Career Case Study: Corporate Banking

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Jennifer Mannila Drumm, Senior vice president, commercial banking, RBS Citizens

Jennifer graduated from Bryant University with a BS in Business Administration, concentration in

Finance. She joined RBS Citizens in October 2001.

As the name suggests, relationship managers in corporate banking need good people skills. In practice, this means persistence, drive and the ability to understand your client’s needs, and how your bank’s capabilities can best serve them.

Relationship managers have overall responsibility for the client relationship, generating new business, understanding a customer’s strategy and goals, but also staying involved during the approval and closing process of a particular transaction.

Credit analyst is a more common position for recent entrants to corporate banking. They assess a company’s ability to repay a loan – this means looking at financial statements, industry prospects, potential competitors and the collateral a firm has.

I started my career as a credit analyst, but it’s been a far from linear path. I’ve made a point over the last 20 years of trying to work in as many lending functions as possible – I’ve focused on real estate, middle market, small businesses, asset-based and cash-flow lending. For a time, I even worked for a private bank.

I think the most successful credit analysts are detail-oriented, numerical and analytical, but they

also need curiosity and the communication skills to ask the right questions to better understand the information in front of them.

When I joined RBS Citizens it was as a senior portfolio manager focusing on the middle market – companies with annual revenue of $25m-500m. This role involves managing the day-to-day relationships with clients, with assistance from the relationship manager, and reviewing the risks and opportunities from the client.

Four years ago, I took a role as a relationship manager, but have recently moved away from

this to run the bank’s training and development programme for commercial banking, which is a great challenge.

The most important thing anyone looking to enter the industry can be is persistent. Do your homework and take the initiative to meet with people at the bank where you want to work, and try to make some industry contacts.

Building your network is very important, whether it’s through your school, alumni association, professional organisations or former co-workers. It’s a highly competitive marketplace right now and anyone interested in working in the corporate banking sector needs to find a way to set themselves apart from the rest.

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