Off to a flying start right after graduation


2020 Graduate Talent

Relationship Manager

Corporate Banking

Teamwork on Loan Card Report Project
Hi, I’m Celia. I joined OCBC Wing Hang China in 2020 through the Graduate Talent Programme (GTP) straight out of university. I started in the Risk Department. During the first two years under GTP programme, I rotated in various departments in the Bank, which gives me a broad sense of the Bank's different products and business lines. On the other hand, I participated in several risk projects where I worked with excellent colleagues and deepened my understanding of risk management. I transferred to the Corporate Banking Department through the IJP programme in 2022, and started the new journey to achieve my career goals.

Love at first sight

Most graduates relate stories of scary interviews, but mine was fantastic! Andy Wang, the Operational Risk Management Head of China and Eng Siong, Global Corporate Banking (GCB) head for China interviewed me. Their personalities and the culture of the Bank instantly attracted me. You wouldn’t usually expect to learn things through interviews, but I learnt a lot through the Assessment Centre Group Interview at OCBC, where Eng Siong and Andy gave feedback on the spot for our case study. The panel interview afterwards was more like chatting with old friends where we shared a lot of discussions and aspirations. After the interview, I had already decided to join OCBC Bank. Of course, I was ecstatic when I received the offer!

Great expectations, fantastic opportunities
It’s been great being an OCBC graduate talent (GT). There are great expectations placed on a GT but at the same time, it was a fantastic opportunity at the start of my career. I was exposed to more challenges and given more tasks right from the start. The learning curve was very steep. A week after joining, I was put on a project. Back then, I was so overwhelmed and doubted if I really could handle it. But it turned out to be a success with all the support and guidance I received along the way. Another fantastic part of the GTP is that I made a lot of friends. We were all fresh graduates who shared similar backgrounds and we all started from the same point, and we were so happy to have peers to grow with together and cheer for each other’s achievements. My seniors are very nice and supportive, and I can always ask them questions related to career path and even personal advice.

Becoming a relationship manager

During my job rotation, I discovered I wanted to be a risk approver. However, after conferring with my bosses, I realized it would not be wise to jump right into that role without first working as a relationship manager. The first-hand experience working with customers and understanding their needs would be an invaluable asset. In July 2022, I applied for a job as a relationship manager through the Bank’s Internal Job-Posting Programme (IJP). After much thought, I accepted the role of a relationship manager in the Chinese Corporate team, in the Global Corporate Banking (GCB) department.

The Loan Card Report Project

In July 2022, we started a project to digitalize and visualize the customer Loan Card Report of the People’s Bank of China (PBO the central bank of China). PBOC maintains Loan Card Reports for every individual and corporate customer in China, which collects and consolidates credit information from all local banks.

If an individual or entity applies for any bank credit product, for example, a credit card or a loan, the Loan Card Report will keep the record of their lines and repayment history. It’s an important report which we are required to reference for each one of our customers for onboarding, the transaction itself and the post-transaction review. It holds all the customers’ information and their historical records like overdue loan repayments, outstanding payments, or financial facilities received from any other bank.

Teamwork to streamline

The Loan Card Report is usually very long, usually over 200 pages and get this, in PDF format! We had to reference it for every single customer transaction. The workload was heavy because as a PDF, we could only “eye-screen” the report. The process was laborious, backbreaking and it was easy to miss information. Rather than be resigned to our fate, we saw this as a wonderful opportunity to innovate. Our resourceful team converted this PDF into Excel, which consolidated the data, so we could easily find and filter information. We even came up with intuitive charts, such as cash flow projections, to visualise the data. These summaries helped risk approvers and relationship managers spot risk alerts at one glance.

The project was initiated by the business banking division as we used it the most! We collaborated with colleagues from IT department and the risk department. The Credit risk approvers provided a lot of insights in building the logic to spot early warning signs for our analysis. The IT group helped out with process issues such as downloading and disseminating the reports. The most important group was from the GCB data analysis team based in Singapore. We received heaps of technical support from them as their data specialists were excellent at extracting data from PDF to populate into Excel. These three teams collaborated seamlessly to build this tool together.

Communicate to overcome

The overall experience was meaningful and memorable. Everyone communicated, cooperated and collaborated effectively together. We conducted a lot of research, including evaluating other banks’ final reports, and realized we could do better. There misunderstanding or conflicts were minimal, because we were crystal clear about what we wanted at the end. Clear communication was key to our successful teamwork. For example, as relationship managers, we provided various scenarios and illustrations upfront to the Data Analytics team to avoid repetitive work later.

Jumping a hurdle together

There was one problem that we never expected! You would have never guessed that Excel versions would become a big issue. The Excel versions used in Singapore and China were different, and the tool compliance is different between countries as well. We didn’t realize this until the first stage of the developed tool from the Singapore team was completed. It only came up when we proceeded to test the sample tool locally in China. The deadline was fast approaching. Just when we thought things were ending well, we had to call an emergency meeting.

It was a massive shock, but my team remained calm and carried on decoupling and testing the process to come up with several alternate solutions. We also found the most efficient solution and managed to catch up with the progress. The moment the tool finally achieved full accuracy with every test affirmed, we all yelled out simultaneously in pure joy! We resolved all these within two days. The teamwork was stellar. This project improved our efficiency by 60-70%!

A relationship for life
I’ve enjoyed each day at OCBC Bank. The culture is a big factor. The bosses are very nice, the organization is not hierarchical, and the Bank paid attention to employees from all angles. They not only care about the work but also how we can do it better and how it contributes to our career path. Our China CEO always said is that his door is always open to everyone. Anyone can walk in and tell him anything that’s on their minds! This kind of culture is very rare. The combination of an open culture, challenging environment and supportive people is a space that I can stay in for a long time—even for life!