Getting into Banking: Non-Management Side

The Banking industry in India has historically been one of the most stable systems globally, despite global upheavals. The government has consistently strived to promote financial inclusion through various initiatives targeted to bring the country’s under-banked population under the banking gamut.

Indian Banking industry consists of 27 public sector banks, 21 private sector banks, 49 foreign banks, 56 regional rural banks, 1,562 urban cooperative banks and 94,384 rural cooperative banks. Public sector banks account for 61.21% of the total banking assets in FY19. In FY19, total assets in public and private banking sector were $1,422.97 bn and $741.79 bn, respectively.

Why a Career in Banking?

Banking is a service industry. To succeed, you should enjoy working with people. Bank employees enjoy dealing with people from all walks of life and in all kinds of financial shape.

Banks hire and train people who are interested in learning and working. Aptitude and attitude are essential to your success. If you are an individual seeking growth and challenges and are willing to accept responsibility, banks will be interested in you.

There are many opportunities to broaden your knowledge and skills at a bank. Most banks offer on-the-job training and encourage you to further your education through a variety of courses, seminars and training programs. Banks often set up tuition assistance and reimbursement programs for job-related coursework to help employees increase their capabilities for current and future positions. Many large banks have training departments dedicated to helping employees maximize their skills and talents through in-bank educational programs.

Banks offer many job duties and career path options. Most banking firms offer excellent benefits, including medical insurance and disability insurance, sick leave and vacation, and retirement options. Banking firms are highly regulated and supervised financial operations, making them safe, pleasant and rewarding places to work. These careers offer integrity and stability.

Banking is a profession that offers a huge variety of opportunities as well as the possibility of early responsibility, rapid career progression, and good pay and benefits. For those willing to accept the challenge, the rewards can be great.

How to Pursue a Career Path in Banking

Before choosing a career in the banking, it is important to know the different areas, job roles available and what it takes to pursue a particular position.

Essentially, there are 4 main cadres in a bank’s model-

  • Clerks
  • Probationary Officer
  • Specialist Officer
  • Managers & Above

Clerks

The clerical positions are the front office positions. The clerks are appointed in different sections of the banks, depending upon the requirements such as current deposit, term deposits, savings account, retail loans, agricultural loans and cash credit sections etc.

He or she maintains all the records of activities which are taking place every day in the bank in a systematic manner. Depending upon the area of interest, a clerk is given various tasks which he or she needs to execute every day.

There are various domains in which an aspirant can apply for as a clerk. These are-

  • Interest Clerk
  • Loan Clerk
  • Security Clerk
  • Exchange Clerk
  • Book Keeping Clerk

To become a bank clerk, one must pass the IBPS exam. However, if a person wants to work as a clerk in a government bank, he/she should clear the SBI Clerk Examination. One who is willing to become a bank clerk should have completed graduation from any recognised college and also be proficient in the regional language.

Probationary Officer

Indian Banking Statistics

A PO or a Probationary Officer is basically an Assistant Manager of Scale I in a bank. He/She is trained on multiple verticals such as finance, accounting, billing, investment etc. during his/ her probation period in order to acquaint them with various working procedures of the bank. A PO has to make sure that the business of the bank keeps on increasing by tending to the banks’ customers properly by handling customer complaints, addressing various customer related issues such as discrepancies in accounts, rectification of undue charges etc.

When they get acclimatized to the banks’ norms, they are provided with more serious responsibilities such as planning, budgeting, loan processing, investment management etc. It is a managerial level post offered in various Public Sector Banks in India and holds the designation of Assistant Manager in any Public Sector Bank.

The main exam among them is the SBI PO exam and the IBPS PO exam. However, a lot of banks also conduct their own PO exams which the candidate can take in order to become a probationary officer.

Also Read  Getting into Banking: Management Side

A probationary officer is ranked above the clerk in terms of grade & salary as well. But clerks can become PO through internal promotions.

Specialist Officer

While Probationary Officers and Clerks take care of the day to day operations and business in a bank, role of a Specialist Officer is to take care of all the background activities in a bank in respective specialized areas or customer facing roles.

Specialist officers in banks are appointed for various specialized roles for different departments according to their educational, technical and functionality.

All specialist officers have to clear the IBPS Specialist Officer exam or SBI SO in case of a government job. While the eligibility rules regarding age etc are same for all the different types of SO, the exams and the individual eligibility criteria might differ.

Fundamentally, there are 7 types of specialist officers employed by banks-

Information Technology Officer

An IT Officer in a bank plays a vital role as IT is the backbone of banking technology. IT Specialist Officer has to oversee the technological perspectives of Banking operations, whether it be on the software end or the hardware end. This relates to effectively using the Banking Softwares like Finacle, FLEXCUBE, BanCS, SAP etc. Initially the IT Specialist officer is made to undergo the training in above functions, so that he may troubleshoot the software, and service the computers and networks that run the Banking Business Operations.

Once the IT Specialist Officer reaches a senior position, he should be able to assess the future IT interests of the bank, plan scaling of IT infrastructure, issue tenders, and report IT vacancies to the HR department. He virtually works on enhancing the customer experience and help the bank to acquire more customers.

IT Officers are further divided into 5 categories

  • Data Centre
  • ATM Section
  • Project Office
  • Security Section
  • MIS and Application section

To be a, IT SO, the candidate must have a B.Tech. degree or should have completed his/her masters in any branch of engineering.

Agricultural Field Officer

Agricultural Field Officer is generally appointed in branches of banks placed in rural areas.

The major responsibilities include-

  • Promoting of Banking Services and Products among farmers and cultivators.
  • Evaluating of property and assets of potential customers, and providing suggestions for a reliable approach for increasing the crop yield and performance, in a way that it profits the banks as well.
  • Communicating information about latest technologies like GreenHouse and Hi-Tech Farming to farmers and explaining the related financial products like Kisan Credit Cards to them.
  • Promoting loans related to general and agricultural purposes in rural areas under various schemes framed by the government and by other financial institutions.
  • Meeting and generating leads with customers is another key responsibility that AFO holds.

A 4-year graduation degree in any field of agriculture is mandatory to become an Agricultural Field SO.

Rajbhasha Adhikari or Official Language Officer

A Rajbhasha Adhikari or an Official Language Officer in a bank is the official who is responsible for using the official language of the country i.e. Hindi as much as possible in banking operations like in circulars, notices etc. The officer is supposed to well verse in Hindi and Sanskrit so that the use of the language is not neglected in the day to day operations in banks.

The main responsibilities of a Rajbhasha Adhikari includes-

  • Translating Documents into Hindi and making sure all the circulars and notices are, sent in both Hindi and English, complied properly.
  • Arranging training programmes and regular workshop for the officials of the bank so that they are also used to the official language of the country and use it as much as possible in the daily operations of the bank.
  • Promoting Official Language in official communications along with English.

To apply for the post of Rajbhasha Adhikari, one should have either a PG Degree in Hindi with English or a PG Degree in Sanskrit with English.

Law Officer

A Law Officer in a bank deals with the legal work of the bank. Their main job includes-

  • Providing effective legal assistance in the preparation of legal opinions
  • Studying reports and correspondence, as required from time to time by various departments of the bank.
  • Working on the different bank policies, in consultation with senior managers.
  • Formulating the instructions and conditions mentioned in the customer application forms of loan, opening up of accounts, credit cards etc.
  • Appearing for respective banks in courts, sending notices to defaulting customers, and helping the bank in taking over attached properties if required.
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It is the Law Officer’s duty to make sure the bank follows all rules and regulations set by RBI. The law officers are an important part in the operations of the bank because whatever is done by the bank starting from the branch level should be compliant with concerned laws of the field.

To become a Law SO, one should have completed his/her L.L.B. and must be a registered member of the Bar Council. A practising lawyer can also apply for the post given he/she fulfils other eligibility criteria.

Law officers work at both Junior and Middle Management. Once recruited after the IBPS SO exam, they enter the junior management and are promoted to middle management over a period of time.

Marketing Officer

Marketing Officers are very important to devise strategies for effective marketing of bank products so that the Unique Selling Point (USP) are properly highlighted and it gets an edge over others’ products in the market. A Marketing SO does exactly what the marketing team does in any Multinational Company.

They mainly-

  • Manage marketing campaigns for selling a product, devise strategies for the same and execute them as well.
  • Create awareness of products among staff by organizing workshops and training programs.
  • Manage social media to ensure that the concerned bank is advertised properly and effectively on all platforms.
  • Promote products of bank to customers so that the products are sold as much as possible.
  • Coordinate with Ad Agency regarding product promotion.

The job of a marketing officer in a bank is same as that in a private sector company and there are targets for the officers as well. However, people with a flair for marketing will find it challenging. The postings are always in metro or urban area 

To become a Marketing Officer, the candidate should have completed his/her post-graduation in Marketing.

HR/Personnel Officer

HR Officers are responsible for smooth functioning of a bank since they are in charge of getting the best out of the human resource available to the bank.

Their job includes-

  • Posting / Transfer of Employees is the most common job of the human resource department of a bank since it is very necessary to have adequate workforce at all the branches of a bank.
  • Arranging Training Programmes in order to train the staff members regarding the present trends of banking.
  • Conducting Promotional Exercises in order to fill up the vacancies in the higher cadres of the bank.
  • Designing Perks and Benefits to be given to the employees.
  • Overseeing the proper release of retirement benefits to the employees.
  • Supervising the Performance of Staff.
Key Trends of BFSI Sector

HR Officers are responsible for a sound and effective human resource policy for the bank so that the human resources available with the bank can be efficiently and effectively utilised.

Any candidate applying for HR Officer must have a post-graduation degree in HR Management.

Finance Officer/Chartered Accountant

The specialist finance officer basically handles the financial matters with accounting details in banking sector. They are trained to work in a customized environment of bank.

Finance officers mainly-

  • Handle consumer’s banking requirements and advice people in important financial decisions as well.
  • Look after all the financial transactions, statements and cash flow details.
  • Check and monitor financial discrepancies in day-to-day transactions.

Sometimes banks also hire CA as a specialist officer to look after accounts, taxes etc.

To join a bank in the capacity of a Finance officer or CA Specialist officer, the candidate must have either a PGDM in finance or CFA or CA certificate with relevant experience.

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