Careers in retail banking and building societies are all about the customer and their precious money. Retail banking concerns itself with helping customers to handle their cash, providing a variety of financial products and handling all of their transactions.
It’s very much a customer-facing operation, so anybody seeking a career in this industry must enjoy dealing with the public and the many joys and challenges that this brings!
How does retail banking work?
Whether it’s getting on the property ladder, helping small businesses with their cash flow or that new car you’ve had your eye on for a while, banks enable individuals to pay for these things. They do this by providing credit cards, mortgages, loans and overdrafts. Retail banks and building societies survive by charging fees for the services they provide.
Banks are commercial organisations that have to answer to shareholders. Building societies, on the other hand, are ‘mutual institutions’, i.e. organisations that are not driven by returning a profit for external shareholders through dividends.
However, at the branch level, both banks and building societies act in a fairly similar way. They all have customer services professionals, managers and advisors that help to facilitate customer transactions and the various financial products on offer.
When it comes to retail banking, things are not simply tied to the branch anymore. The rise of telephone and online banking has created a huge amount of different jobs, such as call centre operators or I.T. professionals.
With more and more banks looking to give more power to the customer and to switch a lot of their operations in this direction, this particular area of the industry is likely to see huge growth in career options over the coming years.
What are the different roles in retail banking?
Let’s begin at the front desk. Customer service officers are the face of the bank: they are the first point of contact and spend their time interacting with customers, assisting with queries and then directing them to different specialists within the bank.
The cashier is up next, responsible for all things cash and ‘transactional’ at the bank. If you’re looking to cash a cheque, set up a Direct Debit, make a payment to another individual or do anything else involving the transfer of money from one place to another, this is the cashier’s domain.
Bank advisors are responsible for promoting the various financial products on offer at the bank. This role is very much a sales position, where you will be required to hit sales targets and drive further business for the bank. You will need to develop particular expertise in the products you are selling, such as credit cards, loans or mortgages.
As you progress, there are opportunities to get promoted and become a business manager, bank manager or area bank manager. Business managers are responsible for maintaining all of the commercial organisations using their services, whereas the bank manager oversees the bank’s general operations and processes.
‘Bank’-ing on a career in the retail side of things? There’s so ‘money’ opportunities available in this sector, and some serious progression on the cards, so if you fancy yourself working in this area, there’s bound to be a place for you. Take a look to see if there are any graduate jobs that appeal to you!
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