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Bank Internship: National City Corporation

This past summer (2002), I was an intern in the Credit Department at the corporate headquarters of National City Bank located in downtown Cleveland. During my time as an intern I was able to put my classrooms knowledge and experience into practice dealing with real world situations. Let me give you an overview of what our department basically did on a day to day basis.

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We were what you would call the “number crunchers” of the building. Senior Credit Officers, Loan Officers, and Secured Credit Analysts would send numerous financial statements for various companies to our floor.

These financials, with the attached project (I will explain the projects/assignment later) would then be assigned by our department head to specific analysts. We were then responsible for completing the desired task that the Officer had requested by a certain date and time. Analysts would gather as much information about the company as needed and perform the various tasks in order to get the Officer’s approval of the completed product. All in all, that is basically what the Credit Department did on a day to day basis, but this is just a brief overview.

I will go into further detail throughout the remainder of the paper. On my first day at the internship, I was introduced to my supervisor and Assistant Vice President of Credit, Anita Swoboda (she interviewed me and gave me the job over the phone, so we had never met) and the rest of my coworkers on the 9th floor. After the introductions were made and I was situated in my new desk, I was instructed to go to a computer in the back of the office to learn the system that the department worked off of.

The instructional tour took me through the database that I would be using on an everyday basis and showed me what everything the specifics of the system. The database was constructed like an Excel spreadsheet, but it was specifically made with equations for the different data entries. After I was fully acquainted with the database (it is called FAMAS), I was given my first assignment to complete. The slang term used around the office for these financial tables was “spreads”. The spreads were the end result of the data entered into FAMAS.

I was given a set of financial statements from a specific company and my job was to enter the relevant data into the necessary categories and subcategories in the system. After all of the data was entered, I had to check to make sure that the balance sheet was in balance, the income statement provided the correct net income for the period ending, and the cash flow statement was in accordance to the company’s given data. If everything was in place and all of the data was correct, I then would print off the “output”. The output gave six pages of the summarized data that I had entered.

Three pages were the replicas of the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows. The other three pages gave concise ratios and detailed reconciliations pertaining to the data. This, inevitably, was used by the Officer to make an accurate assumption about the stability of the company’s cash/asset/liability position. This was the most basic and most assigned project for the analysts in general. The next type of responsibility that I had was in the contents of what was called a Criticized Asset Sheet or CAC for short.

These CACs were used by Officers when a company was underperforming according to National City’s standards for loan payments. These companies often times would have negative net income levels for more than one year, poor repayment practices in the past, and overall bad quality dealings with National City in general, just to name a few. The CAC required the analyst to do the assigned company’s spreads as well as a number of other pieces of financial analysis in order to give the Officer and the committee a better idea of where exactly this company stood and if it was beneficial to keep doing business with them.

I was responsible for going through another database (I was taken through another step by step training session, this time with an individual) to get all of the pertinent information needed for the assessment. This new database allowed me to get detailed information on all of a company’s outstanding loans (i. e. what type of loan, when it matures, how much is outstanding, etc. ), the list of beneficiaries/individual signers on the loans as well as their financial commitment in the company, and the company’s past status on its old loans.

After gathering the necessary information, it was my duty to input the data into a pre-designed word document and add verbiage to tell what each number represented (this is difficult to explain without showing you exactly what the sheet looked like). I would then send an updated copy of the CAC to the Officer (whoever it was that I was working with) and he would look over it to see if there should be anything else added and also to see if there were any mistakes that I had made. After looking over the sheet, the Officer would then send me a new copy of the CAC via interoffice email with his/her pdated section. Their section dealt mostly with notes from the last meeting, recommendations, developments, etc. which were relevant for the next meeting with the committee. I would then take this new copy and send it over to Secured Credit, where someone would derive an analysis on collateral determinants, cash flows summaries, etc. and that would then go into the CAC at the end. After I had collected all of the necessary items, I would put the CAC together with my section, the Officer’s section, the Secured Credit comments, and the spreads.

I would then print out a copy and give it to the CAC secretary who would put it on the stack of other CACs to go down to the printing room for multiple copies. These copies would then be distributed to the various committee members when the CAC was due to be discussed. It was the committee’s duty to discuss the company’s situation with the Officer (the Officer was closely related with the company, meaning that he had gone to the location, spoken with the executives on several occasions, etc. to see if it was feasible or not to continue funding their outstanding loans or if they should be ended. The last responsibility I had as an intern at National City was the most detailed and the most important assignment that permanent analysts completed. Toward the end of my internship, it was noticed by my superiors that I could handle large workloads and put out excellent results. So, my supervisor decided that I should be taught how to do the main thing that permanent analysts did on a regular basis. These assignments were called Credit Sheets.

The Credit Sheet incorporated all of the things that dealt with the CACs and the spreads, but required an extreme amount of financial information and overall analysis. This sheet dealt with the loan structure, financial position of the company, statements from the CEO, industry and company analysis, future implications that may hinder the business’s performance and various other aspects of the overall picture company and its industry in general. These sheets were usually between 30 and 100 page reports and were done because a company was seeking new loans, extensions on old loans, or more borrowings.

My duties were to gather all of the information that I could about the company and its industry. I would be in constant contact with the Officer so that he/she could give me any updated financial or company news in general and also so that I could let them know how my progress was coming along. I would then construct a broad industry analysis as well as a very detailed company analysis. It was also my job to provide a detailed financial analysis of the company including collateral trends, borrowing base, future commitments, 1, 3, and 5 year cash flow analysis, and projected future position.

The sheet, again just like the CAC, would be passed between the Officer and myself, with him/her adding necessary information as necessary, until we were both confident with the content. The sheet would then be presented to the committee and it would be determined through discussion, whether or not the company’s request was valid according to the information presented and the committee’s feeling about the future of the company. I did also have other various responsibilities such as side projects for different people and whatnot, but basically, the things that I described above were my most important responsibilities.

These duties, no matter how large or small, were an integral part of the corporation’s functioning as a whole. During my time as at National City, I, along with the two other interns and the new permanent employees, was required to take a Commercial Credit class. We would meet as a group one or two times a week with Anita, in a classroom setting, and go over the different topics we were assigned to read. There were five parts in all: Qualitative Company Analysis, Credit Risk Analysis, Cash Flow Analysis, Balance Sheet Analysis, and Case Studies.

These areas were integral in the learning process of dealing with Commercial Credit in that it taught us what to look for when dealing with companies’ financial statements and allowed us to take a more in depth look at the financial process. It was an incredible learning tool because it allowed all of us to take what we were learning in the classroom and use it in a real world situation. I thought that that aspect was the best part of the internship in that it expanded on my current skills and enabled me to experience situations that cannot be taught merely in a college setting.

The purpose of an internship, as I see it, is to make a person aware of the world that waiting for them after college and to give them a better understanding of what is out there in corporate America. Not only did this internship show me what could be waiting for me after college, but it also taught me a great deal about how a corporation works as a single unit. My job and status in the corporation was not looked down upon and I was not handed filing work or other types of “busy work”. I was being taught and molded in a way that was in accordance to how they train their ermanent employees. It was truly an incredible learning experience for me. The internship was very beneficial to my future professional career. I speak with employers now and they are thoroughly impressed with my experiences at National City. I have a superior knowledge of certain aspects of the financial world that has given me a leg up against the competition during the interviewing process as well as in conversations with professionals in the field. I feel more comfortable and confident with my skills and abilities than I have ever felt before.

National City made me feel important and now that is the attitude that I carry around with myself. The thing that I enjoyed the most about my internship at National City was the fact that I was treated as an equal and important member of the corporation. Aside from the learning aspect of the job, I gained a sense of what it would be like to be an employee of a large company, such as a bank. I was given work that the permanent employees were doing and I was expected to perform within the same parameters. I also enjoyed the work setting in general.

We worked hard, but it was a laid back atmosphere where you could really get to know the other people in the office. Plus, most of the people that I worked with were either fresh out of college or had graduated just a few short years back. There were also a few Ohio University College of Business alumni in my department which made for interesting and resourceful conversations. With all of things in mind, I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed the fact that this job really taught me a lot. I know that I have already mentioned this, but the knowledge that I gained from my time at National City was priceless.

I never thought that an internship could be so beneficial to me in the long run, but I was proven wrong in this case with flying colors. The internship, overall, was just an incredible experience for me and I am truly grateful that I was given the opportunity to prove my self while expanding on my skills at the same time. The College of Business has done a fantastic job in preparing me for my professional career in many ways. Many of the classes I have been required to take have given me a strong base of knowledge in particular areas of finance.

I felt extremely prepared for this job when I first started just because of the fact that the finance and accounting classes that I have taken so far have taught me a great deal about the raw material in dealing with income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, etc. The course I took at National City was mostly a method of fine tuning my already present skills and also a means of allowing me to put my entire classroom learning to work in real world situations. The course that really prepared me the best for this position was the second business cluster (301i).

In the cluster, I learned how to better my time management skills, work through tough situations, and gain more experience with interacting with other individuals (group work). I thought it was amusing that the permanent analysts were working on industry analyses for their projects and I was able to help them because of the fact that I had done so many of them in the cluster. I guess I really didn’t realize just how much I have truly learned until I experienced it first hand in a situation like the one I just mentioned.

The introductory finance class given in the cluster (FIN 325) was also an important class that helped to prepare me for this job. I was introduced to the stock market on a more specific level and was taught about how to “analyze” the numbers (basically, what everything means). But, like I said, the overall knowledge that I gained from all of the classes I have taken here at Ohio University have been a huge benefit to my professional career. When I began my internship, I knew that I was prepared, but I didn’t know that I could be fully prepared for the task that was laid before me.

To my relief, everyone around me was extremely helpful if I had any problems with anything and the Credit class also refreshed my memory about some of things that I may have forgotten over time. All in all, I was prepared enough to perform to the best of my ability and to add value back to National City. My overall outlook on my career and future has always been a concern of mine. I would always ask myself what kind of job of do I want to have when I graduate, where do I want to work, what will make me happy, etc. and it has always been hard for me to answer.

To be honest with you, I never thought that I would want to work at a bank, to become a “banker”. But after experiencing a banking job first hand, I feel that it is something that I truly enjoy. I feel that banking is a great place for a finance major to start off in a career because it allows one to gain an understanding about the “meat and potatoes” of the financial world. Banking is a broad field to get into because there are so many aspects of it and so many different career paths to follow. I have interviewed with a number of companies to get a feel for what is out there for finance majors coming out f college and have found that it is mostly banking or sales. I know for a fact that I do not picture myself in a sales type position (life insurance, broker, etc. ) and that banking just seems to be the right fit for me. I have had the benefit of being able to take an in depth look at what the banking industry is all about and what it has to offer to myself in regards to developing my professional career. I am happy to say that I am currently in the second round of interviews with National City for a Commercial Banking position. This is a position that I feel will be the most beneficial for me to begin at directly out of college.

I feel that this position will give me the sound financial background that I need in order to advance in my career and develop into the professional that I have always strived to become. This internship was a great experience for me, one that gave me something more than just a paycheck. National City is an excellent corporation and deserves praise for its efforts in the internship arena. Please let me know if there are any other questions that you would like answered, for I may be able to explain myself better in spoken words (592-6294). Thank you.

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