Thinking along and pushing back: how Credit Core is changing teamwork within the bank

An interview with Jesse van Egmond, Team Lead van het Credit Initiatives Team, and Angela Abdoelhafiezkhan, IT Lead Credit Core.

A loan for a start-up that is rejected in Utrecht but approved in Amersfoort. Previously, each local bank managed its business in its own way. Globalization and a strict supervisory authority make this situation unmanageable. Rabobank is addressing this on a large scale with the Credit Core program.

What is Credit Core?

“Credit Core is an innovative way to make improvements in managing credit risk – one of the bank’s core processes. We can add any type of functionality to Credit Core. From new legislation and regulations to different types of customer segmentations or product types.” explains Jesse van Egmond, Team Lead of the Credit Initiatives Team. “The Initiatives Team is a strategic team that identifies the major themes around credit risk. It then passes on the work to different areas in the Tribe Credit Core.”

“An initiative is the most abstract level in an agile way of working. We map out the initiatives. We look at how a theme fits within the tribe. Where it touches the customer journey and our products. We make themes concrete and pass them on to one of the areas or squads. They implement the final solutions as policy, or into processes and IT systems.”

That’s where Angela Abdoelhafiezkhan, Team Lead IT of the Area Credit Core, comes in. “My area deals with everything related to client assessment. We make sure that our end users have the right tools to stay in control of their financial situation. And that they have the right reports to be accountable to our regulators.”

“End users are not just corporate clients and local banks. Rabobank has business units on every continent and global stakeholders such as Wholesale or Rural.With Wholesale Banking, Rabobank serves large Dutch and international corporations, commodity traders, private equity firms and financial institutions. Rural focuses on financing companies in the Food & Agri sector. all of which have their own credit limit systems. We’re bringing this together in Credit Core. It goes through every fiber of our organization. It has been named “Critical Executive Programme” by the Group Management for a reason. It’s really a large-scale process.”

Why is it needed?

Angela: “There are different systems for the same kind of processes. However, globally we have to meet strict requirements and ensure that our end users are more ”in control”. It is also important that we work in a future-proof, efficient and uniform way. Which ultimately works to the advantage of both our customers and the bank.”

Jesse: “It had become almost impossible to implement necessary changes. Colleagues were doing the same work in different places. That could cause the same loan application to be rejected at one local bank but approved at another branch. That’s not only disastrous for your efficiency, but also for the overall cost. With Credit Core, we can set up credit risk management in a standardized and centralized way.”

Simplify@Scale: a new way of working

Under the name Simplify@Scale, agile working was rolled out on a large scale within Rabobank at the end of 2020. Jesse: “Apart from the organizational structure, it’s a transition to a whole new way of working. Previously, employees in a policy team only worked on policy. This is no longer the case. It really does ask a lot from people.”

The most important skill to have is to be able to connect people. Dare to compromise and unite different perspectives.
Jesse van Egmond, Team Lead Credit Initiatives Team

“In the squads you work directly with colleagues from process, business or IT. You have to be open to that. The most important skill you have to have is to be able to connect people. Dare to compromise. Unite different perspectives. Being aware that there is no one right answer.”

Man and woman discussing things at table

Angela agrees, “Working well together and having the drive to continuously improve is an absolute ‘must’ to help the Tribe Credit Core get ahead. We believe it is important for our employees to accelerate. We are looking for people who are pioneers in their field, who think along with us but also push back. That’s why we encourage entrepreneurship according to the ‘learning by doing’ principle. In other words, it’s better to try something with a chance of failure, than to wait and not make an impact.”

Challenging jobs

Rabobank has 9.6 million customers and operates in 37 countries. That’s why Area Credit Core is growing rapidly. Jesse: “I am looking for people who can play a connecting role, mainly within the bank. Specifically, we are looking for Product Owners. That’s a challenging role within the Tribe, it’s really something you have to grow into. A good product owner is worth their weight in gold.”

Working within Credit Core is more than just creating software.
Angela Abdoelhafiezkhan, IT Lead Credit Core

Angela complements him: “We need different types of IT professionals to join our brand new tribe. Business analysts, software engineers, solution architects, cloud engineers, and so on. But also new graduates are welcome. Preferably with a college or university IT degree and an adventurous and eager to learn attitude. The work is more than just making software. It requires a certain mindset. You have to dare to make a difference. Take on the challenge of making the bank rock solid.”

Jesse van Egmond and Angela Abdoelhafiezkhan

“We are very involved in recruitment. This works both ways. We often ask people from the team to conduct the initial interview. They are good at assessing whether there is a match. Both in terms of content and person. This is followed by interviews with the supervisor and possibly an area lead. The advantage for the applicant is that you immediately get a good picture of your future colleagues.”

Why work at Rabobank?

Jesse: “As a cooperation, we are not listed on the stock exchange. This means we can deal with customers and employees of the bank in a different way. When you need to make a profit, it puts pressure on the organization and on the way people work with each other. That’s not the case with us. At our bank, customer and employee value come first.”

Angela: “There are a lot of opportunities within the bank. We invest in the personal development of our employees. It’ s up to you to capitalize on the opportunities you get.”

“The Tribe is multi-disciplinary. We want to cross the finish line together. The atmosphere is all about helping each other and our diversity makes us unique and powerful. You definitely want to be a part of that!”