Bank Manager Careers

Qualifications, responsibilities, career path, salaries

Think ‘bank’ and words like ‘cushy job’, ‘regular working hours’ and ‘holidays’ spring to mind. And while this might annoy the harried customer who has only a small window to make it to the bank and get their work done, bankers are not complaining!

But, mind you, a bank manager’s job is no sinecure (i.e. carefree life with all the financial comfort), not any more.

Times have changed a lot since this career track was meant for people looking for a ‘comfortable’ job in finance.

Sure, the branch manager of a retail bank does not walk a financial high wire like their (much wealthier!) colleagues and friends do in, say investment banking, trading or asset management but competition in the banking industry has become pretty intense.

One of the most stressful things about being a bank manager is making sure your branch meets its sales and performance targets and reels in fresh business at a fast clip.

And that’s only half the job.

The other half is ensuring excellent customer satisfaction, which is, of course, easier said than done. Customers can be impossible, annoying and downright belligerent, but you and your staff have to always serve with a smile.

Responsibilities: What Does A Bank Manager Do?

A bank manager or branch manager oversees a local branch of a retail bank. This means he or she shoulders a wide range of responsibilities, from hardcore banking functions to a host of managerial duties.

So it helps to be a people-person as you have to work closely with your staff and with customers.

If you’re aiming for a career as a bank manager, this is what your job description would look like.

Broadly, you would be responsible for the overall operation and administration of your branch as well as client servicing and customer satisfaction.

Your role may be further classified into hardcore banking functions, managerial responsibilities and customer-related duties.

Banking Operations

When it comes to actual banking functions, some of your key duties would be making sure your branch meets (and preferably exceeds!) its sales and performance targets; developing a business plan for your branch; implementing business, marketing and sales plans; assessing lending risk; marketing your bank’s financial products; and producing reports.

You would also oversee the flow of cash and financial instruments, make sure security and cash-handling procedures are followed; and even see that the ATM is never out of cash!

There are myriad operations a branch performs daily, and, sure, the bank manager doesn’t have to personally oversee every one of them.

But even though work is delegated, the manager is ultimately responsible even for operations such as the overall reconciliation and security of accounts touched during the day, and tallying cash to make sure there are no discrepancies within the tellers’ rolls and with the cash forwarded to the bank’s vaults.

All cheques must be bundled and sent for processing to processing centres, clearing houses and to the back office, in order to debit the accounts on which they are drawn. It’s all in the details, every last one of them.

Alas, always bear in mind, one of the primary responsibilities of any bank manager is to bring in new business.

This would mean getting new accounts; getting customers to invest the money just sitting in their savings accounts; and getting them to use the bank for as many transactions as possible.

Leadership Role in Banks

A successful bank manager plays a key leadership and motivational role among his or her staff.

He or she has to be proficient at hiring the right staff, including tellers, product specialists, loan officers and counter staff; make sure they are adequately trained and prepared to deliver superior service; and send them for training programmes on an ongoing basis so that they are familiar with new products or offerings rolled out by the bank from time to time.

And why aim only to be a good manager? An inspirational bank manager motivates their staff to deliver their best every single day.

He or she inspires them to meet their targets, plays to their strengths and motivates them to climb the corporate ladder themselves.

Educational Qualifications Of A Bank Manager

There are two ways to approach a bank manager’s job – either via the bank’s management training programme or by working one’s way up the ranks.

Ideally, if you have a college degree in a field related to banking or management, such as economics, finance, marketing, management or accounting, you would qualify for intensive in-house training, where you would learn the ropes of banking in general and of your bank in particular.

A degree in business administration is not a must but if you have one, it would immediately improve your prospects.

Earning professional credentials will automatically bump you up the ladder, not to mention improve your proficiency.

So after you land the post, you should hit the books in pursuit of certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

In India, there is always a legion of candidates seeking jobs as Probationary Officers (PO) jobs in banks.

A PO is a junior officer (of assistant manager level) who is usually recruited after passing the requisite banking exams and remains under probation for 2 years.

During this time, he or she undergoes rigorous training and is expected to become proficient in certain tasks.

But there is many a bank manager who has risen to the post through sheer dint of hard work.

Those who start their banking careers with jobs like tellers, loan officers or financial analysts require a minimum 5 years before they can eye the managerial chair.

As you work your way up, you gain invaluable experience in the operations of the branch and the corporate ecosystem in which it functions. This will stand you in good stead.

Regular training programmes will further hone your managerial and leadership skills.

Salary Of A Bank Manager

According to portals such as payscale.com, the average annual salary of a bank manager in India is around Rs 6 lakh, going up to Rs 10-12 lakh in private sector banks.

On the other hand, in the US, a branch manager can expect an annual wage of $62,000 at the entry level, $112,700 at the mid-level and $154,000 at the senior, branch manager level.

Yes, that’s quite a reality check, considering the unbelievable pay packets of a branch manager’s counterpart in investment banking and wealth management.

But, remember, those jobs come at a huge personal price.

Outlook For Banking Industry

The 2008 sub-prime crisis in the US sent shock waves through the global financial world, as banks went belly-up at regular intervals.

In the aftermath of the crisis, there have been a number of mergers and acquisitions in the banking industry, reducing the number of posts of bank manager.

Another trend in this sector has seen the popularity of online banking increase at a rapid rate. Technology is thus reducing the need for personnel. In the long run, this would mean fewer bank branches.

The good news in India is that with the economy growing, there is a pressing need for financial inclusion. Simply put, banking services are growing in Tier II and Tier II cities and small towns, creating jobs in this sector.