'Because it’s easy to balance work and home life at NN, I can truly be myself here'

Mark van der Zwaag -
​​​​​​​Market Risk Analist

Managing risks

‘I’ve been an ALM Risk Analyst at NN Bank since 2014. The name of the department, Asset & Liability Management Risk, says exactly what we do here: we manage risks that depend on the balance between assets and liabilities in our banking book. We monitor interest rate and liquidity risks. Changes in interest rates can, for example, have an impact on the bank’s performance. And we run a liquidity risk if we’re unable to meet our payment obligations as a bank because there isn’t enough cash available.’

I never considered a career with a bank

‘The funny thing is that I started out in IT. So, initially I had never considered a career with a bank. A financial background can be a plus, but it’s not a necessity. If you’re a numbers person, you’ve studied IT or maths, you can do well at NN Bank.’
In practice, my work includes modelling customer behaviour and the risks of that behaviour. What’s the likelihood, for example, of lots of account holders suddenly wanting to withdraw their savings at the same time? That would trigger a run on the bank and an acute liquidity problem. But developing models is just one aspect of my work. NN Bank is growing, which is leading to more legal and regulatory obligations and to stricter internal controls on our work. That’s why we’re working on setting up an integrated software system for asset liability management. This will play a central role in managing the balance sheet and in calculating risks.’

Working from home at NN

‘So far, the impact of coronavirus on savings and mortgages has been fairly limited. Although, the capital markets have behaved differently. Of course, this has an impact on our risks. Working from home full time is going really well though, partly because NN was able to scale up its working from home capacity effectively within a short space of time. We have an online stand-up meeting twice a week, so we can continue to work well together. The great thing about an online meeting is that you get to see one another, even if it’s just virtually.’

To be fair, working from home with my wife and three children took some getting used to. But the advantage is that it’s easier for me to help my children with their school work. Outside of work, I take regular exercise. For instance, I like to run long distances with a weighted backpack. It’s a great way of challenging myself. So Yes, I have to say: I can combine my work and home life well at NN. I can really be myself here. And, as a team, we get on very well together. Thisprovides me with a feeling of freedom, even during the coronavirus crisis.’

Good teamwork

‘Because I work in a team, I’m involved in all aspects of balance sheet management. Working at NN Bank also means working at a relatively small bank and that appeals to me. It means that you’re directly involved in all departments and in the bank’s business model.’
‘I find NN Bank’s business model fascinating. Because of the current low interest rates, lots of customers are opting to take out long-term, fixed-rate mortgages. For us, the challenge is to find suitable financing, or achieving greater variation in our balance sheet structure, for example by spreading terms.’


Meet our risk colleagues