How to Get a Probationary Officer (PO) Post in Indian Banks
How to Become a PO in a Bank
In this article, you'll learn:
- What a Probationary Officer Is
- Benefits of the Job
- PO Duties
- Salary and Job Requirements
- Opportunities for Promotions
- How to Prepare for the Exam
What Is a Probationary Officer?
The banking sector hired nearly 45000 people as Probationary Officers in its 2009 recruitment drive. The State Bank of India (SBI) advertised 1500 more PO posts in January 2013.
The most exciting career options in the banking sector are Probationary Officer (PO), Management Trainee, and Special Officer (SO). POs in the State Bank of India receive a cash component of Rs 30,370/- per month in addition to a PF contribution of Rs 4673/-. Officers posted in Mumbai receive Rs 29,500/- per month towards lease rental for housing.
Benefits or Perks of the Job
The amount of perquisites or benefits will vary depending on the place of posting. Perquisites in SBI total Rs 4130/-. The Bank provides full medical aid to employees and three-fourths of the cost for family members of the employee. A main attraction for bank employees is their entitlement to low-interest-rate loans. A leave allowance is provided for travel to home or anywhere in India according to bank rules. A PO posted in Mumbai will receive a total compensation (including emoluments in various forms) of Rs 8.0 lakh per annum.
PO Job Profile
A Probationary Officer may be assigned any or all of the activities listed below:
- General banking: Maintenance of customers' current and savings accounts, including collecting and clearing cheques, issuing drafts, accepting term deposits, processing loans, and issuing debt securities.
- Housekeeping and supervisory functions: Assigning duties to subordinate bank staff for the smooth running of the bank’s routine activities.
- Other work: Bank management can assign a PO to any other banking-related work.
Salary and Job Requirements for POs
A revised salary scale was due to take effect in November 2012. The latest advertisement (January 2013) by SBI for recruitment of POs gives the pay scale as Rs 14500-600/7-18700-700/2-20100-800/7-25700 (Junior Management Grade Scale I). Successful candidates will get a starting basic pay of Rs 16,900/-, which will include four increments of Rs 600/-each.
The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection in Mumbai conducts a common examination for all twenty public sector banks in the country. To be eligible for the examination, one needs to be a graduate in any educational stream (any major) with 60% marks (there is a 5% relaxation or allowance for candidates in exempt categories).
There is no end of opportunities for people recruited as a bank PO. But recruits should become familiar with job requirements. Probationary Officers are expected to learn not only routine banking activities, but also how to increase their bank's volume and market share with new banking activities such as online banking, insurance, asset management, corporate banking, securities, and investments.
Opportunities for Promotion
There are lots of promotional avenues for people choosing Probationary Officer as a career option. The new PO goes through a one- or two-year probation period, becoming familiar with the working of various departments, including general banking, loans processing, cash handling, bill collection, cheque clearances, and loan processing.
Depending on his or her performance during the probation period, he or she may eventually be promoted to Manager, Senior Manager, Assistant General Manager (AGM), Deputy General Manager (DGM), or even General Manager (GM) in a public sector bank.
After serving for four years, a PO becomes eligible for the post of Manager (a Scale II post). However, qualifying departmental examinations or examinations conducted by an approved agency such as the Certified Associates of Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB) may help a PO get promoted at the earliest possible date.
State Bank of India provides career development opportunities, including opportunities for foreign postings. POs will be subject to a screening process during their probation clearance. Qualifying officers will be placed either in JMSG I or MMGSM II depending on their performance during probation. Hard-working officers have a chance to reach top management grade in a reasonable time.
Eligibility for the Exam
A candidate must be between 21 and 30 years old as of a reference date prescribed by the bank. Usually, though it may differ form bank to bank, the upper age limit is relaxed by three years for OBC candidates and five years for SC/ST/Ex-servicemen.
A "general" graduate or post graduate candidate, having marks of 55% or more in graduation/post graduation and marks of 60% or more in class XII, is eligible to register online as a candidate.
For a candidate belonging to the SC/ST category, these requirements for graduate and Class XII marks are relaxed by 5%. Some banks require that test candidates have a certificate from a Government-recognized training institute showing basic knowledge of computer applications, while others just require a working knowledge of computer applications.
Successful candidates are placed on a merit list based on their performance on a two-part written examination (consisting of an "objective" test and a "descriptive" test) plus an interview examination.
A. Written Examination
Objective test : 200 points, 2 hours duration
(i) English language (grammar, vocabulary, comprehension)
(ii) General awareness, marketing and computers
(iii) Data analysis and interpretation
(iv) Reasoning (high level)
Descriptive type test: 50 points, 1 hour duration
Candidates who achieve a high percentile ranking in each of the four sections of the objective test and score an aggregate of 40% or above (for the "general" category) or 35% or above (for the "reserve" category), will be evaluated by a descriptive test.
This test covers the candidate’s knowledge of the English language and has four sections: comprehension, short précis, letter writing, and essay.
A list for further consideration is created based on the aggregate scores on both the objective and descriptive tests, and includes only those candidates with aggregate scores of 40% (general) and 35% (reserve).
B. Group Discussion and Interview
Depending on vacancies, candidates who have qualified based on the written examinations (objective and descriptive) will be called for group discussion and interview. The maximum score for this part is 50, that is, 20 for the group discussion, and 30 for the interview.
C. Final Merit List
The final list is prepared based on scores on the written test, group discussion, and interview. The score on the written test, which has a maximum of 250 points, is converted to a 75-point scale, and the score for the general discussion and interview, which has a maximum of 50 points, is converted to a 25-point scale.
Candidates will be ranked based on the resulting 100-point scale. The top-ranking candidates in the final merit list will be selected.
How to Prepare for the Written PO Examination
The questions on the written tests are not difficult, but they are numerous. Applicants need to manage their time and attempt as many questions as they can to achieve high marks in the prescribed time.
Understand the pattern of questions being asked in previous examinations. Banks tend to have similar types of questions.
Business Compass is a good magazine for preparing for the section on general awareness and business (marketing). Several newspapers (The Hindu, The Hindustan Times, Times of India, Business Line) can help you improve your English language as well as your IQ.
You should have good logical and reasoning abilities and try to practice as many exercises as possible from different practice books.
Many banks are replacing questions about numerical ability and quantitative aptitude with questions about high-level reasoning ability. This change in policy is due to the increasing use of core banking solutions and computers, which makes expertise in numerical ability less relevant.
Banking Job Notifications - with January 2016 last date
Recent banking job notifications are summarized here for the use of interested viewers and periodically will be updated. Hence, viewers must visit this section at least once in a month.
- Corporation bank has invited applications for the posts of peons, HKP and PTS etc. Last date is January 7, 2016.
- Canara Bank has advertised posts of Tech. Field Officers, & various others categories. Last date to apply is January 12, 2016.
- SIDBI needs one hundred 'Assistant Managers' for which applicants have to fulfill the formalities before January 11, 2016.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
© 2010 Crusader