New business segments, technologies see increasing need for services of professionals

There was a time when a bank job needed good numerical and language skills and a reasonable level of general awareness. With increasing complexities in business, banks today need a range of specialised skills — especially in the areas of finance, law, information technology, risk management and agriculture.

This is clearly seen in the rising number of specialist officers/professionals who have been joining the banking industry in recent years.

Take, for instance, the annual report of Indian Bank for 2012-13. It says the bank has recruited one specialist officer each in the fields of printing technology, architecture, automobile engineering, mechanical engineering, and five each in civil engineering and electrical engineering.

Asked why this interest among bankers to rope in professionals and specialist officers, V.A. Joseph, Chief Executive of South Indian Bank, told Business Line that the banking industry has been undergoing revolutionary changes in recent years.

He said: “From implementation of the core banking solutions platform to imbibing technology in banking, we have come a long way and the job has become more challenging as well. We need people in different fields.”

EMERGING VERTICALS

M. S. Moodithaya, Director of the Mangalore-based Nitte Institute of Banking and Finance, says that the average age of bankers today is 52-53 years. The complete inventory of existing bank personnel will be exhausted in the next 6-7 years. So, all the banks are in a hurry now to replenish the inventory.

Based on the requirements of customers, new verticals have emerged in banks. So, banks have a separate vertical for top corporates, and another for small and medium enterprises.

Even within this there are specialisations in certain industries. All these developments have forced banks to reinvent themselves. They have to have new methods of identifying and recruiting talent, says Moodithaya.

Joseph gives an idea of how the profile of the banker is changing, giving his bank’s example. Of the 3,000-odd officers in his bank, over 2,600 belong to the category of specialist officers.

Giving a break-up of their profile, he says that his bank has 1,026 business management graduates, 610 engineers, 71 chartered accountants (CAs), 79 legal officers, 26 cost accountants and 872 postgraduates.

Ajai Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director of Corporation Bank, says that the bank has specialists officers in forex, credit, information technology, agriculture, marketing and law, and accounting departments.

The bank has around 7,000 officers. Of these, 116 specialists are in the forex department, 250 in credit, 208 in IT, and 297 officers in agriculture department. In addition, the bank has 84 marketing officers and 36 chartered accountants.

revathy.lakshminarasimhan@thehindu.co.in

vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 20, 2013)
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