A probationary officer (PO) can be asked to handle numerous tasks, from cheque clearance to billing or working in the forex section during the probation period. Once confirmed, the employee will do routine work related to banking. POs also take on managerial responsibilities later
What do they do?
RC Sharma joined the Oriental Bank of Commerce as a probationary officer (PO) in 1991. Though, initially, this science graduate had some problems understanding the balance sheets, he got over his limitations and now, 14 years later, is a senior manager with the bank.
Banks have had a total makeover in the past two decades. Today, it is not just about withdrawals and deposits, or about getting demand drafts made. Fierce competition among private and public sector banks to get the largest slice of the market pie has created a need for more POs in public sector banks. These are people who must understand and deal with various new offerings such as online banking, securities and investments, asset management and corporate banking.
JP Dua also chose a bank job, though he had plenty of offers with a Master’s in economics and a law degree under his belt. The former PO, now chairman and managing director of Allahabad Bank, says that an aspiring professional should join a bank with an open mind. “He/she should be ready for transfers and also be able to handle all kinds of clients.”
Talking of opportunities, Dua says, “When we joined, there were very few verticals.
One had to either go to the loan section or foreign exchange. But now you can choose from insurance, wealth management, merchant banking, etc. Today it’s all about innovative banking.” Therefore, a PO should be able to think out of the box, too.
Recalling his college days, Sharma says he was always interested in financial accounting and used to keenly follow the financial performance of a number of companies. “I believe that helped me make up my mind about being a PO. Also, in 1991, there were not many good opportunities in the science stream, so I went for a bank job,” he adds.
After joining a bank, officers do a one-year probation, during which they are assigned work in various departments, including forex operations, general banking, loans and merchant banking. Dealing with cash, selection of cheques, completing routine bank work such as bill collection, cheque clearances and loan processing etc. makes a PO familiar with every aspect of banking. After the probation period, their designations are decided on the basis of their performance.
Every bank has a staff training college where POs get 15 days of training before being posted to a branch.
The climb is fairly easy after probation. From PO to Scale II manager takes four years, but one can take a short-cut by writing the Certified Associates of Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB) examination. The CAIIB qualification also helps in further promotions.
“There is no limit to how high one can rise — you can be executive director or the chairman of a bank,” says TM Bhasin, ED, United Bank of India. “It depends on your aptitude and learning from experience while working.”
Source: HT Horizons
. Be receptive and alert about bank functions and also to the training
. Be co-operative and friendly towards the staff and the customer
. Develop humane and intelligent leadership qualities, communication skills and
How do I get there?
Graduates from any stream can apply to a public sector bank as a PO. Every bank recruits its staff through a written test, group discussion and interview