TSB Bank managing director Kevin Murphy swapped his business suit for overalls and gumboots and headed to a cowshed yesterday.
His one-day career change coincided with this month's launch of the TSB Bank Agribusiness Centre in New Plymouth.
He said in light of the expansion, he believed the time was right for him, as an out and out townie, to learn more about what happens on a farm.
"This was my idea - in a moment of madness. I decided I needed to get my hands dirty, so I'd know what I'm talking about when speaking to farmers."
Murphy said TSB Bank had decided to ramp up its focus on the rural sector which it had been serving in Taranaki for more than 160 years.
Resplendent in clean blue overalls and gumboots, and a Taranaki rugby jersey, he conducted his one-day apprenticeship on Grassmere Farm, owned by Ross and Suzy Bolton, at Egmont Village.
He worked under the watchful eyes of TSB Bank deputy CEO Charles Duke, agribusiness specialists Craig Robinson and Neal Spragg, national business manager of marketing Rod Grant and director and livestock company owner John Kelly.
Coaching him in his new role was assistant farm manager Lee-Ann Sharp, who described him as a good pupil. In return, Murphy said he'd happily offer her a job in the bank and a mortgage.
Milking the cows in the rotary shed was more difficult than he expected.
"But once I got in the rhythm and put the cups on in the right order, it was fine. Lee-Ann was a patient coach."
His previous attempt at milking was when he was a child staying in school holidays on a dairy farm owned by relatives.
The rating panel gave him a score of 40, for an average of 8/10.
Agribusiness specialist Craig Robinson said the bank wanted to lever off the relationship it already had with a huge number of rural customers.
"They're loyal and we want to increase their affiliation with us, to cater for all their banking needs and to provide them with a full service."
He said he and colleague Neal Spragg would work closely with the bank's network of 15 branch managers.
- © Fairfax NZ News