Banking Career

As on March 31, 2000, there were 33 private banks and 43 foreign banks operating in the country. The 27 public sector banks still hold the biggest share of the banking business, accounting for about 83 per cent of the total deposits and 80.50 percent of the total advances.

While nationalised banks struggle with their baggage from our socialist past, winds of change are sweeping other segments. Modern day banks are not mere suppliers of money. They have become providers of a wide range of services. Provided the government rectifies its policies, banks can provide a host of services such as selling insurance, mutual funds and investment opportunities, as in other countries. More dramatic are the developments in technology. Today, traditional business models are being challenged. Customers can do all their banking transactions while sitting at home. Banks are introducing Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) cards and, lately, debit cards as well. This promises to change the face of banking forever.


There is also a viewpoint that traditional banks may not survive in this century. Banks and providers of other financial services, it is argued, stand between lenders and borrowers. The Internet threatens to put these two groups directly in touch with each other. Should this happen, will it not reduce the function of banks?

The Internet is thus a great force for “disinter mediation”. Unlike other items of manufacture, money can be stored and transmitted electronically, and once this trend catches up, it may well lead to the “fourth disinter mediation” in the banking sector. The first was the growth of mutual funds and insurance policies which ate into bank deposits, the second was the development of capital markets, and the third was advances in technology. In many developed countries, Internet banks have drawn away deposits from traditional banks. These could be early signs of an upheaval that we may well witness in the present decade. Technological advances may well make online storing and payments so secure that people will turn to electronic banks. It will not be surprising if firms use the Internet for raising finance as well, without the assistance of banks, in the future.

Careers in Banking
Banking has emerged as one of the most challenging sectors in the country. Openings are available at various levels, from Bank Clerical to Probationary Officers (PO). There is great job security and the salary is very good, besides the perquisites of loans for employees. It is a lucrative career: till recently careers existed only in nationalised banks, but with liberalisation, a host of private banks have been set up. As a result, demand for trained professionals has increased substantially. The private banks offer better salaries but then the job security is also less.

Recruitment for the public sector banks is done through the Banking Service Recruitment Boards (BSRBs). The advertisements for recruitment appear in newspapers as well as the Employment News. Recruitment is done on the basis of a written test, which consists of:

a) Test of Reasoning
b) Quantitative Aptitude
c) General Awareness
d) English Language
e) Descriptive Test

The test is qualifying in nature and the marks obtained are not added in the final merit list. It is held on Sundays. Except for the descriptive portion, all other sections contain objective-type questions. In Reasoning, there is verbal and non-verbal sections. In English, the test is aimed at judging the overall comprehension and understanding of the language. The descriptive paper can be answered in English or Hindi. It judges the written expression of the candidates. All sections must be qualified.

How to Prepare
Bank exams — both clerical and PO — are taken by lakhs of candidates. There is intense competition as the number of vacancies is small. A high degree of preparation is required in order to get through.

To be successful, regular practice in all the five tests is essential. All the sections are adequately covered by The Competition Master. To supplement their efforts, candidates may refer to books published by Khanna Brothers, Chandigarh.

It is advisable to do the basics first. These can be done from class 10 books. After this, start doing section tests, from Reasoning, Maths, English, etc. Try to get a good score in each section. After that, do some full-length tests which contain all the sections, within the stipulated time. Candidates are also advised to prepare for the interview simultaneously and take care to develop their personality and confidence. After the written examination, the short-listed candidates are called for an interview. General questions are asked to check the candidate’s General Awareness and relevant issues related to Economics.

For the descriptive paper, refer to the model paragraphs and descriptive questions published in The Competition Master. The candidate must have a good expression and the sentences must be grammatically correct. An important aspect is hand-writing. Many candidates write almost illegibly, which examiners cannot read. They are thus unable to get a good score. Efforts must be made to improve your handwriting as well, as this could be a major shortcoming in the written paper. Apart from this, it may be said that the candidate must be aware of current issues to be able to write something on them.

There are a number of books and correspondence courses available for bank preparatory examinations. There is, however, no substitute for self-study and self-preparation. Regular studies, systematic preparations, self-confidence and regular practice, is all that is required to pass this exam.

Different routes
While recruitment in nationalised banks is done through the BSRB, recruitment in private banks is direct. The jobs are considered more glamorous as most private banks give preference to high value accounts. One route is to join these banks after serving for some years in a nationalised bank. But these banks recruit MBAs and Chartered Accountants directly as well. Lower down the line, fresh graduates can hope to find jobs as direct marketing executives, personal banking executives and home banking executives. For such jobs, all that is needed is a pleasing personality.

One can also do a specialised course in banking from a number of universities offering such courses.

Among these are:
University of Madras, Centenary Buildings, Chepauk, Chennai-600005, which offers a Certificate course in Banking.
The Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh-202 002, offers a 1-year course.
One can also do a Diploma in Bank Administration from Ravishankar University, Raipur-492 010.
Guru Ghasidas University, PO Koni, Bilaspur-495 009.
Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak-124 001.
Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara-390 002.

Other universities offering diplomas or certificate courses in different aspects of banking (law, management and administration, masters degree) are:

Gujarat University, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad-380 003.
Utkal University, PO Vani Vihar, Bhubaneshwar-751 004.
Annamalai University, PO Annamalai Nagar-608 002; Sri Venkateshwara University, Tirupati-517 502.
SNDT Women’s University, 1, Nathibai Thackeray Road, Mumbai-400 020.
University of Rajasthan, Jaipur-302 004.
Shivaji University, Vidyanagar, Kolhapur-416 004.
Marathwada University, Aurangabad-431 604.
Bhartidasan University, Palkalai Perum, Tiruchirapalli-620 024.
Manipur University, Canchipur, Imphal-795 003.

The eligibility criteria is different for different courses and candidates are advised to check these out directly from the universities concerned.

Job Prospects

As banking is a growing industry, the job prospects are good. In nationalised banks, one can expect regular promotions while in private banks it is performance that is rewarded. Promotions may be swift for deserving candidates. But it is not necessary to be a banking professional only to get into banks. As financial services are getting automated, the industry requires a large number of computer experts, both in computer maintenance and software. Private computer service contractors are also in great demand. It would be important to have a BE or MCA degree for such jobs.

Bank jobs come with responsibility. As the banker handles other people’s money, it is a job that requires trust. The person must also be service-oriented and like to look after customers. This is where private banks score over nationalised banks, but as profitability begins to play a major role in nationalised banks, there is bound to be pressure there as well to keep customers happy.

One reason to be excited about banking as a career is the rapid change taking place. Not only is there fresh competition, but technology promises to change the face of banking forever. The jobs are becoming comfortable, in the sense that the physical environment is pleasing and computerisation has taken the load off tedious jobs such as balancing accounts. As competition increases, a good banker will certainly be in great demand.

On the other hand, a career in banking entails frequent transfers. Also, it must be remembered that a banking job involves working long hours. When accounts are to be finalised, a bank employee has to put in long hours indeed.

Assess your aptitude before you join a career in banking.

All jobs require hard work. The personality required is a mix: for marketing and meeting customers an outgoing personality is required, while for keeping accounts a diligent and persevering attitude is required.


Most of us like to save something for our difficult times. On the other hand there are some people who need finance to start or expand their business. Here the banking services step in. A bank mobilises people surplus money to meet the objective of national economic growth. Today banks not only serve as savings bank but render many more services such as to provide safe custody for our valuables, to lend money against property, to accept deposits, to issue traveler cheques etc. Banks provides employment opportunities to men and women both. There are various types of banks :

Reserve Bank of India,
State Bank of India,
Nationalised Banks,
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD),
Co-operative Banks etc.

The recruitment procedure although competitive test varies from one type of bank to another.


a. Staff Officer Grade ‘A’ Examination
Selection for this class I post is made on all- India basis by Reserve Bank of India services Board, Hong Kong Building, 6th Floor, M.G. Road, P.O. Box- 10009, Hutatma Chow, Mumbai-400001, set up in July 1968.
The Board functions on the lines of UPSC and conducts various examinations for recruitment of officers grade. There is reservation of posts for SC/ST categories.
Qualifications : Bachelor’/Master’s Degree (50%) or Chartered/Cost Accountant with Bachelor’s Degree or Degree in Management.
Age : 21-26 years.
Subjects for Examination : Written test consists of :
Paper I : (Objective type) Test of Reasoning, Test of Quantitative Aptitude, Test of English Language, General Awareness.
Paper II : (Descriptive type) English-essay, Precis Writing/ Comprehension.
Paper III : Economic & Social Problems (Descriptive type)Those who qualify written test are called for interview.
Examination Fee : SC/ST : Nil, Others : Rs. 60/-

b) Staff Officer Grade ‘B’ Examination
Qualifications : MA/M.Sc./M.Com. (55%), Ph.D/Chartered or Cost Accountants with a Bachelor’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree (60%) or Post Graduate Diploma in Management with a Bachelor’s Degree. For SC/ST Candidates : Degree (50%) or Pass class in Post Graduate Examination.
Age : 21-28 years, (Maximum 26 years for degree holders). Relaxable by 5 years for SC/ST, Ex-servicemen, Relaxable by 3 years for OBC candidates.
Subjects for Examination :
Paper I : Objective type : Test of Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, General Awareness.
Paper II : English.
Paper III : Economic & Social Problems.
Paper II & III are assessed only if Paper I is cleared.
Written test followed by interview.
Pay Scale : Rs. 4825 – 10350 plus benefits.
Examination Fee : SC/ST : Nil, Others : Rs. 60/-

a) Probationary Officers Examination :
This examination is held by Central Recruitment Board (State Bank Group) Madhuli, 2nd Floor, H/2 Shiv Nagar Estate, Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai-400018. For recruitment of Probationary Officers in State Bank of India and its associates banks : State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Indore, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Suarastra, State Bank of Travancore. There is reservation of posts for SC/ST, Ex-Servicemen and OBC etc.
Qualifications : Degree
Age : 18-26 years, Relaxable for SC/ST, OBC, Ex-Servicemen.
Subjects for Examination : Paper I (Objective type) : Test of Reasoning Ability, Quantitative Aptitude, English Comprehension, General Awareness.
Paper II (Descriptive type) : Essay, Letter-writing or Precis-writing in English.
Those who qualify written test are called for interview.
Pay Scale : Rs. 4250 – 8050 plus benefits.

b) Clerical Cadre Examination (Regional Recruitment Board)
This examination is generally held annually to recruit the clerical cadre in State Bank of India and its associates banks. There is reservation of posts for SC/ST, Ex-Servicemen and OBC etc.
Qualifications : Degree
Age : 18-26 years, Relaxable for various categories as per rules.
Subjects for Examination : Paper I : General Awareness, Reasoning Ability, English Language, Numerical Ability.
Paper II : Essay-writing, Letter-writing, Precis-writing.
Pay Scale : Rs. 1750 – 5500 plus benefits.
Examination Fee : SC/ST, Ex-Servicemen : Nil, Others : Rs. 20/-

In Nationalised banks, the recruitment is made through competitive test held by Banking Service Recruitment Boards.
A. Probationary Officers Examination :
There are 15 Banking Service Recruitment Boards in the country. These Boards recruit probationary officers and clerical cadre for the Nationalised banks. There is reservation of posts for SC/ST, Ex-Servicemen etc.
Qualifications : Degree
Age : 21-28 years, Relaxable for SC/ST, OBC, Ex-servicemen.
Subjects for Examination : Paper I (Objective type) : Test of Reasoning Ability,Quantitative Aptitude, English Comprehension, General Awareness.
Paper II (Descriptive type) : Essay (In English or Regional Language), Letter-writing or Precise-writing in English.
Pay Scale : Rs. 4250 – 8050 pm.
Examination Fee : SC/ST Nil, Others Rs. 70/-

B. Clerical Cadre Examination :
Qualification : For Clerks, Typists : Degree or 10+2 (50%) or Diploma in Banking (50%) or Matriculation (60%).
For Stenographers : Matriculation
Relaxation in percentage of marks in qualifying examination for SC/ST, Ex-Servicemen and physical handicapped.
Age : 18-26 years, Relaxable for certain categories as per rules.
Subjects for Examination : Written exam. (200 Marks)
Objective Test: Reasoning Ability, English Language, Numerical Ability, Clerical Aptitude
Descriptive Test: Three out of four questions of short essay or exposition type on a given proposition , situation to be answered in Hindi or English.

For the posts of typists and stenographers, proficiency in typing and shorthand with the following minimum speed is required :
English Typing Speed 30 wpm
English Shorthand Speed 80 wpm
Hindi Typing Speed 25 wpm
Hindi Shorthand Speed 60 wpm
Proficiency test for Typist/Stenographer is given if they qualify in written test. Those who rank high in the written examination are called for an interview(100 marks) Final selection is on the basis of candidate’s performance in written tests and interview taken together. Probation period is six months.
Pay Scale : Rs. 1750 – 5500 plus benefits.
Examination Fee :Rs. 20/- for one post. Rs 10/- for each additional post. No fee for SC/ST/PH, Ex-Servicemen.

(Recruitment Section, Poonam Chambers, Dr. Annie Besant Road, Post Box Number 6552, Worli, Mumbai, 400018)
a) Development Officer-Grade ‘B’ Examination
Qualifications: Master’s degree in Economics/Agricultural Economics (50%), Ph.D, desirable.
Age: 24-32 years, Reliable for certain categories as per rules.
Subjects for Examination : Preliminary & Main Examination.
Preliminary Examination : (One objective type paper): General Awareness, English Language, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning Ability.
Main Exam: Three Paper’s
Paper I : General English & General Awareness
Paper II: Economic and Social Problems.
Paper III: Economics/Agricultural Economics.
Examination Fee: Rs. 50/-

b) Assistant Development Officer-Grade ‘A’ Examination
Qualifications: Degree/Master’s Degree(50% )
Age: 21-26 years. Relaxable for certain categories as per rules.
Subjects for Examination: Preliminary & Main Examination.
Preliminary Examination :(One Objective type paper): General Awareness, English Language, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning Ability.
Main Exam : Two Papers
Paper I : General English & General Awareness
Paper II: Economic and Social Problems.
Examination Fee: Rs 50/-

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