I’ve worked as a Market Risk Analyst at Nationale-Nederlanden Bank since 2014. My job is to monitor the interest rate and liquidity risks in our banking book. Changes in interest rates can have an impact on the bank’s performance, for example. And we run liquidity risks if we can’t meet our payment obligations on time as a bank because we haven’t got enough money available.
In practice, my work includes modelling customer behaviour and the associated risk in accordance with standards that are recognisable and workable for everybody. How likely is it, for example, that lots of account holders suddenly decide to withdraw their savings at the same time? That would trigger a run on the bank and an acute liquidity problem for us.
Modelling is just one aspect of my work, however. Our bank is growing in size. Growth leads to more statutory and regulatory obligations and to more robust internal controls on our work. For example, I’m currently working on designing a single integrated software system for asset-liability management that will play a key role in managing the balance sheet and determining risks.
I also find our business model challenging in itself. Because of the current low interest rates, lots of customers are opting to take out a long-term, fixed-interest mortgage. The challenge for us is to find suitable financing or more variety – for example by spreading terms – in our balance sheet composition. I have regular meetings with the Finance Product Management and Treasury departments about optimum balance sheet presentation.
Because I work in a team, I’m up to date with all aspects of balance sheet management and can contribute my ideas. Working at Nationale-Nederlanden Bank also means working at a relatively small bank and that appeals to me. You are directly involved in all departments and the business model of the bank. A great example is my engagement with the Asset-Liability Committee (ALCO), with representatives from the Management Board and the senior management.
The funny thing is that I started out as a computer scientist. So, when I began my career, I hadn’t considered the banking world. A financial background can be advantageous, but it’s not a necessity. People who are good with figures, who’ve studied computer science or maths, can have an excellent career at Nationale-Nederlanden Bank.
Mark van der Zwaag
Market Risk Analyst, Nationale-Nederlanden Bank