A Day in the Life: The Loan Officer Who’s Trying to Like Her Job

August 25, 2022

A Week in the Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week

Today, a woman who sells loans to Nigerian police officers walks us through the chaos of dealing with aggressive officers, why she dislikes the job and her plans for the future. 

A Day in the Life of a loan officer
Image credit: POLCOOP

I have to be at work by 8 a.m., so I wake up at six. My my mum is already preparing breakfast, so I sweep the house, take my bath, eat breakfast and prepare for work. By 7:30 a.m., I leave the house. 

I work as a loan advisory officer at a company that offers loans to police officers, and my work involves convincing the officers to take the loans. It’s a weird job. Instead of outright pushing a product like the average salesperson, my work is more advisory. I show them why they need the loan and guide them through the process.

When I get to the office, it’s meetings, meetings and meetings. And then, I hit the road looking for policemen who need money.

The loan company works with the Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system (IPPIS) to offer the loans. I joined the company as a customer service agent when I wanted to move up the career ladder from being a pre-school teacher. Then the company restructured and moved me to sales. I hate anything to do with sales targets because it comes with competition.

For instance, a police officer who’d taken his first loan through me relocates to another city. When they get there, they may want to take another loan. I have to be very careful to prevent my colleagues from reaching them before me because all the company cares about is us bringing in loan requests. If I let a police officer seek loans from another advisory officer, I’ve lost. I have to be very jealous about my customers. 

Before, when a police officer tells me they want ₦100k, for example, I’d just process their loan request. But, omo, I have targets to meet o. Nowadays, I upsell to them. I’ll ask, “Are you sure?” and try to convince them to ask for more. I like this part sha, because I’m improving, and I know it’s a valuable skill I’ll need when I decide to switch careers.

My life is also full of fear. Travelling outside my state so often just to convince police officers to take loans stresses me, especially with the country so insecure. I’ve heard stories of robbers attacking police stations to destabilise them before going into town to rob. My daily fear is, what if I get caught up in a crossfire?

And I’m a young lady. Have you met Nigerian policemen? Imagine meeting them every single day. The average Nigerian policeman is aggressive so I get threats and visits to the police station often. The most recent instance was after one of them applied for a loan term of six months, and for some reason, IPPIS continued deducting from his account until the eighth month. He was refunded eventually, but he refused to let it go. He’d also asked me out earlier, and I’d refused, so maybe that’s what was paining him. He came to the office, rough-handled the customer service lady and carried us to the police station where he lied that I’d disrespected him and taken his money. 

After everything was resolved, I came to work the next day and nobody even looked at me. I don’t think I’m cut out for this kind of life, but I have to eat.

By 3 p.m., I’ve visited five police stations and scored seven leads. The economy is hard and people need more money, but I don’t know if that’s a good thing. I’m really tired when I get back to the office. Little do I know I’m coming back to wahala. There’s this drunkard policeman who comes to disturb me every other month. Even though I’ve explained how loans work to him, he still comes to complain when money is deducted from his salary. Why are police officers so dramatic?

The only thing that’s keeping me here is money. I’m currently still in school and I have to pay for it. ASUU strike is helping me because I don’t have to combine work and school for now. I can focus on work and learning digital skills. I look forward to a time when I no longer have to do loan officer work for Nigerian policemen every day. I’ve started learning content marketing through online courses. I practise what I learn during the weekend, and I hope to start it as a career soon.

Omo, it’s been a long day, and I can’t stress myself thinking too much about these things. I just want to go back home and rest.

Check back for new A Week in the Life stories every first Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m. If you’d like to be featured on the series, or you know anyone interesting who fits the profile, fill out this form.

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