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Bank PO V/S Bank SO - What to choose?

As many of you have cleared Bank PO and Bank So as well or going to write both the exams  next time. We must congratulate you in clearing two of the most elite bank exams in India. We know that it must be a matter of great confusion and concern that which job is good for you. So we have made a detailed analysis of both the jobs for you. with their pro and cons. It is now up to you to decide. Happy reading.

Probationary Officer (PO)/Management Trainee (MT)

A Probationary officer (PO) or a Management Trainee (MT) is the first level to enter the banking world. He or she reports to immediate seniors who evaluate his performance in the tasks assigned to him. Initially, a Probationary Officer can be assigned any work from a wide gamut of ongoing banking activities. Normally the probation period is of two years in which the officer is exposed to different types of banking related works. In some banks, the duration may be limited to one year.

The officers or trainees may undergo frequent transfers or deputations during the probation period. Once the probation period is completed the officer is confirmed as an Assistant Manager and gets his or her permanent posting. Some banks are now placing officers as Deputy Managers also, just after confirmation, provided they pass the test conducted by the bank. For example: State Bank of India condutcs a confirmation exam. If a probationary offcer passes the exam, he is confirmed as an Assistant Manager. In fact, the State Bank of India even gives a chance for promotion to Scale II to candidates who perform exceptionally well in the exam.

Specialist Officer

A Specialist Officer in a bank is appointed for specialized roles in various departments, according to their expertise and educational background. Some of the Specialist Officer Positions in Banks are:

  • Information Technology Officer
  • Agriculture Field Officer
  • Rajbhasha Adhikari
  • Law Officer
  • Technical Officer
  • HR/Personnel Officer
  • Marketing Officer

Information Technology (IT) Officer
Information Technology (IT) Officers are required by almost every bank in order to take care of its software systems. IT Officers look into maintenance of servers, database and other networking aspects.
Duties of an IT officer - 
  • Data center : Main part of the bank where all the data and core banking application is there. The work of It officer is maintaining and support. there is shift duty there
  • ATM section : looking after all ATM related activity installations there is also shift duty 
  • Project Office: here all banking branch support for IT is going on again having shift duty 
  • Security Section: Looking after the bank network security and anti virus updation.
  • MIS and Application section: there in house software development and MIS related activity happens. 

Law Officer
A Law Officer deals with legal issues received from various departments of the Bank and its associate institutions, which are mainly related to the interpretation of various statutes.
He/she is also responsible for:
  • Preparing initial drafts of legislation administered/to be administered by the Bank
  • Preparation of drafts of pleadings and comprehensive instructions/briefs to counsel in connection with litigation involving the Bank and its associate institutions
  • Appearing before Conciliation Officers, Labour courts, Tribunals, etc. on behalf of the Bank.
Agriculture Officer
An Agricultural Officer is responsible for promoting loans in rural areas related to general and agricultural purposes under the various schemes framed by government and other financial institutions. The officer needs to maintain a good professional relationship with farmers to for lead generation, client acquisition, site visit before the loan sanctioning, and follow-up for timely loan recovery.

Personnel Manager/HR Officer
A Personnel Manager handles the entire gamut of HR functions like Compensation policy, Industrial Relations, Statutory Compliances, Performance Management System, Training and Development, Staff Welfare and other relevant aspects of Human Resource Management.

Marketing Officer
A Marketing Officer is responsible for the coordination of all marketing and social media and networking activities of the Bank. 
The Marketing Officer is also responsible for being the primary contact of public relations and media contacts, advertising, and certain business development activities that promote the spirit, philosophy, dedication, and general direction of the Bank.

Duties of Marketing Officer in Banks:
  • Mapping of local catchment areas in terms of business potential, preparation of sales strategies and tracking progress of sales teams, Branches, conduct of branding / marketing initiatives, Brand audit, etc.
  • Monitoring sales performance of branches in Assets, Liability, Third party products
  • Conducting on the spot sales training at branches
  • Putting up Sales/Kiosks and organising sales camps/campaigns at branches or locally in city /centre, etc.
  • Organising publicity material, business meets / seminars with various groups, meeting with existing / prospective customers.
  • Participating in exhibitions/ fairs and lead generation etc.

Rajbhasha Adhikari
A Rajbhasha Adhikari is in charge of translation of official documents in English (or any other regional language) into Rajbhasha, that is, Hindi.
Essential Educational Requirement: A minimum 2nd class post Graduate Degree in Hindi with English as a subject in degree level OR a post graduate degree in Sanskrit with English and Hindi as a subject in degree level. For translation job from a language other than English, that particular language should be a part of the graduate/ postgraduate curriculum.

Comparison of a bank PO and SO - 

  • Work Pressure - Work Pressure is more in Bank PO is more than that in some categories of an SO. IT offier, Rajbhasha adhikari and Law officer enjoys lesser work than PO. Work pressure will be intense in HR manager,Agriculturist officer and Marketing officer. As an agriculturist officer and a Marketing officer you need to go out in the field to generate leads for the bank. It will be an incentive based job. If you want to go for UPSC or SSC then IT officer is best for you. 
  • Monotonous work - Bank SO job is more monotonous as compared to bank PO. PO enjoys the work style of different sections in the bank such as loans and advances, currency chest, Forex mangment etc. While SO is sought to do the same job over and over again.
  • Salary Structure - Both PO's and SO's draws almost the same salaries and perks. Salaries may go higher in the incentive related work. (Click here to see the salary structure)
  • Growth - A bank PO can scale heights in the hierarchy structure of a bank. While as an SO you get very limited oppurtunity to increase the levels. Yes the pay scale will increase as it will be in PO but you will not get that vast change in the levels as it will be when you are selectd as a PO.


Hierarchy levels of a PO
    Growth stories of some prolific Probationary Officers - 
    A Probationary Officer can reach up to the level of Chairman of a bank. One shining example of such a growth is 
    • Mr. S.S. Mundra started his career as a Probationary Officer in Bank of Baroda in 1977 and assumed the charge as Chairman and Managing Director of Bank of Baroda on 21st January, 2013. Mr. Mundra went on to become the Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India. So this speaks volumes for a chance of career growth as a PO.
    • Ms. Chanda Kochhar started her career as a as a Management Trainee with ICICI bank in 1984 and rose to the position of Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
    Conclusion - 



    So we can conclude that both PO and SO is a great doorway to enter in the banking industry. In terms of work pressure an SO will enjoy the liberty, but when you talk about the growth and type of work bank PO will take the cake. So we advise you to choose bank PO over an SO.

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