What year did you join the industry?
I joined the banking industry in 1957 in Australia with the CBC Bank (I'm now part of National Australia Bank).
I spent seven years in New South Wales country branches and then worked in several roles in Australia and London. On my return to Australia, I became international manager responsible for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
In 1982 due to a merger I joined Australian Bank returning to corporate banking. After seven years, I became General Manager Banking and Associate Director. After that I spent three years at Standard Chartered Australia before moving into insurance. I was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Commercial Union Lenders Mortgage Insurance arm for almost ten years.
How did you find the experience of study and working full time?
Demanding. I needed to work fully in customer service roles, plus raise a young family, and study part time. This was demanding and required a firm belief in the worth of this focus.
My wife died suddenly when my two children were both still in secondary school. So, without any domestic help I was working 50 hour weeks plus doing all the housework and domestic roles as well. I had to postpone further studies.
I took up studying again when I crossed over into insurance from banking. I had to start again learning the industry fundamentals.
Corporate financial support and my belief in best industry practices helped me maintain my focus.
Any special memories or stories about taking your banking exams?
My only horror story of sitting exams was when I turned up to an exam on the wrong day. I remember the terror of thinking I was a day late. But all ended well as it was the next day, and somehow passed.
The 100th anniversary concert at St Paul’s is one I will always remember with Berlioz’ Te Deum. There was a green-covered anniversary book issued by Allied Irish Banks (AIB). It quoted an extract from Francis Bacon that begins, “I hold every man a debtor to his profession, from the which as men of course seek to obtain countenance and profit.”
I am forever glad I developed an association with the Institute of Bankers in 1971. I am now aged 77 and still working at a directorate level. I hope to impart some of my learning to the younger brigade of professionals.