Banker Career Information
What a Banker does
Banking in India has come to a full circle from the time when you had to wait in a queue to collect cash to getting it delivered at your doorstep at no extra cost. Add to that services like phone banking, Internet banking, 24 hour ATM, draft delivery at home, etc. and you have service spelt with a capital.
Though the contemporary banks' services have changed a lot over the last few years, the core function has remained the same. Banks handle deposits and withdrawal of money, provide loans, pay a part of the surplus as interest and the rest is kept back for the smooth functioning of the bank and profit making.
Banks' functions can be divided into various divisions like:
Retail/Personal Banking: This division provides a range of financial services to individual customers and small companies. It operates mainly through branch networks. Retail banking includes routine transactions like deposits and withdrawals of money; money transfer; foreign currency exchange and traveller's cheque encashment.
They also deal with personal and small loans, credit and mortgages; insurance policies; investment schemes; pension funds; and advice to customers on various financial matters. Apart from offering home loans, car loans, educational loans, consumer loans, etc. they also develop various deposit schemes and help people fill their coffers.
Corporate Banking: They deal with medium to large-scale companies and government agencies. It could start at the local branch manager level, though more complex dealings are routed through corporate divisions of clearing banks and their merchant banking subsidiaries.
Corporate banking deals with credit and advances, trade finance, foreign exchange management, asset management, lease financing of heavy equipment, infrastructure, machinery, credit risk assessment, etc. They also advise clients on matters such as corporate mergers and acquisition, raising capital and business strategy regarding competitors and outside factors.
Merchant Banking: Investment management is the primary activity of this group. It could be on behalf of corporate clients, or institutional investors-like pension funds, investment trusts, or those in the securities business. This group also handles public issue and marketing of shares, debentures and other such papers. It may also include other stock market functions like dematerialisation services, investment advisory services, etc. Merchant banking executives research into capital market, advice and manage funds of various corporate and individual customers.
Treasury group: This group takes care of the total funds of a bank including foreign exchange reserves. Responsibilities include bank portfolio management, dealing in foreign currency, etc. There are Forex (foreign exchange) dealers in this group who exclusively deal with the foreign market. They buy and sell foreign exchange at the minimum exchange cost thereby earning maximum profit from the transactions.
Rural Banking: This group deals with the banking and credit needs of people in the rural sector. Not all banks have this group and some banks have separate subsidiary companies for rural banking.
Product Management: This group conceptualises various banking services and then develops, implements and manages them. They have the responsibility for a banking product (meaning services like personal loans, home loans, credit cards, loans against shares, educational loans, etc.)
Apart from these main functional groups, there is an appraisal group to analyse economic feasibility of industrial projects, the bank's exposure to financial risk and long term returns. There are internal auditors who audit the bank's internal books of accounts.
There are various groups of professionals like lawyers, engineers, agricultural scientists and economists who work in various departments in advisory capacities. They help make decisions on issues that are legal, technical or economic in nature. For example, the economist advises various functional groups on the implications of the Union budget on the business of the banks, consumer buying pattern, etc.
The term 10 to 5 no more holds true for bankers. This is mainly true for the officers. There is constant pressure to perform well. Typically, in a private sector bank and in public sector banks (like State Bank of India), you may join in as an Assistant/Clerk or as a Trainee Manager/Probationary Officer. As a Trainee Manager or a Probationary Officer, you will be rotated through different functions for the initial four years.
Once you have completed a series of management/officer level postings, your progress and performance will be reviewed and you will be assigned as a Branch Manager in any town or city.
In some banks when you join as a management trainee, you are generally trained in all aspects of banking for the initial two years. Then, you are assigned the responsibilities of an Assistant Manager in a particular functional group or you become a Branch Manager.
After 2-3 years of experience, you are given independent charge of a product of a functional group. Another 3-4 years of experience may see you as the head of a functional group.
• In various private sector banks like HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank, ICICI Bank, Centurion Bank, UTI Bank, etc.
• In various multi national banks like Citibank, American Express Bank, ABN-AMRO Bank, Standard & Chartered Bank, etc.
• You will find opportunities in public sector and nationalised banks like the State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Allahabad Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Central Bank of India, Canara Bank, etc.
• You can find work in various co-operative banks like Bharat Co-operative Bank, Saraswat Bank, etc.
• In the public sector you can even work for speciality banks like the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Gramin Banks, Industrial Reconstruction Bank of India, etc.
• You can also work in regulatory banking authorities like Reserve Bank of India and its regional branches.
Commercial banking is a cyclic business - when the economy does well, so do bankers. But the last few years have seen a very healthy growth in the banking industry. The leading banks in the public sector, almost all the private sector banks and the foreign banks have seen their net profit grow by about 60 per cent. This shows that the banking industry is definitely on an upswing.
Many multinational banks like HSBC, Deutsche Bank have entered into the personal banking business targeting small customers.
Though the growth in net profits does not always lead to a growth in manpower, the number of managerial level staff as well as professionals is increasing
Apart from the traditional banking jobs, other jobs in banks are increasing. For instance, as the banks are leaning towards sophisticated technology there is a growing need for information technology professionals.
It is true that there are more opportunities in the officer cadre than in clerical cadre. In fact, the recruitment at the clerical/assistant levels is negative. Most of the public sector banks are reducing their manpower recruitment in the clerical jobs. But overall, as banking is a growing industry, the job prospects are good.
There is one final reason to feel enthusiastic about a banking career. Many of the services are now available at your fingertips. It's a result of the rapid changes in the banking functions and redefinition of the concept of banking as a whole. These will definitely lead to rapid changes in careers in banking and generally pull the industry upward.
Abilities & Traits Required
• Analytical and reasoning skills
• Good mathematical abilities
• Excellent communication skills
• An attitude to serve people and a pleasing personality
• Strong leadership abilities and organising skills
• Ability to take initiatives
• Ability to work in a group
• Always open to learning-new skills, new methodologies, and so on
You need to be a graduate in any stream to get into a nationalised bank as a Probationary Officer.
But to qualify as an Assistant/Clerk you need to have completed your 10+2. MBA is preferred in almost all the managerial positions in a bank. Private Banks generally recruit their managerial staff from top business schools across India.
After HSC in commerce you could specialize in Bachelor of Banking and Insurance (BBI) or Bachelor of Accounts and Finance (BAF). This is offered by prominent commerce college in affiliation to the Mumbai University.
Professionals like Chartered Accountants, Agricultural Scientists and Engineers are also taken in as management trainees/officers. Other professionals who find positions in banks are MSc/PhD in Economics, Lawyers, Statisticians, Company Secretaries and Information Technologists (i.e. those with an MCA/BTech. in Computer Science or equivalent).
For entry in the clerical/assistant level, private banks have a minimum educational requirement of graduation. You stand a better chance if you have additional qualifications in computers, marketing management or any secretarial course.
Senior professionals in Marketing, Human Resource Development, and Information Technology as well as those from financial services companies also find opportunities in banks.
• A Management Trainee in a public or private sector bank: Rs 240000 -500000 or more p.a.
• Officer Trainee/Probationary Officer: Rs 100000 - 120000 p.a (gross salary in a public sector bank). Plus, this job offers annual increments and all the perks that go along with bank jobs-casual leave, privilege leave, sick leave… the list just goes on and on and on!
• Officer trainees in private or multinational bank: Rs 144000 - 160000 or more p.a
• Senior Executives in a private sector or multinational bank: Rs 1200000 -2400000 or more p.a. If you perform well it will take you about 7-10 years to reach this level. Even at the middle level, you can expect to get about Rs 600000 -900000 p.a in a private sector or multinational banks.
• Senior Managers in public sector banks: Rs 30000 - 50000 a month.
That's not all. You could also opt for an outstation transfer once you reach the officer level. And your pay-cheque will get fatter and fatter. Thinking four-figure? Think bigger!