Probationary Officers

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Clearing the Bank PO exam conducted by IBPS, SBI or RBI is the first step towards a career in Banking sector. Survive two years as a Probationary Officer, and you are virtually guaranteed a job for life. Impress your bosses with your work ethic, customer focus and hunger for success, and you will grow in the banking space and earn a managerial role.

When we think about banking, all we really see are the front-end employees, the ones we transact with on a daily basis. However, there is a lot more that happens in a bank which makes it tick. Today’s banks have diversified their activities and work in areas such as credit cards, consumer finance, wealth management, life and general insurance, investment banking, mutual funds, pension fund regulation, stock broking services, custodian services, private equity, etc.

Some of the roles on offer to PO’s include:

  • Bank Tellers: For most customers, banking begins and ends with a teller. He’s the man with all the money. You go to him to withdraw cash and you go to him to make a deposit.
  • Bill and Account Collectors: Customers are not always able to pay-off their loans on time, and it is the job of the Collector to work out a win-win situation between the Bank and the Customer to ensure that the bank does not lose out on the money.
  • Loan Officers: The loan officer is the man who takes a decision on what is the amount of loan that should be given to each person. From student to business and personal loans, the Loan Officer has the final say on lending a helping hand.
  • Financial Customer Service Representatives: One of the key jobs for a bank is to make the most of every customer they have. The person employed in this particular role looks for customers who are just using some of the bank’s services and pitches to them ideas about adding mutual funds, credit cards, net banking, demat accounts, etc.
  • Credit Analysts: The credit analyst in a bank works on checking the credit worthiness of a customer. Usually credit analysts worth with corporate clients, and after studying their financial health, determine the risk of handing out a loan and the interest rate that should be charged as a result.

To work as a manager in the banking industry, the first stepping stone is becoming a Probationary  Officer (PO).  A PO starts as a trainee officer in the Junior Management Grade Scale (JMGS) of the bank and can rise to the highest levels, becoming a General Manager, an Executive Director or even the Chairman of the Bank.

Various nationalized and Private banks conduct their own PO exams through IBPS to recruit candidates. While different banks may have their own eligibility and selection criteria, the broad prescribed format is as listed below.

CWE (PO/MT)

The Common Written Examination, conducted by the IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel selection), is one of the most important exams for those who seek a career in banks in India. The CWE is the first step in the recruitment process for Management Trainees, Bank Probationary Officers, Specialist officers and Clerks for 19 Public Sector banks and Regional Rural banks. The participating banks (in the CWE) include premier banks like Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Union Bank of India, etc.

Eligibility

Any graduate within the age group of 21 to 30 years is eligible for the CWE. For candidates from reserved categories, relaxation in the upper age limit is available.

Written Test Pattern

This 2-hour test consists of 200 questions (1 mark per question, 1/4th negative marking for wrong answers) – 50 from Reasoning, 50 from Quantitative Aptitude, 40 from English Language, 40 from General Awareness and 20 from Computer Knowledge.

Selection Process

All candidates who aspire for bank PO posts need to appear for the CWE (PO/MT) and secure the minimum qualifying marks (or higher) in order to get their scorecards. After getting their scorecards, candidates must apply to the various banks that they are interested in. Each bank may then conduct further selection processes, such as Group Discussion, Interviews, etc., separately.

SBI PO

SBI’s selection process for probationary officers consists of written tests (first phase) and Group Discussions & Interviews (second phase).

Eligibility

Any graduate within the age group of 21 to 30 years is eligible for this exam. Candidates in the final year of graduation are also permitted to appear for this exam. For candidates from reserved categories, relaxation in the upper age limit is available.

Written Test Pattern

This test includes Objective Tests of 2-hour duration and a Descriptive Test of 1-hour duration. The 2-hour objective test consists of 200 questions (1 mark per question, 1/4th negative marking for wrong answers) – 50 each from Reasoning, Data Analysis & Interpretation, English Language and General Awareness, Marketing & Computers. The descriptive test comprises précis, letter writing, essay, etc.

Selection Process

The Descriptive Test paper of only those candidates will be evaluated who have scored qualifying marks in the objective tests and are placed adequately high as per total marks in the objective test. The final merit list for each category is arrived at after aggregating the marks of Written Test, Group Discussion and Interview.

 

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