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why do you want to work in retail banking

etail banking в which can incorporate branch, online and telephone banking and be highly customer-facing в is an attractive option as the larger employers tend to operate graduate training schemes. But competition is fierce and students must apply early, requiring a long-term commitment to the sector. The rewards are early responsibility and the chance to gain experience in several areas, from client-facing in branches to call centre operations and managerial roles. A finance-related degree is not always relevant, but highly numerate graduates with strong communications skills will be attractive. Getting in Dr Barbara Casu Lukac, course director, MSc banking and international finance,
"These are tough times for retail banks. After more than a decade of growth and strong profits, they are now facing challenges stemming both from regulatory changes and consumer pressures to make banks safer and fairer. Despite the turbulent environment there are also opportunities in the sector, as bank management are devising new strategies for survival and growth. "A successful career in retail banking demands a good understanding of the sector and the current challenges it faces, together with a solid economic background and strong technical and customer relationship skills. " Getting on Soraya Pugh, head of graduate recruitment, "It is important for graduates to remember that early roles are about learning the operational side in branches and call centres and it can be quite admin-intensive.

It is good to get experience dealing with customers, and graduates could soon find themselves gaining management experience. "Unlike investment banking, it's difficult to correlate business and personal performance in retail banking, so getting a mentor who can see the effect you are having can be useful. "A lot of candidates get on a retail graduate scheme, but really want to be in investment в this is ludicrous. You need to pick the biggest players in your chosen sector. It's hard to move from retail to investment these days. " View from the inside Harry Cheetham, graduate trainee at the "I graduated in July 2011 and was drawn to a career in banking because of my mathematics and philosophy degree. It was a rigorous application process, but worth it because the Co-op's strong approach to ethical banking and its green credentials match mine. "I'm on a three-year scheme where I rotate six times, every six months. I'm in finance so not dealing with customers every day but we have been taught that the customer is the most important thing. "A lot of people could be put off a career in banking because they think they do not have the right degree, but you get so much support that it doesn't matter what your background is. "I'm getting a broad view of all areas of the business and how they fit together, but the most challenging and rewarding thing is that you're expected to take immediate responsibility.

You have a real impact from day one. It's also rewarding to see how your day-to-day role fits into the wider organisation and the whole finance sector. " Every hour of every day and night around two million transactions go through the banking system in the UK. With this colossal volume of transactions there is little room for error and banks naturally want to employ only the best people to protect and look after their customersв needs. Banking encompasses many different careers and the breadth of jobs in the industry is vast. Familiar front line customer-facing roles are certainly there, yet so are accountants, lawyers, HR and IT staff, together with many more jobs of a specialist nature. Whichever route your banking career takes you, it can be very rewarding, offering many opportunities for progression for people with the right attitude and who can use their initiative. With such a wide range of sometimes quite complex products on offer, often with strict regulations about how they are promoted, sold and administered, bank staff need to be well-informed about the products and services they offer. Naturally, the bank will provide full training and individuals quickly become experts in specific types of products, such as mortgages, savings investments and lending. Whatвs it like to work in retail banking? Working conditions in banks are good, but itвs not necessarily a nine-to-five job. Itвs not unusual for a bank branch to open at 8. 30am and to close late and customers banking by telephone expect a round-the-clock service every day of the year.

Even internet banking needs real people to be on duty for customers who need help or guidance. The pay is pretty good, but unless youвre really at the top of the tree you can forget a six-figure salary. В If you are ambitious youвll have lots of opportunity to progress your career though and most jobs are advertised internally. В Staff are encouraged to make their own decisions on the direction that they want their career to go within the bank. The main high street banks in the UK each have an extensive branch network and your career could take you to different parts of the country and beyond. Banking is international in nature and if you are a high-flyer, keen on travelling and want to work abroad then you could potentially find yourself working anywhere in the world. Graduate-entry jobs in banking are highly sought after and each year an individual bank might receive thousands of applications for perhaps just a hundred or so places. В The selection process will typically be initially by email, followed by a telephone conversation and, for those who impress, a face to face interview. Those who are successful at the interview will be invited to attend an assessment centre at which they, with others, will be required to perform a number of tasks. Their performance will be observed to determine how they interact with others, whether they contribute to the team effort and how they react under pressure.

В Successful candidates can expect to be offered fast-track career development and during an initial six to 12 month period will taste various roles that match their skill set. Those who perform well can soon expect to gain a role at management level. Although graduates come in at a higher level, they cannot rest on their laurels. Once they have reached a junior management position they are in direct competition with those who entered through a non-graduate route. From then on, promotion is based purely on the best person for the job. Banking is not just for graduates. Many banks now offer modern apprenticeships and are keen to recruit people with a minimum of five A-C GCSE grades including English and maths. Entry into the bank is likely to be at local branch level and training will be provided for a variety of different roles. Those who have the aptitude will be encouraged to apply for more senior roles and could quite quickly find themselves in a supervisory or management position. So whatever your career aspirations, there could well be a place for you in banking. В Why not вchequeв it out on our employer A-Z page? A full list of British Bankersв Association member banks can be found at: More information on careers in financial services is available from the Financial Skills Partnershipвs Directions service:

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