Being a people person is not a job requirement most would associate with banking.
Steven James might not sound like the type of guy to sit behind a desk with a calculator in hand, a stack of home loan documents by his side, and with fingers furiously flicking off emails. But that’s some of what he does in his new job as mobile lender for Community Bank – Wanniassa, one of Bendigo Bank’s community-owned branches.
Above all, Steven loves working with people, and that’s what drew him to where he is now at the Wanniassa branch. Specifically, he enjoys helping people get the keys to their first home.
“I love doing hands-on stuff,” he says. “I’m trying to teach myself how to weld at the moment. I may have almost caught myself on fire, but that’s OK.”
Steven has been with Bendigo Bank as a lender for four months, and he enjoys the atmosphere and strong community connection.
Since 2000, $1.4 million in profits from Community Bank partnerships have been reinvested in communities across the ACT and surrounding regions, including some hefty sums in the past year to sporting groups, emergency services and health research.
When he isn’t replying to emails, talking customers through home loans, or setting himself on fire while trying to weld, Steven likes to play indoor cricket.
“It’s a social team, but COVID-19 means we can’t currently play,” he says. “But it’s now about keeping in touch with all the boys and making sure they’re OK.”
Steven was born in Perth, and then his family moved to the ACT and settled in Belconnen, just in time for him to start year 1 at Aranda Primary School.
During his schooling years, Steven progressed from Aranda Primary School to Canberra High School, before graduating year 12 from Lake Ginninderra College.
Not knowing quite where to go next, his outgoing character led him to undertake an advanced diploma in hotel management. While working for a hotel organisation, he was assigned the task of taking the day’s cash for banking at the local St George Bank. It was here he was offered his first bank job.
“I was still just exploring what I wanted to do at that stage, but I took up the offer,” says Steven. “I was with St George for 14 years, starting off as a teller at the Queanbeyan branch before moving up the ladder from that position into lending.”
Steven describes his job as “making sure the customer is on the right path for their home loan journey, from before application all the way through to final approval”.
He says a detailed budget is the key to home loan success.
“Looking at past income statements to work out where your money is going and where you can make possible savings is key,” says Steven. “After all, even a small percentage of a saving on something can make a massive difference over a period of time.”
This is especially important at a time when Canberra’s house prices are on a massive upwards trajectory, with an average price of $1.015 million for the June 2021 quarter.
For more information, visit Bendigo Bank.
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