What it does: Provides specialist banking needs to farmers
Staff stats: Less than 1000
The good bits: Working for an ethical bank
The not so good bits: Limited scope to earn a six-figure salary
Hiring grads with degrees in: Engineering, Maths, IT & Computer Sciences; Finance, Accounting, Economics & Business Administration; Sciences
The Rural Bank story
What was then known as Elders Rural Bank launched in 2000. It was a partnership between Bendigo Bank and (agribusiness company) Elders designed to deliver specialist banking services to rural and regional communities. Communities underserved or outright ignored by larger banks.
Around the turn of the decade, it became a fully-owned subsidiary of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group and dropped the ‘Elders’ from its name. Rural Bank’s products and services are now available – via a network of banking partners and agribusiness lending specialists – at 400 locations throughout Australia.
Farmers have specific needs and require specialised products. Rural Bank focuses on providing products – such as “everyday banking, savings, investments, retirement accounts and loans” – that “help farmers take control of their money, stay on top of challenges and grab opportunities”. Rural Bank remains the only Australian-owned specialised agricultural bank.
Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank merged in 2007. The Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group is headquartered in Bendigo. In 2017, it had revenue of $1.6 billion. Recently, Rural Bank acquired nearly 100 Elders staff to join their team.
As part of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group, Rural Bank embraces diversity and inclusion. In practice, this means staff can expect an “an inclusive and welcoming workplace”. One where “people are treated with respect, feel valued and can achieve success… [while maintaining] an appropriate work-life balance.” The bank aspires to hire the best people from “the broadest pool of candidates available” and assemble a diverse workforce that can “meet the needs of our diverse customer base”.
Rural Bank is 100 per cent Australian-owned and operated. The money deposited in Rural Bank accounts is invested in rural Australia. Rural Bank supports country Australians through a nationwide community-involvement program, as well as donations to good causes. The bank has matched contributions staff have made to organisations such as Cancer Council SA, Hutt St Centre, Meals on Wheels, Mount Gambier’s Stand like Stone Foundation and SIDS and Kids
To help forge a bright future for Australian agriculture, Rural Bank partners with industry groups including Agribusiness Australia, Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders, Birchip Cropping Group, The National Centre for Farmer Health, WA Farmers and Young Dairy Network Australia.
The recruitment process
As would be expected, Rural Bank seeks to recruit employees who are passionate about Australian agriculture. It looks for grads who are enthusiastic self-starters and skilled relationship-builders. Individuals who are eager to learn and willing to challenge the status quo (and themselves). While it doesn’t appear to have specific degree requirements, Rural Bank typically recruits grads with backgrounds in accounting, agricultural science, business, computer science, economics, engineering, finance, IT or maths.
The recruitment process for the bank’s 18-month-long ‘Ag Achievers’ grad program begins with an online application. There is no information available about the later stages of the process. However, if it is similar to that for Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s grad program, you can expect to undertake psychometric and logical/numerical testing, complete a video interview, attend an assessment centre then do face-to-face interviews.
Ag Achievers is a personalised program. The rotations you undertake will be determined by your academic qualifications and career objectives. Grad are stationed in locations across rural Australia and work in areas such as: agribusiness sales; credit and lending; finance; HR; marketing; risk and treasury.
Grads are given “exciting and challenging experiences” and “unique project opportunities”. Their skill sets are expanded through on-the-job coaching, mentoring and formal learning in classroom-style environments.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group claims to provide “competitive remuneration”. As you’ll be based in regional Australia, you won’t have the housing costs incurred by living in major financial centres. You’ll get relocation assistance if you’re transferred. Plus, if you want a loan to buy a home (or farm), you’ll get a staff discount on banking products.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group has embraced flexible working practices. Once you’ve completed the grad program, you should have the option of part-time work, remote working, job sharing and variable start and finish times. Leave options include parental leave, study leave, ‘career break’ leave and the opportunity to purchase extra annual leave. You may also have access to a share scheme and salary packaging.
Rural Bank is “committed to seeing our people thrive”. Given the size of the bank, grads have the opportunity to be mentored by senior staff, including the Managing Director.
While you may not wish to spend your entire working life at Rural Bank, especially if you dream of working in New York or London, it’s a good place to start your career. If you do want to hang around, there’s less competition for top jobs (compared to larger financial institutions) and a culture of promoting from within.
The vibe of the place
Rural Bank workplaces are down-to-earth, friendly and egalitarian. If you’re seeking a career in banking, interested in agribusiness and keen on living a community-focused and likely a country lifestyle, this could be the employer for you.
From the Employer:
"Who is Rural Bank?
Rural Bank believes the future for agriculture is bright. We are committed to providing exceptional financial services, knowledge and leadership for Australian farmers to grow, and you can be part of it. We are the only Australian owned specialised agricultural bank and we are very proud of that. We are a business that is farmer focused and future driven, meaning we are committed to innovation and providing products and services that meet our customer’s needs now and in the future. Rural Bank is proudly part of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank group, offering a specialist value proposition to Australian Farmers. For graduate opportunities within our parent company, please see Bendigo & Adelaide Bank.
Why choose Rural Bank for your graduate program experience?
We are committed to seeing our people thrive. Development is something that is in our DNA, you will have opportunities to interact with our Executive team, industry partners and our customers – each experience is designed to allow you to learn and develop in to the best version of you. We provide a personalised graduate program, tailored to suit you and your goals, whilst ensuring you enjoy a rounded experience across all areas of the bank. That means you could be working across areas such as Finance, Treasury, Marketing, HR, Credit and Lending, Agribusiness sales, Risk and more. In addition, you will have the opportunity to travel across Australia working with teams from the Atherton Tablelands in far north Queensland to Esperance in Western Australia.
What does it take to be successful at Rural Bank?
You will be passionate about Australian agriculture. You will be committed to learning new things, asking questions and challenging the status quo. You will have loads of enthusiasm, be a self-starter and enjoy building relationships. You will also be prepared to challenge yourself through new experiences. We are an organisation that is dedicated to creating a diverse workforce, embracing the differences we all bring to our communities.
What’s in it for you? What development and career opportunities are available?
If you looking for a program where you can be yourself, be open to exciting and challenging experiences then this is the program for you. Your skills will be developed and refined through both on the job coaching and mentoring as well as in class room style learning environments. The skies the limit, we will actively help you reach your potential through career pathways, skill development and providing you with unique project opportunities. You will form part of an established and constantly evolving program with a supportive graduate community."