My First Summer Internship and I Loved It
Hello, everyone! My name is Alice Mukunzi, and this summer, I interned as a Loan Officer in the Brown Summit Office with Lance Wardlaw as my supervisor and Wanda Harris as my mentor. As I prepared for the first day of my internship, nervousness surrounded me, and the fear of making a wrong impression loomed around me. All nervousness and fear were cast away upon meeting Amanda Shanks, our office coordinator, with a bright smile plastered on her face and a welcoming Lance Wardlaw, the regional manager. I met Jim Webb, John Michael Scott, Addie Thornley, and Maria Rodriguez throughout the day. That morning, I spent over an hour speaking with Lance as though I had known him my whole life. Before the internship, I had met Lance alongside Maggie Hamm and Sarah Rachels through an educational program at North Carolina A&T SU that Carolina Farm Credit sponsors. Later that week, I met Jessica Rash and Sylvia Roach-Brailey. From the beginning, it felt like family, and no existence of toxic work culture.
I quickly became acquainted with my internship mentor Wanda Harris who is a phenomenal woman and an overall wonderful person to be around. She is kind-hearted and easygoing. The following person I quickly befriended was Addie Thornley, poor Addie, a well-rounded loan officer and a horse lover. I head to her office each morning to bother her, and she lets me. I make rounds between Wanda's and Addie's offices throughout the day. What I adore about the Brown Summit office is the open-door policy and the family-oriented atmosphere that surrounds the office. I have never felt out of place or unwanted.
Next on the list was learning about the different positions and roles within the branch, such as loan officers, loan processors, credit analysts, appraisers, and home loan specialists. What left the most impression on me was the process of a consumer initially applying for a loan and acquiring that loan. Loan officers do not operate the entire loan. Instead, they work with the loan processor and, at times, a financial specialist. Having several eyes look over the same loan helps to improve accuracy and also assists in eliminating mistakes. Several other people are involved in the loan process, making it imperative to have an efficient and sufficient team. Various applications and documentation are necessary to complete tasks and move things along.
Over the next several weeks, my knowledge and curiosity increased as I was introduced to different types of customers and their needs. The process of obtaining a loan fascinated me because what customers wanted and could afford didn't always match. Some customers were not even aware of what their credit scores consisted of. Existing customers who wished for another loan could afford to do so, and in other cases, obtaining a new loan could strain their finances. These were some of the hard decisions faced by the loan officer and ponders over. Make the loan or not but keeping in mind what the auditors might think if the loan was to be pulled. Like Jim Webb said, “it's about whether or not the customer can make those payments and still support themselves. If you are trying to make a loan work, it is a bad loan.”