Banker Careers

How to Become a Banker

One of the great things about a career in the banking sector is that you can enter the industry with no formal qualifications. Don’t expect to stay that in that situation for long though.

Become a Banker

Given the jobs are with large high street banks, the training is provided internally with funding supported by most employers. Sometimes that training can take you from the initial starting point of a personal banker, or bank clerk, usually referred to as the cashier, where you can prove your ability to listen to customers and advise on the most suitable products the bank has to offer, and in turn increase your monthly sales quota.

Part of the job in the majority of banks will require a sales element. Sometimes working to targets.

There are usually financial incentives to meet your sales quota, but the more important aspect is the financial investment banks will put into their staff training. The best place to get started in banking… keep an eye on all the major banking websites for career opportunities.

There are jobs available for both entry-level and graduate positions. Usually to get involved in the corporate banking sector, a degree in a business or finance related field would be required, but for those already in a position at any level, so long as you can prove your talent, you will find there’s scope to climb the career ladder.

That’s actually a prerequisite for the majority of positions. To have the drive to further your career. If you’re willing to put in the dedication and commit to further your career, you’ll find the banking sector is widely open to investing in your future. In order to get your foot in the door, it’s advantageous to have some level of customer service experience, in addition to working in a sales environment. Both elements are part of the job every day and you will need to be exceptionally good with people in order to progress in this field.

At the core of the service you’ll be providing will be centred on helping customers manage their personal finance as best as possible. That could be providing assistance on opening a bank account, or advising on certain promotions available on different savings accounts the bank may be looking to increase for their portfolio.

A firm understanding of business and finance is what banks will give you, and if you can approach the job market with some training under your belt, it’ll better equip you to stand out from the huge other pool of potential candidates in the running for any vacancies. Until a vacancy does arise, you’re best to work on building up your CV to show employers your true potential and that you’re worthy of investing in. Progression can be made into investment banking further in your career, at which point you’d be negotiating deals and managing investments on behalf of customers.

Career levels vary across the banking sector with entry-level positions beginning at the personal banking level where you’ll work as the cashier on the front desk dealing with customer transactions, queries and the sales of banking products. Internal training could see you progress to a graduate level job in the banking industry when you could train to become an investment manager or perhaps a hedge fund manager working within the corporate finance industry. Or even a branch manager if that’s your goal. It’s that first banking job that paves the way for an array of opportunities you could pursue further along in your career when you could move into the private sector, or even land a lucrative job as a city banker.

For those who already have a business, financial, or managerial related degree, there are additional opportunities with many retail banks and investment firms to join their graduate training program.

Banker Training

There are no universal banking qualifications as the industry is far too wide for a one size fits all qualification. Instead, you need to think about the career path before you approach any training programs. The broader scope of the banking sector can be split into two sectors.

  1. 1) Retail banking
  2. 2) Corporate banking

Retail banking jobs are in high street banks, dealing with personal banking customers and small business owners. It’s where you can find yourself providing financial service advice, selling mortgages, insurances, stock brokering, foreign exchange etc.

On the job training is provided by most retail banks with training programs managed in-house enabling you to progress within the bank. You could start as a bank clerk, and either go through an internal graduate training course to further your career, or receive sponsorship to study part-time.

Studying part-time and keeping the HR dept. up to date on your latest certifications is a good way to progress internally in retail banks. Corporate banking is a much tougher environment and harder to break into.

Typically, you can expect graduate jobs to require you to be qualified to an Honours Degree at minimum 2:1 level. Any of the following subjects would be advantageous to get started in corporate finance:

  • Law
  • Business
  • Management
  • Finance
  • Maths
  • Economics
  • Accountancy

The most sought after jobs in prestigious London banks may require candidates to hold an MBA. (Masters of Business Administration) You can find shadowing opportunities available in some private banks where you can leverage that to obtain relevant voluntary work experience, otherwise work experience within a banking role would be advantageous to employers.

Sub-categories of banking qualifications include:

  • Bank Compliance: Covering anti-money laundering compliance and financial crime prevention
  • A range of qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland
  • Training programs offered through the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (CFA)

For graduates looking to get into banking on an advisory or investment capacity, the Graduate Foundation College has been founded by the Financial Skills Partnership. In association with the college are organisations including:

  • Aviva
  • The Institute of Financial Planning
  • The Department for Work and Pensions
  • The International Compliance Association
  • The Personal Finance Society

To name a few, so there’s no doubt that graduate banking jobs are in demand in both the public banking, and private banking sector.

The banking industry is regulated by the Financial Services Authority and as such qualifications for advisory positions, such as stocks, shares, investments etc, are mandatory. In a time of financial reform, following the financial collapse of a number of lenders, there is also the newly adopted twin peaks system in place to protect UK consumers from financial misconduct. That involves a further two regulatory bodies.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

The PRA is the strong arm of the Bank of England, overseeing regulation of retail and investment banks, and insurance firms.

The FCA are responsible for policing the investments industry and promoting health competition. Training will need to broaden your knowledge on the regulatory issues involving the banking sector.

As new legislations are rolled out, qualifications awarding bodies will be likely to update their training courses in accordance with government initiatives, so it is best to keep an eye on available courses. As the banking industry is in a time of reform, there is a need for everyone in the banking sector to continually stay abreast of regulatory changes affecting their roles. Continual training will be required throughout your career.

Qualifications will be required for career progression, with the majority of employers supporting staff growth in education. Any appropriate studies can be advised by employers on what they’re staffing requirements are, and you can find financial support towards continued training. However, entering personal banking can be done with no formal qualifications, as at the bottom rung of the banking career ladder, recruiters pay more attention to your ambition than they do to qualifications.

There are also apprenticeship opportunities available for a hands on approach to training.


Banking Training

What kind of training can you get?

There are lots of different courses that are offered to people who have an interest in learning more about the banking industry. Most of them will however focus on one part of the industry rather than trying to cover everything.

For instance you could study for a Diploma for Financial Advisers. Another example would be Risk Management in Banking and Finance. Yet another diverse example is an undergraduate course in Banking, Finance and Management. You can see they all have their own unique slant, so it is wise to consider your potential career in banking before choosing any form of training.

Is some banking training offered as on the job learning?

Yes it is. Most positions you could apply for in the world of banking will result in giving you some on the job training if you are successful in getting your chosen position.

If you have basic GCSE qualifications you may be able to apply for junior roles within the banking industry and then work your way up. You would learn through performing your daily tasks and receiving on the job training. This could help you decide what avenue you would like to get more banking training in.

Does banking training have to be done at college or university?

If you want to take a professional course of some kind then yes, you would normally study at a college or university. Some courses are studied full or part time, depending on where the course is on offer. You may be able to study through distance learning if you already have a full time position in the industry.

On other occasions your employer may be able to fund and support your learning, as it will be beneficial to them for you to further your skills and build your qualifications as well.

Supposing you already have a degree?

Not everyone comes into banking straight from school. Some people change careers partway through their working lives. In this situation you may be considering the number of qualifications you already have.

Some banks will consider any form of degree, but clearly anything to do with banking, business or management will be more favourably received. In addition to this you should have excellent English and Maths skills, and good interpersonal skills as well.

Banking training is available in lots of different ways and situations. The more familiar you are with the opportunities in the banking world, the easier it will be to identify what kind of training will benefit you the most.

Banking Jobs

When you think about banking jobs what is the first image that comes to mind? Probably a bank clerk sitting behind the counter, taking your money for you and paying it into your account.

But this is just the visible side of a bank. In truth there are other jobs in this industry that you might be more suited to. If you are interested in starting a career in banking, find out all you can about the range of jobs that is available. This should help you find the right job to apply for.

Banking Jobs

Entry level jobs

These may be on a graduate level or simply available to people with no previous experience in the banking industry. Graduates may be taken on as trainee managers for example, while other entry level jobs include the cashier position we are all familiar with.

Retail banking or investment banking?

Most people think about high street banks when they consider jobs in this field. But in reality there is investment banking as well, which is a whole other side to the banking arena.

Investment banking positions may include derivatives trading jobs, foreign exchange market jobs and positions for analysts. In contrast retail banking positions include customer services jobs, accounting jobs and even public relations jobs.

As you can see there is sometimes the possibility to move from one career to another within the same job role. A good example would be for an experienced accountant to move from the building industry to the banking industry. Even though the industries are completely different, the skills required from the accountant would be much the same.

Do you have qualifications?

Most banking jobs require basic qualifications at the very least. Beyond that some roles may require a degree, but it largely depends on the bank and the role you apply for. It is not just educational qualifications that are required. Sometimes vocational experience may help your application too. For instance if you want to become a cashier or customer service assistant you would benefit from already having been in a job where you dealt with customers all day. Sales experience may be good in some roles too.

Opportunities for improvement

Once you get your foot on the ladder in the banking industry you can look forward to many more opportunities to learn and develop. It is often easier to get promoted once you are in the industry than it is to enter it for the first time. This is because you will be building a track record and looking to improve on it as you devote more time to your career.

Be sure to consider all the different kinds of banking jobs that are available before you decide which one to apply for in the first place. Do your homework on each job you apply for too – it will improve your chances of success.