In an age of economic and information technology revolution, expansion of banking and financial sector is irresistible. Coming up with thousands of job opportunities every year, the sector receives lakhs of applications from job seekers pursuing secure and thriving career in the field.
Opportunities are immense and challenges are enormous in the prevailing bank job scenario. But banking sector was not always a sign of a growing career in the history of India. It was only after India’s economic reforms in 1991, the sector started adapting the up-and-coming scenario.
Before entering the industry, it is desirable for banking job aspirants to know how the sector emerged in the recent years. What are the scope and opportunities which attracts lakhs of people to make a career in the sector? What are challenges they have to gear up for jobs in banking industry?
Facelift after 1991
This sector has evolved over the years and faced many challenges steadfastly. And emerged triumphant. The financial sector reforms since 1991 have heralded a dramatic shift in the way banks function and operate in India. The changed environment and internal compulsions arising from greater competition and the need to improve their market share and profitability have given rise to a quest for greater efficiency. Banks have had to reposition themselves given the realities of the environment and their internal strengths and weaknesses.
Since 1991, the banking sector has become more:
Era of change
The prudential norms were implemented, interest rates were deregulated, asset quality improved, entry barriers were liberated, new products were introduced, capital was infused and risk management was improved. There was also a decline in the concentration of the banking business in a few banks. Financial industry is moving towards expanded activities driven by customer needs, financial innovations, technological change, consolidation, convergence, global competition and financial inclusion. Many challenges lie ahead such as stiff competition, stringent regulatory norms, shareholders demanding higher returns, and also challenges of globalization and financial inclusion.
Skills of a banker
What does this imply to a job seeker in the banking sector? An opportunity for a high growth, challenging career. However, you need a fairly good understanding of these opportunities and challenges to evaluate whether this is the career you want. Let us explore some of these key opportunities and challenges:
What skills you need to sustain in Banking sector jobs:
Four key skills can help you make it in this customer-centric, technologically advanced, competitive sector. Our lives are dependent on the banking sector in one way or another, directly or indirectly. It is the lifeblood of the economy. Anything, which impacts the banking system, will affect all sectors and regions of the economy. Thus, as a potential employee of the banking system, you are poised to take up a big responsibility, not only towards the institution for which you are working but also towards the entire society.
- Handling people:As a banker you need to manage people, be it customers or staff. In a competitive environment, customers have to be treated as kings. Thus, delivering financial services to the satisfaction of customer, and prompt redress of complaints of customers, if any, are very important. The complaints of customers should be heard with passion and remedial action should be taken promptly. The bankers should also take pro-active actions to increase customer awareness with regard to charges applicable to the financial services and the available redress mechanisms.
- In-depth knowledge: Banking has evolved over the years and now offers a wide range of products and services, from simple ones to elaborate complex ones. Many regulations govern the banking industry, which you must be aware of. Hence, in-depth knowledge is a must as is continuous updation. Develop and maintain a reading habit to expand your knowledge base, because knowledge is the power of an employee and once you lose it, you are nowhere. And do not restrict your knowledge base to developments in the banking sector only; rather all of you should develop a fairly good understanding of the economy over a period of time. Only then you can be a sensitive banker, i.e. a banker who is sensitive to the needs of a growing economy.
- Analytical skills: The banking business, essentially, involves managing risk. This job of managing risk cannot be done efficiently without having sharp analytical capability. As employees of the banking sector you have an important role to play in shaping the financial soundness of the banking sector. While doing the banking business, try to analyse the financial background and economic activity of the customer thoroughly. This will help in limiting the growth of non-performing loans, efficient utilization of capital and higher profitability.
- Technology-savvy: Technological advancements have transformed class banking into mass banking. With cost effective technologies banks were able to change the face of banking. ATMs, debit cards, credit cards, internet banking and phone banking have enabled customers to do banking without visiting the bank branch. Further, the business correspondent model and mobile banking depend on the latest technology to expand the banking network. Electronic transactions through NEFT, ECS and RTGS have increased the speed of fund transfer considerably. A good banker should continuously innovate and update themselves with the latest technological advancements to make banking further easier and convenient to customers. Try to develop a good understanding of the latest technological developments. A bank can implement latest technology safely only with a strong in-house technical expertise. In this milieu, you must “be technology literate”.
Gear up for exams and beyond
First, examine if you possess these competencies or are ready to develop them. If yes, ensure that you develop your competencies and are fully geared for a career in banking. This way you hit the ground running on the first day of your job at a bank. With over a lakh people clearing the banking probationary examinations every year and thousands more appearing for the entrance exams of SBI and leading private banks like ICICI and HDFC, you need to really prepare yourself to stand out from the crowd and beat the competition. A thorough understanding of these will give you an edge:
tools, techniques and technology
This will ensure that you are a productive resource from Day One, and any bank will prefer an employee who knows the job and can be given assignments from the day they join. So, invest your time and energies in learning and preparing yourself for a banking job so that not only do you get the job, you can grow and prosper in it.
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