Banks are institutuions that take care of the money of individuals and corporates. Banks pay interest on the deposited money, provide loans to people for business or personal use. They also offer a wide range of services like exchange of foreign currency, giving advise related to investment and insurance and acting as trustees.
With the Information technology boom, a new dimension has been added to face of banking. The operations have been computerized to provide more efficient service to the customers. Most banks are now offering the facility to use ATM card so that cash can be withdrawn or money can be deposited via cheque 24 hours a day. Each and every bank provides a credit card facility to the customers to make life simpler. Not only this with the wide prevalence of the Internet, lot of banks offer an online information to the customers - one can just go to the web site and get information about the account balance etc. sitting at the desk. Home banking as a service is provided by certain banks, wherein a bank representative visit the customer's home to open an account for him/her.
There is a tremendous competition in the banking sector to come up with innovative and customer friendly schemes. Most of the banks have all their branches connected via the computer network. There is a growing need for better and better banking facilities due to international trade and industrial liberalization which have contributed a lot to the change in the banking environment. All this has created an increase in opportunities in banking jobs and a requirement for people with marketing and technological skills apart from financial background.
Nature of Work
There are various different levels at which a person can join the bank namely clerk, a Grade I officer, a Grade II officer or as a manager.
As a bank manager, a person is responsible for profit, people and resource management and strategic planning to generate more profits. There is a lot of competition due to entry of various foreign banks and financial institutes in the Indian market. Aggressive marketing and innovative policies hold the key to the success of the bank operations. A manager should be able to judge this based on the area where the operations are carried on, and the type of customers that the bank is catering to. Manager should provide constant support and motivation to the staff so that they give the best possible service to their customers. Managers need to interact and communicate with CEOs of corporates who are interested in getting their operations funded and then following up on the big customers who avail loans from the bank.
With most banks getting computerized, it has become absolutely necessary for a person to be a computer literate so that he/she is able to use the software packages to perform the daily transactions. A bank clerk is involved in various operations like keeping a record of accounts, loans, mortgages, providing services like payrolls and inventory accounting to the customers. The other positions in a bank are for typist, secretary, receptionist, safe deposit attendants, messengers, file clerks and custodians. In small banks there is a lot of job rotation of an employee, hence the responsibilities are not very clearly demarcated. However, in bigger banks each employee is specialized in his/her role.
There is an intensive training course for providing training in the actual work involved in the bank operations. Each employee goes through such a training and is allocated responsibilities which he can perform the best.
Merchant banking implies investment management. This includes management of mutual funds, public issues, trusts, securities and international funds. It involves dealing with the corporate clients and advising them on various issues like - mergers, acquisitions, public issues, capital structure decisions etc. This being the era where mergers and acquisitions are hot, the scope of merchant banking has grown to a large extent.
Treasury and Forex functions
This aspect of banking is becoming increasingly important as the forex flow in the country is increasing and the international markets are funding the operations of the corporates in India. The success of any business is measured by the fund management, this makes treasury management as a very critical finance function. Management of treasury profit center requires a wide variety of knowledge in the area of global money markets and financial instruments such as deposit certificates, treasury bills, forecasting, source evaluation and cost of domestic and foreign currency funds. Treasury and risk management ensures cost effectiveness in planning strategies in this era of deregulation.
The currency values, interest rates, share index and commodities affect the financial derivatives like futures, swaps and other tools of risk management. Corporates therefore employ well trained professionals to manage treasury and forex functions so that they can ensure competent management.
In a forex marketing job, which is an interbank job, a person needs to assess various markets on the behalf of the bank to advise corporates or other banks who need foreign currency. The job requires one to be constantly updated about the policies of the regulatory bodies, monitoring the current prices, making predictions based on analysis of trends etc.
A good banker is a person who has a well-organized mind with an eye for detail. It helps in maintenance of records accurately and neatly. The person should have a mathematical aptitude. Employees joining as officers should be able to lead, motivate and manage the bank staff. Good verbal and written communication skills help in effective interaction with the clients as well as the staff. Integrity and honesty play a major role in all dealings related to money, staff and clients. A person responsible for foreign exchange transactions needs to have a sharp, quick and analytical mind.
Entry Level Information
Candidates get recruited at 2 levels in the banks - clerical level and officer level. The procedure of selection varies with nationalized and international banks.
Selection procedure for RBI
The Reserve Bank of India is the topmost financial institution in India which makes all the policies and regulations for the other banks. It conducts tests for three types of entry level positions:
- Clerical grade
- Grade A officers
- Grade B officers
The entry point for clerical staff is in the cash department as examiners of coins and notes. They are promoted to the next grade when they successfully clear the relevant examinations after 5-10 years of service.
There is an All India Exam conducted for class I posts. Graduates, Post Graduates, CA's, MBA's in the 21-26 years of age group are eligible. The candidates are tested in logical reasoning, mental ability, numerical aptitude and general English.
The examination is in parts. Paper I is a written test comprising of General Mental Ability (Objective type). Paper II is a subjective one which has English Essays/Comprehension/Precise writing etc. Paper III is on Economics and Social problems.
Selected candidates are shortlisted for an interview which forms the basis for the final selection.
Selection procedure for other nationalized banks
Anyone in the age group of 18-26 years having a degree is eligible for appearing in the written test. The format of the test is similar to the RBI examination. Test is followed by an interview. Clerical staff gets recruited through regional boards. The eligibility and test format are the same as for PO examination.
Selection procedure for nationalized commercial banks
Commercial banks regularly advertise through their Banking Service Recruitment Board (BSRB) to recruit Probationary Officers ('PO'). Each region has its own BSRB which carries out the recruitment. Eligibility is a graduate in any discipline with an upper age limit of 28 years.
Information about the examination
The office cadre examination has 2 parts - objective and subjective.
The test of reasoning judges the analytical and problem solving skills of the candidate. The English language test focuses on the grammar, synonyms, antonyms, vocabulary etc. General awareness tests the understanding of environmental and social issues, people and events etc. The quantitative aptitude test measures the numerical ability and accuracy in mathematical calculations. The questions range from purely numeric calculations to problems of arithmetic reasoning, graph and table reading, percentage analysis, categorization and quantitative analysis. The subjective part of the paper typically involves imagining oneself in a situation such as observer in a public meeting. One has to then comprehend the situation, provide unique observations and analysis.
Selection in the interview is based on the knowledge of the subject of study, personality and awareness. Candidate's communication skills and leadership qualities are judged during the interview. Typically 30% of the candidates get selected after the interview.