Why Young Banker of the Year might be for you

  • 25 January 2022
  • Young Banker of the Year | Career Development | Green Finance | Blog

We delve into the personal experiences of the 2021 Young Banker of the Year finalists to hear how they think the competition went – and what advice they’d give to someone thinking of entering this year’s contest.

On 7 October the Young Banker of the Year 2021 finalists presented their ideas for improving outcomes for their customers, colleagues, and communities. Rosie Lyon, Junior Relationship Manager, AIB; Matthew Nimbley, Assistant Banking Manager, Hampden & Co.; Edward Sants, Head of Product – Customer Management, Oodle Car Finance; and James Houston, Finance Graduate, Lloyds Banking Group; all came together to represent the next generation of innovation in banking. The judges and remote audience were inspired by all of their creative and thought-provoking ideas, but it was Rosie who eventually secured first place.

“My personal highlight,” she says, “is the platform the competition has given me to raise awareness about domestic abuse. I received so much support from colleagues in every part of AIB, and the wider community, and have made some great connections along the way. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we work together.

“I’ve been really inspired by some of the other entries and the innovative approaches to dealing with common problems. In the vulnerable customer sector, there’s a lot that can be done and we can all learn from one another.”

The competition was held virtually for the second time this year, allowing the safe participation and attendance of people from all across the industry.

James was particularly inspired by the final event, he explains “It was brilliant seeing the other young bankers share their ideas. The presentations highlighted all of the hard work that Rosie, Matthew, and Edward have put in. Their passion for sustainability and helping customers really stood out.

“Rosie’s focus on vulnerable customers, and Edward’s focus on financial exclusion, helps to highlight some of the more challenging situations that some people face. Matthew’s idea reiterated the role the industry has in encouraging more sustainable choices. Their solutions-based approach to these challenges makes me excited for an inclusive and sustainable future for the industry.”

The collaborative atmosphere of the competition enabled participants to exchange ideas with influencers from across the sector. As Matthew points out “I’ve been able to have important discussions with external third parties, thanks to the reputation of the competition and the presence of UNEP FI.

“I managed to arrange meetings with CEOs in the sector and the Head of Sustainability at a Premier League Football Club. These discussions greatly enhanced my knowledge of how to tackle behavioural change, whilst they also filled me with a huge degree of pride and confidence that an idea which I devised in my kitchen can now be implemented in practice across the industry.”

On his fellow finalists, Matthew comments “It is clear that I have been surrounded by incredibly talented individuals and ideas which will undoubtedly shape the future of our industry for the better.”

Edward adds: “I’ve really enjoyed every step of the way. I’ve used this competition as an opportunity to talk to some really interesting people and learn more about the challenges our customers face every day. The real highlight for me has been the opportunity to develop that understanding and bring it to my day-to-day work.”

When asked what advice she would give to people considering entry next year, Rosie said “If you have an idea, just apply. I was hesitant to apply at first but I’m so glad I did. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am today. This competition is a brilliant opportunity – go for it!”

James echoes that sentiment, saying “My advice would be to go for it! No matter your experience or qualifications, your ideas are still important; they will help shape the future of the banking industry. The competition has also allowed me to learn many new things across different areas within my organisation, spending time discussing new concepts with colleagues from other areas. It’s a fantastic opportunity to challenge yourself, to develop your skills, and make connections.”

Edward also gave his advice for people thinking about entering the 2022 competition. He says “Just go for it! I have found every stage in the process has taught me something new. So even if you only have the seeds of an idea, go for it and see what you can learn along the way. My idea really developed from a spark to something much more detailed, as I worked through the process.

Matthew comments “I have for many years perceived the competition to be the pinnacle of what you could achieve as a Young Banker. I never thought I would get past the first round, let alone into the final stage. It’s a truly incredible experience and that can raise your profile, hone your skillset and instil an innovative and creative way of thinking that you can use to change the world and your career going forward.”

Enter now

The Young Banker of the Year 2022 competition is open to applications until Friday 18 March. To find out more, visit our Young Banker Hub.