Job descriptions and industry overviews

Retail banker: job description

26 Jun 2023, 09:58

Retail bankers provide members of the public with financial advice and banking services.

People in blouses reading documents on a desk: retail bankers help customers manage their finances

What does a retail banker do? | Salaries in retail banking | Typical employers of retail bankers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Retail bankers are often known as customer service representatives or personal bankers, reflecting the customer-focused elements of the role. They work for high street banks, where they offer customers financial guidance, advise them of suitable products and services, and assist them with banking needs.

Retail banking, sometimes known as high street banking, involves providing financial products and services, such as bank and saving accounts, to individual members of the public – unlike corporate banking , which means working with companies. Retail banks turn a profit by charging fees for services or interest for borrowing money, so they need to combine meeting financial targets with providing excellent customer service .

Typical duties include:

  • discussing clients’ financial situations and offering them guidance on bank products and services that meet their needs
  • processing payments and withdrawals
  • authorising and evaluating overdrafts and loans
  • recruiting, training, supervising and appraising banking staff
  • keeping records of branch activity
  • promoting the bank's services
  • managing budgets and meeting targets
  • dealing with complaints
  • developing and implementing processes to help branches operate more efficiently.

Retail banking has changed considerably in recent years as more services have become available online As a result, there are fewer branch staff and their focus tends to be on resolving customer queries, managing staff and rolling out new products. On the flipside, there are additional opportunities in more strategic and operations-based work such as product development and IT management, which tends to take place at banks’ head offices.

A number of high street banks offer graduate programmes at their head offices. Here you can explore specialist areas such as HR, internal audit and change management.

Unlike investment banking, working hours in retail banking tend to be regular and typically follow standard office hours (although if you work in a branch, you may need to work some weekends).

Graduate salaries in retail banking

Starting salaries on retail banking graduate schemes tend to be around £30,000 according to employers’ websites. Alternatively, as a customer-facing employee in a branch, you’re likely to start on a salary of around £20,000.

Earnings will grow as you gain experience: for example, branch managers’ salaries start at around £24,000 and can increase to around £41,000.

Read more about the salary and benefits offered by retail banks .

Typical employers of retail bankers

  • Head offices of retail banks
  • Local branches.

Retail banking graduate schemes are advertised on targetjobs and by careers services. You will find branch-based jobs advertised on local jobs boards and in branches themselves. Recruitment agencies also advertise branch-based roles.

Qualifications and training required for retail banking jobs

You don’t need a degree to become a retail banker, so this career is very suited to school leavers and apprenticeship routes are available.

You’re likely to need a degree at least a 2.2 classification to join a retail banking graduate scheme. In general, the subject of your degree is not important. There are likely to be opportunities to study towards professional qualifications once you’re employed, and employers will fund these.

Relevant experience gained via job shadowing, vacation work and placements in any business area can also be helpful, although not essential. Because of the nature of the work, you won’t be eligible for some banking jobs if you have a criminal record or have declared bankruptcy.

Find out how you can gain work experience in retail banking and other financial services.

Key skills for retail bankers

Employers will be looking for:

  • excellent customer service skills
  • confidence and the ability to sell products
  • problem solving
  • the ability to be sensitive to people in difficult financial situations
  • commercial awareness
  • interpersonal skills
  • IT skills
  • analytical skills
  • leadership and management skills
  • teamworking skills
  • numerical skills
  • verbal/written communication skills.

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