"I am young and I too have a dream" – was a part of the speech of one of ex-prime ministers at the United Nations, echoing the famous "I have a dream" speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963.

Every youngster dreams of a good career. When you think of career, you think of the next 30-35 of the most productive and best years of your life. Before deciding upon a career, a few things need to be considered. They are

  • Industry
  • Opportunities / Challenges
  • Career progression
  • Remuneration
  • Work-life balance
  • Contribution to society and Job satisfaction

Now, regarding each of the above from a 'Career in Banking' perspective.

The industry: The Banking System is the backbone of the economy of a country. India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and the Government of India has a target of USD 5 trillion economy by 2024. To achieve this, it requires a robust banking system. The BFSI sector has adopted new technologies that help serve customers better. With a growing economy and rapid technological changes, the banking sector presents a plethora of exciting and challenging career opportunities for the youth of the nation.

Opportunities and Challenges: Commercial banks offer different roles for employees. There are various departments like Retail Banking, Corporate Banking, Rural and Agricultural banking, International Banking, Investment Banking, Wealth Management. There are various roles in areas like operations, credit appraisal and sanction, control and supervision. The head of a medium-sized branch will need to manage several hundred crores of loans and deposits. A regional manager would control 40-50 such branches, and as one rises in the hierarchy, the scope and scale of operations and control increases. The challenges and opportunities of leading a bank worth many lakh crore deposits and advances and more than 1000 branches and offices are huge! Many banks also have foreign branches and offices. The bright officers (on selection) are deputed to serve these branches, in which dynamic managers are deputed.

Career Progression: The Banking industry has a well-charted out career progression path. On an average, an opportunity for promotion presents itself once in three years. After recruitment as a Bank Probationary Officer, a candidate is designated as an Assistant Manager (Probation) and upon confirmation, his / her career path is as follows:

Assistant Manager → Deputy Manager → Manager → Chief Manager → Assistant General Manager → Deputy General Manager → General Manager → Chief General Manager → Dy. Managing Director / Executive Director → Managing Director → Chairman

If someone is recruited as a clerk in a bank, and decides to appear for the JAIIB exam conducted by the IIBF, this candidate stands a chance to be promoted as Assistant Manager (Training) within three years and after confirmation, his / her career progression will be the same as that of an Assistant Manager.

Most banks follow an annual calendar of promotions. In many banks, Scale V (Assistant General Manager) and officers of higher designations can serve even as Regional Managers. In other words, a smart officer who takes his / her career seriously, and opts for these pro,otions, is likely to reach the level of a Regional Manager in less than 20 years of time.

Remuneration: The Banking sector offers excellent remuneration and lucrative perquisites. As known, the starting Basic Pay is Rs. 23700 and the Special pay is Rs. 1837, the current D.A is at 75.90% which is approximately Rs. 19382. This adds up to Rs. 44919. There are additional benefits / allowances.

Banks pay an H.R.A of 7% to 9% depending on the location, but most banks offer Special Housing Accommodation, wherein the bank pays the house rent. However, this benefit may vary from one bank to another. In certain banks, this amount can be as high as Rs. 21000/-

Banks also offer medical benefits to their employees; they reimburse fuel charges as per the scale of an officer. Officers are reimbursed for cost of furniture / consumer durables to the extent of their eligible amount. There is L.T.C /L.F.C facility that employees avail. Officers / Employees are given incentives in some cases of cross selling business. Apart from this, they are granted vehicle and home loans at concessional rates of interest. In the case of home loans, banks sanction upto Rs. 60 lacs @ a simple interest of 6.75% - 8%, which is much lower than the prevailing rates. The savings in the interest paid is substantial.

Therefore, keeping all the above in perspective, we can say that the banking sector is a high-income sector.

Work-life balance: The Banking industry allows employees strike a work-life balance. In cases of workmen employees (clerks), there are fixed working hours. There has been constant endeavour to see that proper working hours are maintained for supervisory officials as well. Employees / Officers in the industry enjoy a reasonable number of holidays and leaves.

There are 52 Sundays and 24 second and fourth Saturdays off n acalendar year, with about 20 days of other holidays under the N.I Act. There are 12 causal leaves, approximately 30 days of Privilege leave (earned leave) and 30 days of half-pay or 15 days of full pay sick leave. This amounts to a total of 96 holidays and 57 leaves. You can now count the number of working days! These aspects help employees live a fulfilling personal life too.

Contribution to the society and Job satisfaction: As discussed earlier, banking is the lifeline of an economy. As a bank official, your contribution to the society is immense, be it in financial inclusion, timely credit to an SME, or a business decision that has the liability to salvage a corporate, many lives associated with it. By his remarkable efforts, Nobel laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank, Muhammed Yunus, made a tremendous difference to the lives of thousands of people by his innovative banking approach. You too have the scope for making a significant difference!

Thus, considering the above, the banking industry offers an exciting and challenging career choice. If you relate with the aspects discussed above, you may kick start your preparation right away. A world of opportunities await you!!

"Life is often compared to a marathon, but I think it is more like being a sprinter, long stretches of hard work punctuated by brief moments in which we are given the opportunity to perform at our best."- Micheal Johnson

Wishing you success and a bright future!!!