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Retail Banking is opening new areas of growth and employment

The retail market for mortgages, credit cards, automobile loans and other consumer loans is continuously growing. The value of the retail market was US$9.7 billion in 1999. This value rose to US$36.7 billion in 2004 for India . These figures signify a growing market for jobs.

During the last decade, India has emerged as one of the biggest and fastest growing economies in the world. The strengthening of economy in India has been fueled by: liberalization policies of the government, growth of key economic sectors, development of an English-speaking, well-educated work force and the emergence of a middle class population.

The competitive environment in India presents both challenges and opportunities to global banks in Retail Banking. Entrenched domestic competitors and restrictive equity ownership ceilings imposed by the government create obstacles for banks trying to establish a foothold in India . Primary challenges include tough competition and government ceilings on foreign equity ownership. Yet, the opportunities are good for the Global Banks as they often have technological advantages, well-honed, efficient processes and appealing products and services.

The growth however will be organic as the merger and acquisition activity in the banking sector may remain limited by government regulation. This is difficult news for global banks that have relied on acquisitions as a market entry or expansion strategy and the growth therefore will be slow but steady. Unless the government shifts its posture on foreign equity ownership, global banks will have to rely on organic growth to expand their presence in India .

As global banks have experienced in the past, that for successfully competing in India they require a lot more than merely choosing the right market to target. It warrants a well-crafted strategy that addresses the numerous risks and challenges specific to India 's developing economy. The confluence of rapid economic development, elevated consumer purchasing power levels and an under served retail banking population position India as one of the most potential growth regions for the 21st Century.

Retail banking jobs are growing across banking, finance, accounting, insurance, legal, sales, marketing, IT, manufacturing, management consulting, startegy in the private sector as well as the public sector.

Students seeking career opportunities in this area should focus on the current well established players as the past decade has witnessed a number of well known Multinational Banks failing in India due to a poor understanding of the ground realities.

Banking institutions like the ICICI, HDFC, Centurion, Canara Bank, Indus Ind , ABN Amro, HSBC, SBI, Bank of Punjab, American Express and several other banks offer good opportunities for fresher as well as experienced professionals in this area.

The essential competencies besides educational qualifications at the entry level in Bank are:

  • Result orientation
  • Process Orientation
  • Interpersonal Relationship mastery.
  • Rational and Analytical thinking
  • Capability to Innovate
  • Team Spirit

In order to assess the above competencies most of the good Banks conduct Mental Ability Tests for candidates with 0-2 years of work experience to create a personality profile of the Applicant. The Mental Ability Test gives a fair and objective assessment of candidates’ skills in the areas of verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning & diagrammatic reasoning.  These are important skills for the entry level jobs and people who do well in these tests have been found to do well in their jobs.  These tests normally are of 2 hours duration. 

The Banking Sector has openings for bright young graduates, post graduates, and professionally qualified CA/ MBAs. These openings can be easily found on the web sites of most of the Banks.

Most of the modern Banks offer a tech-savvy, non-hierarchical, work environment where early responsibility and independent decision-making gives each employee an opportunity to reach his/her potential. High performing-high potential individuals are duly rewarded on the basis of merit and not just seniority.

For Comments: psjamwal@amity.edu

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