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Inside Tic:Toc: Karl, Credit Team Lead

4 min read

Bailey Underwood

Some call him the no-stressor credit assessor. Others, Karl. This time for Inside Tic:Toc, we spoke with one of Tic:Toc’s Credit Team Leads, Karl, who helps oversee the running of our Operations team.

Usually working at break-neck speed speaking with customers and approving home loans, we managed to snag the elusive Karl for an exclusive chat.

Your name and title, please.

My name's Karl Janisch and I’m a Credit Team Lead here at Tic:Toc.

How long have you been in credit assessment and how did you get into the role?

Good question! I've just passed my one-year anniversary which was the end of July. I've been here since August 2019. Dare I say I'm in my mid-40s these days, and I've been doing credit assessment, or banking and finance in particular, for the better part of 20-odd years. I’m quite well-versed, if you like, in the credit industry and credit assessment as well as operations.

Wow, so you’ve been in credit from day dot. Was this what you were always doing?

Yeah, so a long story short in the essence of time: when I was 18, I was at a crossroads — do I head down the path of uni or doing a little part-time job at a bank in the state where I'm from? And as fate would have it, I actually applied for this part-time job over the summer when I matriculated from college. I decided to take the part-time role in the branch at the bank where I was at. I started credit assessment thereafter and I’ve been doing it ever since, obviously through different roles but ultimately doing credit assessment and working in banking and finance.

And it certainly has evolved over the years. Along the way there've been some roadblocks in the industry, for obvious reasons, which ultimately as an industry we’ve certainly come through it really well, I think. I think it’s a good thing our industry is so robust and regulated compared with other countries – our economy’s thanking us for it, so it’s great.

What would you say is your favourite part of credit assessment?

There’s actually lots of parts! Ultimately, it’s coming to work and ‘doing the do’. I really enjoy the analytical side of things, although obviously part of our role is automated and is digitally taken care of. That human element where we get involved using our skillsets and experience, that’s quite rewarding. But the underlying thing is with the customers, when you ring them up to build rapport for the initial introduction, and then being able to finally say “your application was approved, congratulations” – I think for the collaborative efforts, that's quite humbling and rewarding. I love the job but, ultimately, it's the human interaction that goes along with this that makes me tick, and that’s the biggest thing.

At the end of the day, our customers come to us for a reason, whether it's monetary – to save money month-on-month with a refinance – or to buy their first home, for example. Every customer is important and it’s important that we speak to and interact with them, and the customers are just so appreciative for our efforts to get their loan approved. So yes, it's what makes me tick.

What do you think is a common misconception facing Credit Assessors or credit assessment in general?

That's a good question. Potentially the mundaneness, if that's a word, or the monotony of the role. And what I mean by that is obviously you come to work, there's your allocation of work for the day or there are the requirements for the day or for the week. You come to work and it's quite easy for some people to perhaps fall into the trap of a production line or conveyor belt, where you've got all this work in the working queue as a team or in your own personal working queue. You might have an influx of emails that come in from customers or documents being uploaded to work on. Some people might see that as overwhelming, or they come into work and just go through and assess loans and perhaps treat the loans or applications as a loan, as opposed to an individual person or people, which is a big trap for young players.

So obviously even though yes, we do assess loans, we've got to realise as well that there's actually human beings at the other end of the transaction. And if we can add a bit of flair or razzle-dazzle, or a bit of our own wits or charm or whatever, then that obviously helps. But to answer the question then yeah, I suppose if like-for-like colleagues or people in the industry treat those customers as a customer then that's a big tick. If they turn it into more of a transaction and just another loan that hits their desk, then that's not necessarily a good outcome for everyone.

...we Credit Assessors, I think we're underrated. You know we’ve got to be psychologists, psychiatrists, we've got to be data analysts, and again we’ve got to use a bit of personality to get the ultimate result for customers...

Karl Janisch, Credit Team Lead

Karl Janisch

Credit Team Lead

What do you think that people don't know about Credit Assessing?

I’d say that this is always the old barbecue-on-the-weekend sort of chitchat with your friends or families: there's always this bit of a misconception that perhaps because of us Credit Assessors, that's why we had a Royal Commission and there was these rogue practices in place etc, which you know I certainly sort of put those to bed quite easily when they come up. Thankfully I feel those have been mostly stamped out now which is pleasing.

But back to your question, we Credit Assessors, I think we're underrated. You know we’ve got to be psychologists, psychiatrists, we've got to be data analysts, and again we’ve got to use a bit of personality to get the ultimate result for customers which sometimes isn't easy but, that's a good challenge to have.

How did you first hear about Tic:Toc?

Great question. Funnily enough, I used to work with MyBudget Loans, a subsidiary of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and a local business here in Adelaide. Even though MyBudget Loans were a different entity within Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, I heard about Tic:Toc whilst I was working there. Tic:Toc’s reputation was that it was an industry leader and were second to none as well as being a local start-up company at the time. So going back 12 months or so ago, Tic:Toc had been in existence for about two years but had been kicking a lot of goals in the two years that it'd been trading and putting its stamp on the industry locally, but were starting to hit the ground running nationally as well. So yes, I heard it through my own means by wanting to stay savvy in the market and knowing what's going on in the industry.

What is your favourite part about working at Tic:Toc?

Definitely the people and the culture. I’ve worked in numerous business units and organisations over the years and — I don't say this loosely — but it's only probably been one or two other business units I've worked with in the past where I totally loved coming to work. And I mean obviously you come to work from time to time and you have ups and downs. But I just love coming to work for the interactions we have within the team itself, and this extends to our senior management and with our colleagues, the Development team etc. So, although that I’m Operations aligned, I've taken it upon myself over the 12 months that I've been here to get to know a lot of people across the whole business and not just be confined to my team. I want to continue developing as an individual, but also from a team perspective – cross-team collaboration is important, especially if we want to deliver customers their ultimate goal of buying their first home or refinancing and saving some money. That makes me tick week in week out.

How does working at Tic:Toc differ from your previous roles?

Culture’s the big thing. I'm a big believer that if you buy into the culture of the business, which starts from the top down, then that obviously makes for a better workplace. I see everyone on the same page here. Everyone's fully understanding of people's values, their own personal beliefs and all that as well. There's no prejudice. We all do get on really well when it comes to “look, all right we need to knuckle down and achieve greatness” whatever that looks like on a short- and long-term basis. That’s the biggest difference here.

We're unique at Tic:Toc in that our Credit Assessors get to use custom-built technology made in-house. What type of opportunities do you have to influence development and provide feedback?

There's a lot of collaborative discussions at Tic:Toc. Working in other previous businesses, it's more “right, it’s time to do it this way”, and you don't really have any buy-in to the process or process improvements which can be quite frustrating. Whereas here, whether it’s your direct team leader or the Operations manager or senior leaders – again, it's basically everyone within the business who has that collaborative mindset to improve efficiencies within the process or within the business. That ultimately improves productivity and output, but we definitely have buy-in in regard to that, whether it's just our templates which might be a standard email template we might use or doing some workshopping or testing in regard to some new process improvements that we’ve shared. There's a lot of collaborative effort between the Operations and the Development teams which is awesome, and yet quite humbling and rewarding as well.

Further to that, it's clearly defined and streamlined. If in Operations, for example, we identify some deficiencies with a process or part of the system, then we can always lodge that as an item to further develop and test. It starts at the grassroots levels which is really good that we have buy-in and then we work on the project if an idea evolves from that.

The Tic:Toc team are a pretty diverse and social bunch. What are some of your favourite ways to engage socially with others (whether that’s our shared lunches, Friday drinks, or anything else)?

All the above to be honest! Humour plays a big part and part of my DNA is being a bit of a workplace clown. There are a couple of us here on the team, and it helps to break up the monotony and goes a long way in ‘doing the do’. I’m also one of two Social Coordinators in the Ops team, and also part of the Tic:Toc Social Club which extends to the greater business. Having fun goes a long way to building morale in the workplace and to make it a really enjoyable place to come and work.

We’re pretty lucky to work in such a cool city like Adelaide. What is your favourite part about the city and, more generally, South Australia?

I'm originally from interstate so I've only lived in Adelaide apart from Tassie. I love Adelaide – the weather here is really good. Even though we might have 40-plus degree days in summer – that ain't that bad after all. Adelaide winters are quite respectable compared to where I've lived previously. Adelaide’s quite a vibrant city and we’ve got a sustainable population which is evolving and growing. And, the infrastructure here in Adelaide is taking off which is awesome. Working in the city, at Tic:Toc, there’s a great vibe and good hustle and bustle within the CBD. It's easily accessible via public transport or driving, and the lunchtime variety is great and within walking distance. There’s also the Hills and Vales – we’re a little bit spoilt that we’re only half an hour to 45 minutes from the CBD to go to some nice wineries.

What is the most common positive piece of feedback you hear from customers either about your service or about Tic:Toc generally?

I play a small part in the big puzzle, so customer service and being customer-centric is one of the things I pride myself on. When you have a customer contact you multiple times with queries, I'll take that personally. One, I probably haven’t set expectations properly with them. Or two, if they’re contacting me more way more regularly than perhaps necessary, then I probably haven’t explained myself properly. But the personal feedback that I receive from customers is quite the opposite, especially when they’re very pleased with the interactions and support. The rapport that I build up with them, which is paramount early into the process, goes a long way to achieving the goal of an approval in a short timeframe. I try to go in with a collaborative pitch with customers. For instance, if supporting documentation or information are received, say overnight, then I'll make sure I jump on this tomorrow to get an approval by close of business tomorrow night. Setting expectations with customers does go a long way to achieving customer satisfaction and then hopefully exceeding their expectations on delivery.


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