Banking Careers

Banking was developed out of people's need for a safe place to keep their money. Bankers provide bank services to the public, commercial and industrial organizations. This field has expanded over the years to meet increasing and diverse financial needs.

Banking has changed dramatically over recent years and now offers some of the broadest career opportunities in the financial sector as well as the challenge of dealing with two of the most fascinating subjects in life, namely, money and people.

As a result, banks provide a wide and developing range of specialised services which require highly trained and qualified personnel. Career opportunities are available in a variety of fields, such as administration, branch banking, accountancy, auditing, lending, secretarial work, export financing, international banking and travel.

New customer services have opened up positions in portfolio management, supervision of unit trusts, and super annuation funds, property management, personnel administration, taxation, computer systems, bankcard departments, public relations and advertising, trustee services and wills, and agricultural services. Therefore, a banking career offers unlimited opportunities together with sound training for men and women who have a keen interest in finance and banking.

Almost all newcomers start working at a branch where there is a trained professional team skilled in all aspects of general banking. Under supervision of this team, the trainee acquires the necessary experience in the work situation. The location of the branch, whether in the city or rural area, determines to a great extent, the nature of the work. In rural areas bank clerks work in more than one division, while the work in bigger cities is much more specialised.

Bank Managers: are responsible for the functioning of the bank and the development of new business - corporate, retail and personal. Bank managers need to know something about every aspect of banking. Integrity and exemplary behaviour at all times are vital in this profession, as is the ability to understand and enjoy financial matters. A well-developed sense of responsibility, empathy with people, initiative, the ability to work under pressure, intelligence, dependability, good communication skills and an appreciation of excellent service are also important.

Bank Tellers: deal with the public, cashing cheques and making deposits into and withdrawals out of accounts. Bank tellers are required to arrive promptly, correctly dressed. Most of the customers attended to are either depositing or withdrawing money, thus a teller is given sufficient money in the form of notes and coins to handle such transactions. Electronic equipment is provided for counting notes and weighing coins. Each transaction is written down on special forms and at the end of the day, tellers have to balance their forms with the money taken in or withdrawn. Working hours are normally 8 am to 5 pm, unless otherwise agreed upon.

Agricultural services: This provides farmers and branch managers with advice on farming finance.

International assets: In this department currency is rapidly bought and sold on behalf of the client. Stock markets are investigated to ensure the best tenor for the client’s import and export. Currency control monitors international transactions and the foreign branch handles the documentation of importers and exporters.

Commercial and Industrial banking: This department provides instalment credit and loan facilities to industries, commerce and professional people.

Domestic finances: The interest rate is controlled in this department and all transferable money-market assets are bought and sold. Quick decisions must be made about buying and selling assets.

Personal financial planning: This department aims to provide professional financial planning to the private sector. Guidance is given to clients with the restructuring of their investment portfolios.
Credit cards: Trained personnel are responsible for the administration of credit cardholder’s purchases.

Trusts and Wills: The preparation of deceased estates as well as trustee funds are handled by experts and wills are drawn up on request.

Translation: This work provides an opportunity for persons with an aptitude for languages. They should be creative, able to translate the full meaning of one language into the idiom of another, translate journalist articles, as well as technical and law documents.

Computers: Advanced office machinery is used to process daily transactions to provide information to the management and all the departments within the banking group.
Internal audit: All business that has been taken care of by the bank, is examined during audit, such as:
internal accounts, computer programs and the effectiveness of the bank’s specialist services.

Personnel: Trained personnel teams ensure that the staff members are stimulated and that they realise their career ideals.

Catering: This department organises the cafeteria and management dining-rooms and serves refreshments at all bank functions.

Marketing: This includes large advertisement campaigns, promotions, sponsorships and design of stationery and product packaging.

Public relations: The function of the public relations department is to communicate appropriate messages to different groups, e.g. bank employees, potential employees, clients and the media.

Bank personnel work indoors, usually behind counters or in offices and conference rooms. The work setting is usually pleasant and comfortable.

Personal Requirements

  • ability to work accurately with figures (branch personnel)
  • ability to understand financial matters (senior and executive officers)
  • enjoy working with the public
  • responsible
  • ability to maintain pleasant public relations, internally as well as with the public
  • empathy and good communication skills
  • ability to concentrate and work well under pressure
  • integrity and exemplary behaviour at all times
  • trustworthy, dependable and honest

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics,
Recommended Subjects: Accounting, Business StudiesEconomics

What to Study

Thorough in-service training is provided in general banking procedures and specialised services. All banks have their own training colleges. Banks may accept matriculants but are also interested in graduates in the business and commercial sciences.

Degree: BCom - most universities

Diploma: BTech and NDip Banking - UNISA

The Institute of Bankers is the examination body for the banking sector and offers a wide variety of diplomas in banking:

  • Certificate in Banking
  • Credit and Advanced Credit Diplomas
  • Treasury and Advanced Treasury Diplomas
  • Marketing and Advanced Marketing Diplomas
  • Estate and Trust Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma in Estate and Financial Planning
  • Trustee Diploma Course (specialised course):Subjects: Tax (trustee), Trustee Law 1& 2, Trustee Accounts


  • commercial and general banks
  • merchant banks

Further Information

Institute of Bankers in South Africa
Maitland Building, Ground Floor
18 Fricker Road
Tel: (011) 268-0669

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in a bank
  • arrange to speak to a bank manager, the personnel officer of a bank or a knowledgeable bank employee about careers in banking
  • read financial magazines and newspapers

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

Working in Banking: 12 Great things and the flip side!

A PACE Career Centre Product. © All rights reserved | Developed by Netgen (Pty) Ltd. Disclaimer: Please see disclaimer