Employee Portraits - Cécile Bellahcene, Credit risk analyst
“My name is Cécile, I am 28 years old and I am a credit risk analyst at Crédit Agricole CIB within the Risks and Permanent Control (RPC) division. Our team is in charge of the management and operational steering of counterparty risk, in order to minimise the Bank’s cost of risk within the Corporate and Structured financings perimeter.”
Could you please describe your job as Credit Risk Analyst?
Cécile Bellahcene: As a credit risk analyst within RPC, I am in charge of a portfolio of Corporate clients in the healthcare sector, and in particular large pharmaceutical companies. My role is to identify and control the Bank’s exposure to counterparty risks. For this I am in charge of the credit requests initiated by the Front Office. After analysing and discussing with parties involved, I give independent risk advice and recommendations. Depending on the level of delegation, certain files might be presented to various internal credit committees.
What are the key moments of the year in your business?
C.B.: There are no real highlights, our workload is proportional to the workload of the Bank’s various business lines that initiate the credit requests. As part of our work we must also remain constantly informed of changes in the groups and counterparties we follow, to ensure an early warning role if necessary.
Our activity is nevertheless very correlated to the economic environment; the Covid-19 health crisis for instance and the various supportive measures set up by the French government and Crédit Agricole Group created a massive flow of files (French State guaranteed loan (PGE) requests, waivers, new money…).
What does a typical day look like?
C.B.: I am lucky because I can organise my days as I like, which doesn’t mean that I don’t have daily discussions with my colleagues and management. I also interact with many other employees, whether in the business lines, senior bankers who manage the client relationship, delegatees, and other support functions within the Bank. Our interlocutors are really very diverse, and I like this aspect very much!
Which educational and professional background do you need for your job? What are the possibilities of career advancement?
C.B.: After a scientific baccalaureate (A-level) I joined a preparatory class for two years and then Kedge Business School in Bordeaux where I obtained a Masters in management. For my gap year, I did a one-year internship in the Risk Department of Group Crédit Agricole S.A. During my studies I also spent a semester at the University of Tennessee in the United States and then did an internship at Dexia as a credit risk analyst for international public financings.
I then spent 18 months as a VIE in Crédit Agricole CIB New York, working as a credit analyst in the securitisation business line. This is an experience I recommend to all young graduates. Following this mission I was given the opportunity to join the risk teams in France.
I don’t think there is a typical path but you must be curious, have a critical mind and a good knowledge of financial analysis to be able to discuss with your interlocutors and challenge transactions.
What would you say to people who would like to join Crédit Agricole CIB?
C.B.: At Crédit Agricole CIB, we are fortunate to work in a very caring and formative environment. We have the possibility to take on responsibilities quite early and this is quite rare. There are also many career opportunities within the Bank because of the many business lines within our CIB, both in France and abroad.
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