Skills for being a relationship manager - Hindustan Times

Skills for being a relationship manager

Hindustan Times | BySyed Amir Ali Hashmi, New Delhi
Apr 14, 2010 10:21 AM IST

If you have amazing people skills and an inherent ability to solve problems, you will do well as a relationship manager, says Syed Amir Ali Hashmi

Swati Gandhi had always wanted to join the banking sector. “When I was in Class XI, I was fascinated with the work profile of bankers, and was impressed by the respect they get from their customers,” says this relationship manager (RM) with Axis Bank.

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Gandhi, who joined the bank 10 months ago, after completing her MBA (finance), feels that the job is giving her everything she ever wanted. “I started off as an NRI RM and was also handling forex. It’s interesting being an RM as you get to meet a lot of people. You are part of the chain that makes and maintains relationships with the customers on behalf of the bank,” she says.

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What Gandhi likes about her job is that her profile is very well defined. “As an RM you have to do field as well as desk work, which gives you a taste of both the worlds. Because of this, the growth prospects here are tremendous,” she says.

Different banks have different profiles for RMs. However, some of the common profiles are: If you are an acquisition manager, you have to acquire clients and focus on fieldwork to get business for your branch. As a service relationship manager, you have to sit in office and resolve the problems that the customers of your branch have. You also try to sell the bank’s products and services to the customers — new or old.

Another benefit of working for a bank is that promotions are frequent. If your performance is good, then you can be promoted from the post of RM to that of a manager in two to three years.

“It is a performance-driven field. If someone comes to you with a problem, then you should have the capability to solve it within a specific time period or else explain to the customers the various ways in which or s/he can get it solved,” says Gandhi.

With promotions come salary hikes. Then you get incentives on completion of targets, which is in excess of your monthly salary or cost to company (CTC).
The toughest part of the job is that you have to have loads of patience. You might encounter impatient/angry customers — some of them might have high expectations when it comes to service delivery and will demand quick solutions to problems. “If you give them a good hearing and manage to placate them, or solve their problems, then you can be sure you have won their loyalty for your bank. This is the time when your mental capabilities are tried and tested,” says Surinder Khanna, RM with a reputable bank in Delhi. “Fitness also counts as you may have to spend a lot of time out in the field. Building a rapport with your customer is important as you might have to meet him or her again and again,” says Surinder.

What’s it about?
Relationship managers or RMs look after the administration of a bank branch. They also look after the direct sales associates (DSA) and direct sales team (DST). Checking files, forming DSA teams, training people, making DSAs aware of various policies of the bank, creating relationships with customers are some responsibilities that RMs share. They also take feedback about DSAs and DSTs from customers. They have to ensure that a bank’s services are topnotch, making a customer feel safe and pampered

Clock Work
8:30 am: Leave home
9:30 am: Reach office
10 am: Brief DSAs and DSTs; fix targets for the day
11 am: Check files (loan), check CASA files (current account, saving account)
11:30 am: Process files
12 pm: Check Credit Investigation Bureau of India Limited (CIBIL) rating
1:30 pm: lunch
2:30 pm: Follow up on the credit team files
4-6 pm: Check files for the day, taking reports from DSAs and DSTs
6:30 pm: Leave office

The Payoff
. Relationship Manager: Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 a month
. Branch Manager: Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 a month
. District Manager: Rs 55,000 to Rs 65,000 a month
. Regional Manager (AVP): Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh a month
. VP (North, East, West, South): Sky is the limit

Good administrative skills
. Good communication and presentation skills
. Sound knowledge of product
. Networking capabilities
. Good at strategising

How do i get there?
Taking up maths or commerce at the plus-two level helps. A BBA degree at the graduation level will make it easy for you to handle the job. Some banks promote executives to RM, some directly recruit MBA freshers for the post of RM. However, many banks will only take candidates with an MBA degree

Pros & cons
Money is good in this profession
. Good work culture
. You get to interact with interesting people/customers
. Long working hours
. Stressful job

Institutes & urls


Indian Institutes of Management (Ahmedabad, Kolkata, etc.),


Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University (FMS), New Delhi,


Management Development Institute, Gurgaon,


International Management Institute, New Delhi,


FORE School of Management, New Delhi,

Demand set to rise in the next five years

A retired banker talks about the opportunities and challenges

How important are RMs to banks?
The demand for RMs will increase in the next five years. Banking will expand because the focus will be on finances, and with this the role of RMs will also expand. RMs are important for banks because they are the people who bring business to the bank. They also coordinate between the bank and its customers.

What advice would you give to someone interested in working as RM?
This is a very specialised job that requires specific skills. Also keep in mind that in the coming years as the demand for RMs increases, competition for this position will become tougher as employers will prefer candidates with specialised skills. You have to keep adding to your skills to stay ahead of the competition.

What kind of growth opportunities does an entry-level candidate get?
As an RM is the focal point who deals directly with customers and then coordinates with seniors, s/he develops good contacts/network. This helps him/her in life.

What are the changes that are likely to affect the industry/profession in the next few years?
In the coming years the importance of RMs will increase because banking is becoming more and more competitive. Specialisation will be required as a lot of technical changes are also taking place in the banking business. Another change is that the finance sector is becoming the focus and India has more scope as everyone is looking to us for all the financial solutions.

Kamal Bhushan, former director, Oriental Bank of Commerce interviewed by SAAH

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