The job of a bank probationary officer (PO) is considered as a lucrative career option and a white collar job. Every year lacs of aspirants contest for PO exams. The job offers a high career growth and prospects for a bright future in banking. As lakhs of aspirants are preparing for the desirable profile of Probationary Officer every year, the competition to crack the PO exam is getting tougher day-by- day. Many candidates want to know about the responsibilities of a bank PO, what kind of job they do once they are recruited in banks. This article is an attempt by ExamVictor to address the questions – what does a Bank PO actually do? What is the job like, what is the pay and what are the options to progress in one’s career? What is the actual career path of a Bank PO? To find out more, read on!
A Bank’s hierarchy
Graduates and freshers of a college without any experience can join the banking sector as a Clerk and PO (Scale I) only on the basis of a written test and interview conducted by Banking Service Recruitment Board. Since, they join the bank at a junior level they are called Probationary Officer and they remain on probation for 2 years but actual position is Assistant Manager. These officers work as a Probationers for the first two years and gain experience in various type of banking operations e.g. loans, savings and current accounts, forex operations etc. afterwards they are confirmed as Assistant Managers. The PO has various responsibilities which are assigned by the seniors and they have to work in several departments of the bank from time to time.
A bank probationary officer post is the entry level position at which a bank officer starts work after posting. Normal prospect of this job is general banking and bank administration; however, bank POs are expected to possess excellent communication skills and the ability to resolve conflicts in a cool and calm manner.
Career progression for Officers in the Banking Sector
There is a well-defined career progression path in each public sector bank. Performance and potential are key elements which determine this career progression. Most senior officials in public sector banks started their career as scale I officer only.
Junior Management Grade – Scale I: Officer i.e. PO
Middle Management Grade – Scale II: Assistant Manager
Middle Management Grade – Scale III: Branch Manager
Senior Management Grade – Scale IV: Chief Manager
Senior Management Grade Scale V: Assistant General Manager
Top Management Grade Scale VI: Deputy General Manager
Top Management Grade Scale VII: Chief General Manager
Top Management Grade Scale VIII: General Manager
In many banks, a person who joined as an officer may reach to the position of General Manager in 14 years. After that one can aspire for the position of executive director or chairman of a bank. These are very high positions, nomination to which is decided by the Government and not by the individual banks.
Many public sector banks have a network of foreign branches. Thus, joining a public sector bank gives you the opportunity of working abroad also. Transferability in a bank job provides you the chance of seeing different parts of the country.
Responsibilities of a bank P.O.
While on the job, there are some important roles and responsibilities of PO in banks. The Bank PO is involved in various operations such as General Banking, loans, mortgages and also in providing different banking services. There are various other roles and responsibilities of a Bank Probationary Officer such as:
Bring New Business: While dealing with the customers directly, it is naturally expected to promote various products and services of the bank such as fixed deposits, mutual funds, insurance policies, credit cards etc.
Service Customers: Servicing a customer by providing the necessary information.
Handle Cash: PO will be trained about transaction software, Cash disbursal, loading the ATM machines and collection from cashiers.
Payment Clearances: Discrepancies related to a customer account will be handled by PO such as DD/ NEFT/RTGS beyond a certain amount need to be authorized and cleared only by a person of officer cadre.
Official Communication: A Probationary Officer need to keep a track of all latest developments to improve their product knowledge as they will be interacted with customers more.
Working Conditions and Incentives of a Bank PO
The working timings for a Bank PO will be generally 35 hours a week and the timings will be usually 9:00 am to 4:00 pm with outer limits of 8:00 am to 6:30 pm. The bank provides different incentives to their employee such as Leaves, Sickness, Maternity leaves, Medical allowances and Pensions etc. The annual leave will be 12 casual leave and about 30 Earned leaves in a full year calendar that operates from 1st April to 31st March. In addition to this, all bank employees will get about 12 Bank and Public holidays each year as and when they occur. In spite of leaves, there will be full pay sickness allowance is payable according to the length of the services.
Career Growth of a Bank PO
As we know with high responsibilities of the job, there are good chances to get promoted from bank PO post in every 3-4 years. A bank PO enjoys a very good reputation in society because bank jobs are considered as a reputed job. The job of a Bank PO is highly demanding and is highly secure in nature as the job governed by IBA rules and regulations. A Bank PO can retire as the Chairman of a bank as all the Chairman of Public Sectors banks have started their career as a Bank PO only.
Salary of a Bank PO
Bank PO’s salary or Bank Probationary officer’s starting salary in most of the public sector banks and even in some private banks are same. All newly recruited POs are placed in the following scale at the 1st stage of the same. (However, banks like SBI, ICICI Bank and other private sector banks have some different start for probationary officers). The base salary comes out to be around Rs 24,000 per month.
Over this amount, the following allowances would apply:
(a) Dearness Allowance: The new revised current DA is 33.7% of the Basic Pay). Hence at the current rate, the D.A. would be around Rs. 8,000
(b) Special Allowance: For scale I the special allowance is 7.75% on which DA is also payable. Hence, for this component, a Bank PO would receive around Rs. 2,500
(c) HRA: This depends on the place of posting and it would be between 7% to 9% of basic pay
(d) CCA (City Compensatory Allowance): This also depends on the place of posting and would be 3% to 4% of basic pay
In all, one can expect a total salary of approximately Rs. 35,000 per month + HRA or Leased house facility.
In addition to this, there will be various perks which will be other than salary.
So as you can see, the life of a Bank PO is interesting and full. There are a clear career path and progression to the top management. The pay and perks that go with the job are another benefits. And finally, there is the satisfaction of knowing that the hard work one is doing is directly benefiting someone else.