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Young Banker of the Year Worldwide 2021

“And the winner of this years worldwide competition is Rosie”. I was shocked that’s for sure. Who would of thought a girl like me would win such a prestige competition. No university degree, no further education, just me and my idea.

The Young Banker of the Year competition is held every year by The Chartered Banker Institute (CBI). This year as it was hosted fully online it was made worldwide. Any banker with under 15 years experience can apply.

I had never been in a competition before, to be honest with my anxiety it wasn’t something I’d be comfortable with. Self doubt also got in the way of me achieving anything. But this time I wanted to make a difference, I was passionate to bring change to the financial institution. After some quick research at the Un sustainable development goals I quickly realised that my idea fell into the category and I could apply. I reached out to my workplace and asked “do you think my idea is a good idea?”. I didn’t know the person that run the mentoring at my workplace and I opened up, for the first time properly to a ‘stranger’ as such. I’m a victim of domestic abuse, I want to bring change, I have an idea.

I had seen finalists in other years, some on vulnerability which resonated with me as a people person I was but a lot of them were new products or on green ideas. I didn’t think my idea would get very far, but why not try? So I started with 3 bullet points on a page. 3 bullet points that I had to change into 700 words. Them 700 words I redrafted over 25 times before I submitted the paper.

My idea is: “A Fairer Financial Future for Sufferers and Survivors of Domestic Abuse”. This idea wasn’t just for me. This idea was for everyone that suffered, just like me. For the people that suffered in silence, to bring change to the next generation. The main idea was based on the fact that I could never get a mortgage again due to mine going into repossession due to financial abuse. My credit scoring was low and it was not my fault. I was embarrassed by my low credit scoring. I worked in banking, I prided myself with an extremely high score. Now it was low, I feared for my future and for what reason? I hadn’t done anything wrong. Neither had others in my place. So let’s bring change.

My idea ended up consisting of: Raising Awareness, Implementing Training, Enhancing Policies and Procedures and to allow lending opportunities to those that have poor credit due to no fault of their own. This included influencing the wider industry. Why just do this in the bank I work for? I mean I had already started regardless to whether I got anywhere in the competition. But if I did, then other banks should do the same to be consistent. I was so passionate about the idea, I hadn’t been passionate about anything before. I didn’t have any hobbies and I didn’t feel I had a purpose. Until I started this idea. Nothing was going to stop me.

A couple of months went by (I think, if I remember rightly off the top of my head) and I received an email to say I was through to the quarter final. I couldn’t believe it. I actually cried. Tears of joy. To even get this far worldwide was a big achievement for me. I had a 15 minute interview with two lovely ladies at the CBI. Shortly after I was advised I was through to the quarter finals.

The quarter finals was to give a presentation (10 minutes) on my idea to a panel of judges. I could speak about my idea all day. By this stage it had already grew legs, people were reaching out to help and giving me opportunities to further my domestic abuse career. But I was able to restrict it. I was so nervous, but I remember telling myself I can do this. I also had an amazing coaching session with a wonderful lady. She reminds me of a bottle of sunshine, so happy, so talented. She really left an impact on me in that one session. Now when I do any speech I always think of her beforehand (I hope she reads this, she’s amazing!). The presentation was followed by Q&A. I had practiced some questions that were likely to be asked and it paid off. I was told I was through to the final.

The final consisted of two presentations and a Q&A session with a panel of judges. By this stage I was going viral on social media. Not just for the competition but for my story on domestic abuse. One of my posts got over 125,000 views. It was unreal. People were reaching out even more, suggestions, talks, opportunities. Never overwhelming, more emotional – I was making such a big impact to so many people and I didn’t imagine it. While preparing for the final I started putting my ideas into my workplace. I raised awareness by sharing my story across the group, we booked in specialised training, I made a new procedure and with the help of wonderful HR, got a policy put in place. I was working with a credit reference agency on my lending idea (still am to this day and I’m so grateful for them) and I was making an impact on the wider industry. Sitting on meetings, giving my opinion and going viral on social media.

The final came round quick enough and I was so nervous, but this was my time to shine. My time to speak up for all those that suffer in silence and indeed, that is what I did. Then this is where the story goes to the start. I won.

Not only has the competition changed my life, it’s brought me so much happiness, confidence and friendships. The judges were lovely and interested in my topic, the CBI was a good support and obviously my workplace is amazing. I would encourage anyone to apply in 2022. Why? Because it may just change your life, like it did mine.

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