Banking & more
The country’s economy is growing at a steady pace and this has been passed on to banks in a big way. Banks offer huge opportunities and this is largely because they have diversified into various other products from their core banking area. Manoj Sethi tells you more
With millions of Indians still in the preliminary stage of accessing banking services, jobs in this sector offer a lucrative career option and promise steady and fast growth for generation next. According to the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection 2012 examination, around 7.5 lakh people applied for the IBPS PO CWE II exam and approximately 12 lakh applied for the RRB CWE conducted by IBPS in September 2012. With the upcoming IBPS CWE PO III scheduled to be held in October, the organisers are hoping that many more people will take the test.
There are some changes that have been made in the eligibility criterion. As per the new rules released on July, 2013, the applicant must be a graduation in any discipline from a recognised university with minimum age of 20 and maximum age of 30 years. Relaxation for reserved category as per rules are also available. Computer literacy is not mandatory.
IBPS PO CWE-III Exam pattern
Online test: The online IBPS PO CWE III examination has five sections with a maximum total of 200 marks. The duration of the exam is two hours. There is a lot of speculation about the number of questions in each section. This will end once the IBPS releases the information booklet. The descriptive examination has been scrapped.
Preparation: The IBPS PO CWE III marks candidates on the bases of quantitative and reasoning skills, English language, general awareness and computer knowledge. For the quantitative aptitude, the aspirant should be thorough with the fundamentals of Mathematics up to school level. Also, s/he should focus on simplifications (BODMAS rule) and data analysis. For reasoning, the aspirant should focus on verbal reasoning like general intelligence, analytical puzzles and critical reasoning.
The aspirant should get acquainted with reading comprehension, vocabulary and basic functional grammar. For the general awareness category, about 1/3rd of the questions asked previously were on the banking industry and related products. The aspirant should also focus on current events of the past six to nine months in both national and international arena, Indian economy, sports, awards, literature etc. The computer knowledge section includes computer fundamentals, basic computer architecture, operating system, networks, internet, software concepts, memory based questions, DBMS and MS office.
Scope in the banking industry
For a very long time now, banking jobs have been considered as very prestigious. The best part is that bank employees are hardly ever discharged from employment as part of a downsizing move, as Indian banks continue to grow and prosper at an amazing speed. Bank jobs were earlier considered the domain of only finance graduates, but now graduates from every stream stand a chance as banks require candidates in various capacities.
The economy of the country is growing at a steady pace, and this growth has been passed on to banks in a big way. Banks offer huge opportunities to young people, and this is largely due to the fact that they have diversified into various other products than just core banking. The pre-requisites for a bank job in today’s environment are good communication, management and analytical skills along with knowledge of computer operations.
Performance and potential are key elements which determine career progression in this sector. In tune with the times, banks have reviewed their promotion policy and now bright, hardworking and knowledgeable employees take less time to move to higher scales. Those who join as clerks may be promoted as officers, as per banks norms. For bright candidates, in some banks, the promotion from a clerk to an officer is possible in a period as short as one year. Most of the vacancies in higher scales exist in middle management grade II or III. Professionally qualified people (with qualifications like MBA, CA etc.) stand better chance in this regard.
Most senior officials in public sector banks, who started their career as clerks or scale I officers, have in due course, reached the level of general manager. After that, the position of executive director or chairman of the bank is also open. These are very high positions, nomination to which is decided by the Government of India and not by individual banks.
Many public sector banks have a network of foreign branches. Thus, joining a public sector bank also gives one the opportunity of working abroad. The new rules of competition require recognition of the importance of consumers and the necessity to address the needs through innovative products supported by new technology.
The skills required to improve personal banker style are people skills, organisational skills, product knowledge and the ability to relate that to client needs, quick learning abilities, analytical skills, proficiency to use excel in roles across operations and business analysis and process improvement.
Expansion and Developments
The growing Indian diaspora, with its strong home country linkages, seeks a unique combination of Indian ethnicity and global standards that offers a valuable niche opportunity for Indian banks. Banks have diversified their activities and are getting into new products and services that include opportunities in credit cards, consumer finance, wealth management, life and general insurance, investment banking, mutual funds, pension fund regulation, stock broking services, custodian services and private equity.
The expansion of the banking sector and its convergence with other financial sectors, such as insurance, NBFCs and capital markets, retirement of existing employees and financial inclusion have created myriad opportunities in the banking sector. Infrastructure, risk management, banking and financial services, management information systems and customer relations management are a few areas which seek specialisation.
The announcement of an All Women’s bank by the Government of India and the allocation of an initial capital of `1000 crore in the Union budget and RBI to dole out licences to corporate houses and others for launching new banks are the latest developments which provide lucrative opportunities and options to aspirants.
The writer is course director, Bank PO Exams, T.I.M.E. (Triumphant Institute of Management Education).
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