made that doesn't fit the guidelines but has to be done due to the public exposure of the bank. As I train the credit analysts on making good credit decisions, it is difficult to explain how to incorporate the political factor.

Job Tips:
1. Make sure to get at least a bachelor's degree at a business college or university. 2. Be willing to start at any level at the business you wish to work for. Too many kids want to be managers on Day One. Leaders in today's business worked hard to get where they are and expect you to do the same. 3. Be outgoing and positive minded. Make friends at all levels. Politics play a huge role in all lines of work.

Additional Thoughts: Find a career that you truly enjoy, no matter how many different directions you may have to go in. I started in banking, switched to automobile financing and then to newspaper sales before returning to banking. Each occupation helped me mature and gave me the experience to be better at what I am today. They all taught me how to deal with controversy and solve various problems. There are many time I think of past experiences when making decisions today. Don't expect to know what your destiny is straight out of college. Don't be in a hurry to get ahead; succeeding takes patience. Otherwise you will face a great deal of frustration and disappointment. Search for what you love and let money play a distant second. You have many working years ahead of you. Although some jobs pay great, you may be miserable in what you are doing. You will spend half of your non-sleeping life at work so choose wisely.

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