The term ‘banker’ refers to the people employed by banks and building societies, who are hired in a managerial capacity (junior, mid-level and senior). For the purpose of this article, the term ‘banker’ is used purely in the context of institutions that are engaged in conventional banking, i.e. accepting deposits, making loans and clearing transactions. We’re not here to talk about corporate bankers, who deal in merchant banking or investment banking.
These careers can be classified into two main categories: retail and commercial.
Retail bankers service the general public. The transactions that they are involved in are facilitated in branches across the country.
However, many retailing banking operations are now carried out using telephone helplines and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems. Transactions are also increasingly being processed through online systems (a.k.a. web-banking, net-banking or e-banking systems) and via people’s mobile phones (a.k.a. mobile banking).
Commercial bankers, on the other hand, deal with small companies and medium-sized enterprises and provide them with banking services which help them to manage and grow their businesses.
Across the board, bankers provide services to facilitate a variety of financial transactions and help clients to take advantage of a range of financial products, such as loans, bank accounts (e.g. savings, current, overdraft, fixed/recurring deposits and trading accounts) and cash, cheque, electronic and card transactions (e.g. deposits, withdrawals and purchases).
These guys also advise customers on utilising idle liquid cash in their accounts to earn higher interest rates or make investments in products such as insurance, shares, bonds and mutual funds.
Bankers act as the face of the organisation in their local community. They manage junior staff, serve customers in branch, over the phone and via the internet, set sales targets for lower level employees, manage the recruitment process and complete management reports and other paperwork as required.
You can find current vacancies on our Jobs page in the Banking, Finance and Accountancy sector.
Salary & benefits
The average starting salaries for branch-based employees range between £18,000 and £21,000.
However, management trainees recruited through graduate schemes are more likely to earn between £22,000 and £30,000.
As you progress through mid-level to senior management positions, you can earn anywhere between £30,000 and £150,000, depending upon the size of the bank and its network.
You’ll be working the standard nine-to-five office hours, partly in a customer-facing role with the rest of your time being spent carrying out administrative activities. Sometimes, however, you may be required to work on Saturdays.
Some candidates access this profession via a graduate scheme. This entry-route is open to candidates with degrees from all disciplines, not just people that have studied business or financial subjects.
These schemes are rather competitive though, so you will need a consistently strong academic background all the way through from GCSE to degree level. Indeed, most successful candidates have at least a 2.1.
However, school leavers and candidates with vocational qualifications from further education colleges can also develop a career in retail banking. However, without a degree, it’s more likely that you’ll be starting in an entry-level customer service role and working your way up the career ladder.
Training & progression
Graduate entry programmes run over a period of one to two years, depending on the individual bank. You’ll receive formal training in the various banking systems, products, services and functions.
You’ll also receive practical training through structured rotations across various departments such as sales and marketing, customer service, operations, credit policy and risk management.
Opportunities for career progression are strictly based on merit and driven by performance, achievement of set targets, flexibility and your willingness to move.
Experienced and talented employees can also move into non-transactional functions, such as audit and compliance, investment banking, corporate finance and insurance. Transfers to overseas offices and other branches are also common.