1. The banking sector is going through a slump period of slow increase in salaries. Consequently, there is lack of influx of fresh talent because of the dire Non-Performing Assets problem in the economy.
  2. Working in a state-owned bank might fetch you a modest income but it gets compensated by multiple allowances and perks.
  3. One of the biggest challenges of working in a public-sector bank is the extremely hectic, long working hours.
  4. Being a banker involves dealing with people who are good at fudging accounts and playing with numbers to get credit, suffice to say the presence of mind is of utmost importance when handling monetary transactions.
  5. Having above average communication, debating and negotiating skills is a foregone conclusion when you work in a sector that functions primarily in contractual terms.
  6. You can join Banking profession, in later stages of life, like I did after serving in Air-Force for 10 Years.

Profile Details

Name – Lakshman Mahto

Profession – Senior Manager at State Bank of India

Age – 44

Gender – Male

City – Nagpur

Industry – Banking

LinkedIn –

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born and raised in Bihar. My mother was a home-maker and father a farmer. I have 2 sisters, both of whom are married and are housewives.

Who all had the most influence on you and how?

I wasn’t inspired by anyone to join this profession, but it wasn’t entirely circumstantial either. Mathematics and logical reasoning had always been my forte, so I thought about giving the entrance exam for bank recruitment and got in.

Please give us a summary of your career.

After completing my school education, I joined the Indian Air Force in 1992 where I worked as an aircraft technician for the next decade. I served at Bangalore, Hyderabad and during the Kargil War, I was stationed at Jaisalmer. After completing my initial training in the IAF, I did my MA in English Literature from Osmania University, Hyderabad, and my Post Graduate Diploma in Banking and Finance from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Hyderabad.

Eventually, I had to leave Air Force because being in defense services comes with night shifts and a peripatetic lifestyle, which can be inconvenient at the best of times and I had my family to think about.

It was then, I shifted to civilian life and I got into the banking industry. I have been working at the Nagpur branch of State Bank of India since 2002.

Also, in 2010 I did my MBA in International Business from Vinayaka Missions University, Tamil Nadu.

Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?

National School of Banking is indubitably the premier institute in the country for banking. Another one would be Banking Services Chronicle.

What are the costs associated with the education/training of bank jobs?

I’m not entirely sure about the costs’ today, but 15 years ago when I completed my coaching it was around 30,000 per annum for a course of two years.

What are the typical entry-level jobs in this profession?

Beginners usually join as probationary officers (PO) and/or junior assistants (previously known as clerks). They do the front-line job of handling the day-to-day customers. This is simply for the State Bank of India.

You have separate exams you can give to enter into mutual funds, RBI, rating agencies etc.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?

5 Years – 25,000–30,000 INR Per Month

10 Years – 40,000–80,000 INR Per Month

15 Years – 80,000–1,00,000 INR Per Month

20+ Years – 1,50,000–2,50,000 INR Per Month

This range is with regards to public sector banks. The pay structure of private sector banks may differ with the upper management having a significantly higher pay scale.

Please describe your work.

I handle the bank’s credit portfolios. Different city branches send us various loan applications and I manage the approval/rejection of these loans.

If there are critical issues with industrial or service sector loans, I’m responsible for providing solutions by way of financial analysis of credit and recommending certain procedures.

I then proceed to check, supervise and clear said loans.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider bank jobs?

If you do your job right then there is a great amount of satisfaction involved. You lend the credit to people who need it; be it for personal or entrepreneurial purposes, help them set up their shops and micro, medium, and small industries which ultimately not only benefits them but contributes to the economy.

It also goes beyond simply lending loans; public sector banks are involved in several social outreach programmes wherein we help thousands of women in rural areas to start their own business and self-help groups via micro-finance. Micro-finance is a service that enables us to offer credit and insurance to small business owners who do not have access to traditional banking services.

Another positive would be the perks we get as employees of a state-owned bank. We get conveyance allowance, personal allowance, medical allowance, discounts on home loans. Most of the times the houses are also leased to the bank, so they give you some money for maintaining the house as well.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?

There’s no denying that the banking industry today is going through a slump. The salary in the banking sector is regulated by the Indian Bank’s Association (IBA). In 1993, it was decided that the salary of the employees would be linked with the profit of the bank that employes them. What that translates into the current situation is decreased the incremental increase in salary owing to the plethora of Non-Performing Assets aka bad loans, which are curtailing the banks’ ability to give loans. If a bank doesn’t loan money, then it is losing out on its primary source of income i.e. interest payments. Hence their net profit plummets and that is why these last few years have seen some of the lowest pay increases in banking history.

Another major cause for concern is the timings; they are usually long. I reach office around 10 AM and return around 9:30–10 PM. We work 6 days a week with 2nd and 4th Saturday’s off, so our work schedule is very packed.

What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding a premium in your job profile?

Today our economy is facing the problem of “twin-balance sheets”; what that means is that rising debt in the corporate sector links to the NPA in Public sector banks. The companies that borrowed heavily in earlier more prosperous times are now unable to meet their interest payments. Due to this, banks are losing out on their profits by defaulting on their loans. This curtails the bank’s ability to give loans to new companies that want to invest but are now not getting the credit they need. This low investment, in turn, leads to overall decreased economic growth.

What kind of person would be happy in your career?

In the banking sector, you have to deal with a lot of money-savvy professionals on a day-to-day basis. So, you have to be really vigilant and intelligent as these people often love to play with numbers and it is up to you to find out the discrepancies.

You should also have top-notch debating and negotiating skills in this line of work as you have a lot of contractual dealings with clients and other banks.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

I think I would have liked to work for the RBI. Other than that my profession and industry satisfies me.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?

I don’t have any special advice for people who are just starting out in banking. But I will say that it offers a particularly challenging work environment these days. So, make sure you are prepared for that and don’t expect smooth tidings for the foreseeable future.

Contributing Writer – Shtakshi Gupta