Corporate banking is all about providing a range of tailored banking services, in particular loans, to companies(rather than people) to help them run their day-to-day operations. If that sounds a bit dull, bear in mind that corporate banking is a key profit center for many large banks and has been rising in prominence since the financial crisis showed up the more speculative activities of trading and investment banking, thus making the idea to become a corporate banker seem much desirable in the present times.
In India, the SMEs employ more than 106 million people next only to the agricultural sector. About 45% of the total industrial output is generated by the SMEs. There are more than 40 million active SMEs in the country, which generates about 6.11% of the manufacturing GDP and 24.63% of the service sector GDP.
How to become a Corporate Banker?
A bank is matrix organization. Depending upon the role of the banker, this could either be a front office or back office position. A front office banker would interact to service a business customer, understand their needs and then recommend appropriate banking solutions. The back office functions are usually centralized and provide support to the front office staff.
For instance, for a very simple transaction like querying for a loan, a business customer will meet the front office staff. The Relationship Manager will understand the customer’s situation, collect necessary documents and will recommend the right funding solution for the customer.
What are the job responsibilities to become a Corporate Banker?
For a front office staff, the key deliverables are:
1. Interacting with the business customer, understand their underlying needs and provide them solutions in a timely fashion is the most important role of a corporate banker.
2. To become a corporate banker, your front office job involves business development and new income generation for the bank by way of deepening existing customer wallet and by winning new customer to the bank.
3. Be a trouble-shooter for the customer. If and when a customer faces challenges in the bank, they usually contact their designated Relationship Manager and request them to get involved in the situation and resolve it for them.
4. Coordinating and communicating with the back office staff so that the customer is serviced as per the committed turnaround times.
For a back office staff, the key deliverables to become a corporate banker are :
1. Providing support to the front office team in a timely fashion and within the committed timescales.
2. Working closely with the Relationship Manager and the front office team to deliver the right solution.
3. It is imperative that the staff in back office produce high qualities work with utmost accuracy to reduce delays and therefore, negative impact on customer service.
4. Maintaining strong working relationships with all team members and stakeholders are an important part of the job description to become a corporate banker.
Degree/Course necessary for a career to become a corporate banker:
Although there is no prescribed specialization that one must have in order to become a corporate banker. However, for few roles, the hiring manager may prefer a particular stream or background. For instance, for an Analyst role, a degree in mathematics, statistics or engineering may be desired due to the analytical nature of the job.
For the front-office customer-facing role that involves business development, a specialization in sales & marketing or Finance(MBA) is required.
Prerequisite skills required to become a corporate banker
Customer service is at the heart of banking. Good communication skill, a “can do” attitude and an affable personality is what is looked for when selecting a candidate. Technical knowledge in banking can be added a bonus for lateral recruitment. For a fresher, it is imperative that the candidate is enthusiastic, keen to learn on the job and can connect well with the customers.
Biggest Challenges Faced in the job of corporate banker
There is never a dull moment in corporate/business banking. In a B2B situation, there are long lead times, complex sales process, long decision making, however the end of the day a banker deals with a person at the other end. Therefore, it boils down to how effectively one communicates, negotiates and closes the request.
The world of banking and finance as such is also being challenged by digitization and new technological advancements. So, one has to keep up with the pace of change, learn quickly and move on. One also needs to connect and collaborate with the other teams in the bank to adopt the core values of the organization. This also gives the customer a sense of satisfaction when the person they deal with is aware of the bank’s services and products/policies.