Every year, lakhs of young banking aspirants appear for the IBPS PO exam, hoping to land their dream job – Probationary Officer of a bank. It is considered one of the most privileged white-collar jobs in the country. The recruitment process is generally for public sector banks as well as regional rural banks. IBPS stands for Institute of Banking Personnel Selection. This is the body that conducts the exam for the post of probationary officer in banks. The post is called probationary officer as candidates who are selected after the IBPS PO exam and interview, are trained and are under probation for 2 years.
The role of the probationary officer is an entry-level position with 2 years of training. The gross salary of a Bank PO is around Rs 37,360 to Rs 38,700, depending on the bank and location of posting. Probationary officers may also receive travel allowance and reimbursement, apart from HRA, CCA, medical allowance, special allowance, and dearness allowance.
To become a probationary officer, candidates need to clear the IBPS PO exams. There are two exams that candidates need to take – IBPS PO Prelims and Mains. The IBPS PO Prelims exam is a 1-hour exam, consisting of 3 sections – English language, Numerical Ability, and Reasoning Ability. There are 100 questions in total and the maximum marks are 100. To qualify for the IBPS PO Main exam, candidates need to clear the cut-off in all three sections of the Prelim exam.
The IBPS PO Main exam consists of 5 sections and the total duration of the exam is 210 minutes. Maximum marks in the IBPS PO Main exam are 225.
Those who clear both the exams are then selected for the final phase of the procedure – the interview. It is a crucial part of the selection procedure as candidates are tested for abilities such as behaviour, communication skills, ability to work hard, personality and problem-solving skills as well as leadership qualities. The interview carries a maximum of 100 marks and candidates need to score 40%, the minimum qualifying marks. It is usually of 15 to 20 minutes wherein a panel of bank officials ask candidates about themselves, current affairs, the banking sector, general awareness, etc. After this, a final merit list is prepared based on the marks obtained in the Main exam and the interview.
Once IBPS PO candidates are selected, they are appointed as Probationary Officer. They will hold this position throughout their probation period. They are trained in the Training Academy of the bank and this procedure varies with each bank.
After their training, candidates are posted to another branch, depending on the bank, and undergo probation of 2 years. During this time, candidates are exposed to the different aspects of the bank such as general banking, cash management, billing, front desk, cheques, marketing, investment, finance, loan processing, deposits, issuing of DDs, and other banking activities. With this, they can familiarize themselves with the day-to-day working of the bank.
After the probation period, the candidate is confirmed as a probationary officer. They are mainly responsible for conducting the day-to-day operations in the bank they are recruited for. The responsibilities of the candidate as a probationary officer include –
- Managing the front desk – Generally, customer services are handled by clerical cadre appointees. However, probationary officers are also required to handle customers. While managing the front desk, the probationary officer will guide customers, handle their complaints, introduce them to the products available and issue ATM cards, checkbooks, DDs, etc. They also help customers to open new accounts as well as handle deposits and loans.
- Bringing in new business – The probationary officer is also responsible for bringing new business to the bank by promoting new products and schemes for the customers. To pitch these offers, probationary officers often have to personally visit clients and offices because there aren’t specific marketing or sales executives in the public banking sector.
- Supervising work – One of the major responsibilities of a probationary officer includes supervising the work of bank clerks such as account opening, dealing with customers, and cash management. They are also required to authorize and check cash transactions as well as proofread the entries made by clerks.
- Handling various departments – The probationary officer is required to have a working knowledge of the different departments of the bank including loans and advancing, accounting, finance, and marketing.
- Processing loans – The probationary officer is responsible for supervising the process of loan transactions such as providing and documenting loans.
- Cash handling – Since there are various government schemes linked to the banks of the nation, the responsibilities on the shoulders of the clerks of the bank have increased tremendously. Due to this, it has become necessary for probationary officers to handle the cash section. Probationary officers might need to open a temporary counter in the bank to disperse cash deposits and transactions. Sometimes, banks also assign the maintenance of ATMs in particular regions to probationary officers.
- Payment clearance – Typically, bank clerks are authorized with most cash payments and transactions. However, in case of a certain amount on DD, cheque, RTGS or NEFT, and other payment models, they would need to take authorization and clearance from the probationary officers. If bank clerks face any problems during a transaction, probationary officers are responsible for solving those problems.
- Reporting and verification – The probationary officer is responsible for making an account daily and closing it every day, to match the day-to-day banking activity. Probationary officers are supposed to log in to their system with their details and print out the statements. They manually verify each transaction and record to check for any differences or errors. Then, they are supposed to report and verify the documents and information to the regional as well as zonal offices, regularly.
The career growth for probationary officers is as follows –
- Assistant manager
- Deputy manager
- Branch manager
- Senior branch manager
- Chief manager
- Assistant general manager
- Deputy general manager
- General manager
Hence, if you are an aspirant looking forward to giving the IBPS PO exams and become a probationary officer, see more and learn everything about the IBPS PO exam.