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education Updated: Nov 03, 2011 16:37 IST

The lowdown
Banks have had a total makeover in the past two decades. Today, it is not just about withdrawals and deposits, or about getting demand drafts made. Fierce competition among private and public sector banks to get the largest slice of the market pie has created a need for more probationary officers (POs ). These are people who must understand and deal with various new offerings such as online banking, securities and investments, asset management and corporate banking. A PO can be asked to handle numerous tasks, from cheque clearance to billing or working in the forex section. POs also take on managerial responsibilities later

9am: Reach office
9.30am: Finish pending work
10am: Meet clients
1.30 pm: Lunch
2pm: Analyse and work on accounts of customers; resolve their queries and process applications
3pm: Work on clearance of cheques, cash management, draft issuance etc
6pm: Leave for home

The payoff
Pay scales in public sector banks: A probationary officer’s starting salary is around R10,000. It increases with experience

* Be receptive when it comes to training and alert about bank functions
* Be co-operative and friendly with colleagues, other bank staff and customers
* Develop humane and intelligent leadership qualities, communication skills and authority

Getting there
Graduates from any stream can apply to a public sector bank as a PO. Every bank recruits its staff through a written test, group discussion and interview

Institutes and URLs
* Graduation from any recognised university. The Indian Institute of Banking and Finance, Mumbai, offers certificate and diploma courses in banking and finance through the distance learning mode. For details visit
* The Indira Gandhi National Open University offers a PG diploma in rural banking

Pros and cons
* You get to deal in numbers
* You get respect as a banker
* Brighter chances of job security
* Some clients may be very difficult to handle
* You may be asked to handle other work assigned by the bank besides the general banking and administration work
* You will be generally assigned various responsibilities as directed by a senior manager. Be prepared for training in accounting, marketing, finance, investment as well as billing

You can have a great future as a banker if you have a strong commerce background. A management degree is an added advantage
Rekha Gupta, senior officer, Allahabad Bank, New Delhi