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Friday, 14th August 2020
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Steady increase in corporate banking employment opportunities Back  
Gerry Manning looks at how the diversity of corporate banking allows for varied recruitment opportunities.
AIB corporate banking, part of the Capital Markets division in the AIB Group, provides a comprehensive relationship-based banking service to top-tier companies, financial institutions and Irish commercial state companies through a number of dedicated specialist teams. The corporate banking approach is to work closely with clients to develop sophisticated solutions to complex financial requirements.

Although there are currently people employed in AIB corporate banking across in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Poland and New York - the majority are based in Dublin.

AIB corporate banking differentiates itself in the marketplace through its expertise in relationship management, specialised industry knowledge, and innovation in products and services.

Corporate banking comprises two main areas: relationship banking and transaction Based Lending.
The relationship side of the business is responsible for credit assessment, approval, management and new business acquisition and requires a multi-skilled approach. You have to be a credit analyst, a marketer and be capable of making presentations to existing and prospective customers. In many cases you need to be a banker and have specialist knowledge of another industry sector.

The business support team is a key part of the overall service delivery with a more transactional approach and as such requires a more analytical focus.

In recent years corporate banking has become increasingly focussed on highly specialised areas of banking. For example, the special finance unit engages in project finance, leveraged deals such as management buy-outs, acquisition finance and public to private deals. The employee skills required are typically accountancy based and as such many of the team members come from an accounting background. However, people with engineering qualifications, MBAs and other backgrounds are also to be found in the special finance unit; it’s all part of an effort to ensure a rich environment of variety and creativity.

The financial products group evolved because of a perceived need to lead the field in the development of innovative products. It designs specialist products for the relationship teams to bring to their customers. There is an emphasis on structured finance solutions. In addition they manage lending and equity investments into early stage IT companies.

The continued success of corporate banking is reflected in rapid growth and expansion of the business, increased service offerings and creative deal structuring to existing and potential customers. It has also resulted in the opening of offices in London, Poland and New York.

The human resource knock on effects from this success and growth is a steady increase in employment opportunities within corporate banking, which has seen employee numbers rise by 50 per cent since 1999 with a planned further increase over the next twelve months.

The attraction of new recruits, while vitally important to corporate banking is not the only measure of its success as a business and ‘great place to work’. Another key barometer is the level of attrition from the business, particularly in the light of the volatility and opportunities in the employment market over the last two years.

The management team has worked hard to ensure continual review and development of their people management practices and this, coupled with a strong commitment to staff development, contributes significantly to a good working environment and atmosphere. Another key factor in employee retention is market related remuneration packages. AIB corporate banking has developed and is applying a progressive and modern approach to pay.

The current annual attrition rate of less than 10 per cent in AIB corporate banking compares favourably with the IFSC industry average of 15 per cent and is evidence that the retention strategy is working.

Corporate banking has many opportunities for new employees, particularly newly qualified graduates, and especially those with accountancy or business studies qualifications. Over the past two years this area of the bank has recruited 46 newly qualified graduates. These graduates have been enrolled on a specially developed two-year developmental programme to assist them in their induction into the company and also getting experience of the different businesses within corporate banking. Also incorporated into the programme are extensive management skills developmental programmes.

Corporate banking has recently launched its ‘commitment to our people’ programme the basis of which is quite simply that if a business wants to be the best at everything it does, it must hire and retain the best people.

Corporate banking is fostering an environment where all staff are treated as adults and equals, are fairly paid and will learn and develop as individuals.

According to Tom Barry, managing director of corporate banking, ‘By making our people the central focus of our energies, we expect that they will respond with enthusiasm and they will deliver the desired level of excellence in customer service’. Barry believes that competitive differentiation in a service business will always be primarily through its people. There are two main aspects to the ‘commitment to our people programme’
• Learning what it means to be at the cutting edge in terms of treating people with dignity and respect
• Revising the HR practices/frameworks we use to enhance our people management practices. The aim of this objective is to ensure that the approaches to people management are aligned and support the goal of creating a top quality environment for staff working in Corporate banking.

A lot of good work has already been done towards achieving the aims of the programme. AIB corporate banking staff have now determined the core values of the business and the positive behaviours required to support these values.

The ultimate aim is to increase the satisfaction, vibrancy and skills level of the team and as a result go forward with ever increasing confidence that AIB corporate banking will be an attractive place to work.

In addition the whole area of ‘pay for performance’ has been subject to review and improvement over the last two years. Our reward strategy has now been revised to incorporate market benchmarking of jobs and significant adjustments have been made, on an individual level, to correct any market related anomalies. All jobs in AIB corporate banking are now benchmarked to the market.

This progressive attitude and approach to the management and reward of human resources is a key part of the human resource strategy going forward.

The future is both challenging and exciting for AIB corporate banking in terms of continued growth. Achievement of the planned targets it has set itself will require further creative product development, an enhanced ability to deliver complex deals. This means that our key resource, our people, must continue to learn and grow in stature in line with the progress of the business.

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