Retail banking is the typical one-stop shop for all financial needs. They are the banks found on the High Street and come under a variety of brands. However, what is involved in getting a job in retail banking in the first place? It is not as easy as just filling out an application and hoping for the best. Here we will take a look at some of what is on offer and what candidates can expect from their retail banking experiences.
Job opportunities in the retail banking sector
One of the fastest rising positions within retail banks is that of the mortgage advisor. This is partly thanks to new government schemes that are helping first-time buyers step onto the property ladder and purchase their first home, using public funds and general assistance from a wider pool of resources. Of course, this does not mean candidates can simply show up and be given a mortgage. Advisors will have to advise on and prepare an application for assessment of a candidate's financial suitability to be approved for a mortgage, and this will largely depend on a number of factors: employment stability, credit history, and bank usage history to name a few. It is a varied position that will pose various challenges to those interested in helping people find their homes.
Candidates can sometimes show up inexperienced, but it is becoming increasingly common for candidates to require the CeMAP qualification (Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice). It is also not unusual for team leadership or supervisory level experience at a customer service level to be found within job prerequisites. These requirements depend on the employer, so candidates are advised to shop around in order to find the best job to fit their current suitability. More often than not, on-the-job training will be available that leads into the CeMAP, should candidates wish to further progress their careers within the mortgage advisory sector.
Financial services consultant
The ‘face’ of the bank is the financial services consultant. They are the members of staff who open bank accounts, advise customers on their current banking situation and how it can be improved, and generally help out wherever they are needed. Candidates who wish to consider this sort of role will need to possess a wide range of interpersonal skills, since their assignments can vary from first-time bankers through to senior corporate clients and everyone in between. Being able to effectively deal with this sort of range is absolutely vital to success in this role.
Like the mortgage advisor, there are no hard qualifications that candidates will require. However, it is not unusual to have studied business studies, accountancy, or other financial related roles to degree level in order to be considered for the role. Project management skills are also in high demand, so candidates who come equipped with some level of management-style experience on their CV will be looked upon favourably.
Auditors help consider the overall credit risk that the bank is posing itself when dealing with clients. This is a more behind-the-scenes position as it does not deal directly with customers, but some debt management tasks may come up from time to time. More often than not, an auditor's key responsibility is to the bank and how the bank can lower its risk to the general public and its shareholders. They will assess customer accounts and investments, in order to determine whether or not any specific segment of their business is posing unnecessary risks to the bank and provide advice for improvement where necessary.
This is generally an experienced position where ACA, ACCA, or IIA qualifications are required. It is usually a good next step for those who are otherwise experienced in low-level customer-facing roles and wish to step up to something of greater importance. Similarly, candidates will need to have experience reading credit portfolios such as when applying for customer credit cards. It certainly is not the easiest role in retail banking, as jobs in auditing will require candidates to deal with some hard pressing facts and figures and intimately deal with those at a more senior corporate level. However, its rewards can be great as progression opportunities are likely to exist due to the visibility and exposure candidates will have to their superiors. It would be a great choice for those looking for a stepping-stone into the highest level corporate positions in finance possible.