Bank Manager

The Job and What's Involved

A bank manager may work for a retail (High Street), commercial or corporate bank. They are responsible for managing all the operational aspects of the branch or branches under their control.

Bank managers oversee the day-to-day running of their bank, lead a team of staff and manage work and resources. They aim to improve:

  • Sales performance, generate new business leads and maintain relationships with existing bank customers.
  • Customer service standards.
  • Team and individual employee performance.
  • Employee training and development.
  • Security within the branch - safeguarding employees and customers, and ensuring the appropriate risk controls are in place.

Some bank managers, particularly those managing larger branches, may be responsible for specific product groups or customers, for example, business accounts, premium accounts, financial products, loans or mortgages. The job is focused on meeting targets and promoting specific financial or banking services, as well as improving efficiency and profitability.

A bank manager's typical weekly duties may include:

  • Communicating and implementing business, marketing and sales initiatives.
  • Administering, preparing and submitting sales and budget reports.
  • Authorising customer lending arrangements, including loans and overdrafts, before submitting applications to the bank's credit department.
  • Making sure a consistent brand image and identity is being delivered through branch presentation and customer service.
  • Recruiting branch personnel and arranging staff cover.
  • Appraising employees to identify training needs and support.
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
  • Passing on regional and head office communications to inform and motivate branch staff.
  • Checking compliance and security procedures are being followed
  • Assessing local customer needs.
  • Establishing partnerships within the wider business community.
  • Attending regional, management and head office meetings.

Bank managers usually work 37 hours a week, typically Monday to Friday. If branches open on Saturday mornings, cover for this and security callouts are usually on a rota. Part-time work and job sharing is possible.

Retail and business bank managers may work within one branch or cover a regional network of branches, travelling between them. Some also work in call centres, managing online and telephone banking services. These are often based out of town. Travel, apart from attending management conferences or meetings, is usually limited to a set geographic area. A driving licence may be useful.

Smart personal appearance and business dress is expected. Uniforms may be provided.

Starting salaries for bank managers joining management training programmes range from between £19,500 and £25,000 a year. Salary packages usually include performance and profit-related bonus schemes. Extra benefits may include location allowances, company cars, preferential financial product schemes (such as subsidised mortgages, loans, private healthcare and life assurance), and contributory pensions and share saving schemes.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

There are roughly 90,000 bank managers currently working throughout the UK. Despite the merger of banks in recent years and the closure and amalgamation of smaller, often more rural retail bank branches, the number of management positions has remained relatively stable.

Some bank jobs have been regionally centralised, and it is becoming more common for managers to oversee a number of branches instead of being based at one. There has also been a growth in national banking call centres, creating more people management jobs. Regional and head office management positions are usually found in the financial districts of large cities.

Additional bank management jobs exist in:

  • Clearing banks.
  • International banks with a UK branch network.
  • Finance houses providing secured and unsecured loans.
  • Corporate or commercial banking divisions, often within a bank's regional or head office.

Vacancies are normally advertised on employers' websites, as well as by specialist financial sector publications, finance and banking recruitment agencies and national newspapers.

Education and Training

There are many routes into bank management. The most direct is to join a graduate trainee programme. Applicants normally need a 2.1 degree in a related business or financial topic, as competition for these placements is high. For a degree course they usually need at least two A levels/three H grades and five GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications. Applicants to an international bank may find a second language an advantage. ICT skills are also useful.

Many banks also offer fast track management training programmes to internal candidates who have some work experience and demonstrate the right drive and commitment. Some employers may require two or more A levels/H grades, or equivalent vocational qualifications, such as the ifs School of Finance Professional Diploma in Financial Services Management.

It is also possible to join a bank in an advisory or service role with GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3) and progress into a management position. Vocational financial qualifications may also demonstrate an understanding of the financial marketplace and help career advancement. The ifs School of Finance offer a range of qualifications, including the:

- Foundation Certificate in Personal Finance (FCPF)
- Intermediate Certificate in Personal Finance (ICPF)
- Certificate in Financial Studies (CeFS)
- Diploma in Financial Studies (DipFS)

All candidates should expect to undergo security clearance, including a criminal records and credit rating check.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Induction programmes for trainee bank managers typically last between 18 and 24 months, and usually include a working overview of different banking functions.

Trainees are normally assigned a mentor, and the programmes are usually supported by training courses in areas such as leadership and people management, as well as technical and operational skills.

It is becoming increasingly common for bank managers to complete the appropriate technical qualifications for regulated financial products. These may include:

  • Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) - ifs School of Finance.
  • Certificate in Lifetime Mortgages (CeLTM) - ifs.
  • Certificate for Financial Advisers (CeFA) - ifs.
  • Certificate of Regulated General Insurance (CeRGI) - ifs.
  • Certificate of Investment Planning (CIP) - Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (CIOBS).
  • Mortgage Advice and Practice Certificate (MAPC) - CIOBS.
  • Lifetime Mortgage Advice and Practice Certificate (LMAPC) - CIOBS.
  • General Insurance Certificate - CIOBS.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) also offers a range of appropriate professional certificates covering mortgage advice, financial planning, lifetime mortgage activities, long-term care insurance and insurance.

CPD is encouraged by employers. CIOBS and ifs School of Finance offer professional qualifications, including certificates, diplomas and applied diplomas. Some are general, covering retail or business and corporate banking. There are also relevant courses in customer relationship management, customer care, operational risk management and call centre management.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A bank manager should:

  • Have excellent people skills.
  • Be focused on customer service.
  • Have an approachable manner, with the ability to motivate and encourage others.
  • Respect and observe security and statutory guidelines.
  • Command employees' and customers' trust.
  • Be fair and objective.
  • Feel comfortable delegating work.
  • Be decisive and able to prioritise workloads.
  • Be comfortable working with and analysing numbers and sales data.
  • Possess excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Be organised and methodical.
  • Be confident and calm when handling potential conflict situations.
  • Be aware of how the economy and financial service products relate to each other.
  • Understand how marketing, sales, training and people management fit into the wider business context.

Your Long Term Prospects

Branch managers may be able to progress to area and regional management.

The diverse skills gained in finance, business and people management can be applied to many head office positions. Some bank managers go on to specialise in marketing, human resources, training or strategy planning. Any career progression may involve relocating, usually within the UK.

Get Further Information

British Bankers' Association, Pinners Hall,
105-108 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1EX
Tel: 020 7216 8800

The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (CIOBS),
Drumsheugh House, 38B Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 7SW
Tel: 0131 473 7777

Chartered Insurance Institute (CII),
42-48 High Road, South Woodford, London E18 2JP
Tel: 020 8989 8464

Financial and Legal Skills Partnership,
51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ
Tel: 0845 257 3772

ifs School of Finance, IFS House,
4-9 Burgate Lane, Canterbury, Kent CT1 2XJ
Tel: 01227 762600

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