Moving freely.

If you want to smile, talk to Nyka. She went from Congo to California. Followed love to Brussels. And changed jobs a lot in her eleven years at ING. In short, she’s the living proof that working in risk is not about avoiding risks. Au contraire.

What is the main purpose of your role?

I work in the risk business. And when you say risk, you say regulatory. Because banks are driven by regulations, whether you like it or not. My job as a change expert is to make continuous improvements to our processes so we can meet those demands. In a creative way.

What makes you love working in Risk at ING?

I think it’s the diversity of your tasks and responsibilities. You never really know what the day is going to bring. Of course, you have your agenda, but you can jump from one thing to another which makes it exciting.

Also, ING gives you opportunities. I had a lot of them. I’ve been working here for about eleven years and had nine cat lives, as they say. I changed jobs so many times, but always by choice. Just to be clear on that.

Is risk hot or not?

It’s absolutely hot. You cannot go very far without knowing your risks. We are driven by regulations. We have to comply with them. But we also need to be creative as to how far we need to be compliant. There is always room for interpretation. Which creates an exciting tension field.

What makes it hot at ING is that we interact with all the departments in the bank. And meet with so many people from different cultures. In everything we do, risk is always an important element. You need to do business, know how far your risk appetite is, …

Is risk all about following the rules?

Yes and no. It’s not really rigid. You need to interpret and adapt regulations to what is meaningful for the bank. For instance, rules that apply to a group level may need to be adapted to a more local level. To local flavours because our customers are different depending on where you are.

We have guidelines. However, within those guidelines we are to create. That’s why we get the freedom to propose things that could get picked up. The beauty of it is that the solution often does not yet exist and we get to design it.

How do you find balance?

There is a lot of flexibility. Like this morning I started working at home, then I came to the office. I can arrange my day and am not bound by a certain schedule. As long as I deliver. Finding that balance is important and is making it exciting. I can easily combine it with life at home. Where I garden, sing and take care of two teenage girls.

That freedom empowers us to do our jobs. We give advice and challenge, we create and propose solutions. And sure, you’ll get push back at times. But that’s part of the process. If we were all just saying yes, all the time, we wouldn’t get anywhere. The exchange is very healthy and respectful. We all have one aim in mind and that’s to serve the bank.

Do banks only care about money?

We’re not a charitable organisation. We need to make money. But we are also here to protect our clients while we make our money. That fits with risk. How can we protect our clients and the bank? We have both elements here.

People do come first. I was born in Congo, lived in the US and moved here for love. I have so many cultures living in me and always felt like I could move freely within the company. We also have a lot of fun together. Running a marathon, participating in a challenge to walk, sustainability events, … Or just a drink after work and pictures on whatsapp, …

How is your growth supported?

When you’re stuck, you can always call around. No matter how busy they are. I do the same for them. It’s a give and take. One day I was in a position where I didn’t feel completely at home. I was able to discuss it with my manager and he was open to me changing jobs.

ING cares for your wellbeing. You just need to speak up. If you don’t say anything, everyone will assume that everything is just fine. So, be honest with yourself, dare to discuss what’s on your mind. There are opportunities within this bank for sure.

Nyka's 3 reasons for joining Risk at ING

  • If you are great with people and love stakeholder management in projects
  • If you like challenges and change (a lot)
  • If you like being at the heart of the bank where you connect and build your network.
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