Career progression of POs and Clerks in banks

In the past few years, the banking profession in India has grown to be one of the most sought-after career streams. To secure a bank job and be placed in this sector is the dream of millions of young aspirants. Lakhs of candidates appear for bank exams of nationalized and private banks of all grades so that they may have a solid career path.

Candidates interested in making a career in this sector should be aware of all the exams they can apply for and begin preparing for them as the competition is hectic, to say the least.

Clerical posts:

Point of entry: Clerical posts are the first entry point for one wanting to be a banker. Here is the job profile and other requisites for a bank clerk:

Salary & Probation: The pay scale of a bank clerk is presently Rs.11,765-Rs. 31,540 and the take-home salary (starting salary) is approximately Rs. 20,750 + allowances (Metro city) per month.

Selected candidates will undergo a six-month probation and they will be confirmed as permanent employees. The probation period may be one year for some banks.

Roles & Responsibilities: A bank clerk is the first point of contact for any customers and visitors needing guidance. Those who work at the Withdrawal Counters and Deposit Counters usually fall in this grade. They are responsible for verifying cheques, accepting and paying money, sanctioning withdrawals, issuing demand drafts and other customer-related services.

Back-office services such as receipts collections account reconciliation and tallying of balances, ledger maintenance, and other related tasks are usually done after customer hours. This is done by officers and not clerks.

Career growth: A Clerk can be elevated to the post of Trainee officers in 3 – 4 years. The banks conduct internal exams for promoting candidates to higher levels. If the candidate clears internal bank exams like JAIIB and CAIIB, they get additional increments.

Bank Probationary Officers' Job Profile: The post of a probationary officer (PO) in a PSB in India, is at a junior managerial level. This is the entry-level position in Officer grade. Bank Probationary Officers are titled Assistant Manager in public sector banks.

While most banks recruit POs through the open examination route (CWE), these days, some public sector banks and private banks also recruit POs through programs such as Post Graduate Diploma in Banking and Finance Program (PGDBF). Through this program, candidates enroll for a nine months' diploma program, followed by three months on the job training after which they are appointed Assistant Manager in a bank.

Salary & Probation: The pay scale of Probationary officers is presently Rs.23,700-Rs.42,020 and the take-home salary (starting salary) is approximately Rs. 36,000 + allowances (Metro city) per month.

The probationary period lasts for two years. During this period, the probationary officer is exposed to a variety of roles that officers undertake. Officers may be transferred frequently during this period. Upon completion of this period, the selected candidate is given the designation of Assistant Manager and is given a permanent posting.

Roles & Responsibilities: Probationary Officers are seen to be individuals with a lot of potentials, so they are given a variety of roles to perform, such as:

  1. Multitasking: They are given several banking tasks to perform to familiarize themselves with banking procedures.
  2. Customer services: POs must take care of bank customers with their cheques, passbooks, fixed deposits, ATM cards, and in case they report fraudulent activities, these officers must help them out.
  3. Varied knowledge: They are trained to provide a variety of services like Finance, Loans, Marketing, Accounting, etc.
  4. Processing loans: Probationary officers look after disbursement of loans to customers. They check the required documents for the purpose.

Career growth: After a candidate has been selected through the recruitment process and works as an Assistant Manager, he or she will come across several growth opportunities in a public sector bank. After two years of probation, one might be promoted to Manager level (in some banks, this period is three years), banks conducting exams regularly to promote employees. Officers can also be promoted on the seniority basis.

From the position of Assistant Manager, probationary officers can grow in this direction:

  • Manager
  • Senior Manager
  • Chief Manager
  • Assistant General Manager
  • Deputy General Manager
  • General Manager

Remember that the govt (in the case of PSUs) and the boards of directors (in the case of private banks) usually appoint the Executive Directors, Managing Directors, and Chairpersons from among General Managers of banks.