David Dunstan - Branch Manager, St.George Bank, Ballarat

David Dunstan
'It's a great challenge to be able to influence staff and customers positively. It is also a great experience to try to offer people the best service and solutions you can, so that they benefit financially.'

David has been branch manager at the Ballarat branch of St.George Bank for five years, where he oversees 13 employees. Prior to this, David spent 26 years at Commonwealth Bank, just two blocks down the road. David’s experiences have made him value the importance of excellent people skills in the frontline of banking, and that experience in a branch can lead to a varied career working throughout the entire company.


 

What do you look for when hiring people?

Culture is a very important aspect and it cannot be understated. Staff members have to be able to engage customers and therefore ‘fit in’ with our organisation. I’m looking for people who are not timid, and who are prepared to discuss one-on-one with clients what their needs are.

Are there any specific skills needed?

Strong verbal skills, eye contact and an ability to engage customers. The ability to learn quickly and soak up sufficient product knowledge is also very important, as clients gain a lot of confidence in a staff member being knowledgeable and accurate in their dealings. That is my main focus as I recruit mainly for customer service officer roles.

Is there a lot of opportunity for career progression?

Absolutely. I have seen most of my customer service officers here at St.George progress through the organisation. It’s a foot in the door and many see it that way as well. If you’re keen, committed and possess a positive attitude, the banking industry has much to offer. In particular – if you’re willing to move, endless opportunities abound.

Where is the best place to start your career – head office or in a branch?

It depends where you want to get to and what your ambitions are. For some roles head office level may be the best place to start, but the branch is a great place to start for anyone wanting to develop a career in retail banking. In all the larger banks, not just the big four but also in the larger regional banks like St.George, there are opportunities because there are many more branches. There are also different departments and specialist areas in the capital cities, so it does cater for the opportunity to transfer internally within an organisation, which sometimes does not exist in smaller organisations.

What is the best aspect of working in banking?

I’ve been in banking for 32 years and I certainly would not have stayed this long if I didn’t enjoy the work. Why do a job if you don’t like it? It’s a great challenge to be able to influence staff and customers positively. It is also a great experience to try to offer people the best service and solutions you can, so that they benefit financially.


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