The profession of a banker is a very difficult one, more so in a developing country like India where banks are called upon to play a crucial role in the socio-economic life of the country. With the nationalization of fourteen major banks in 1969,and a number of other banks a few years later, the responsibilities of a banker have increased manifold, and daily he is required to face new challenges from one quarter or the other.
In the past, banks were the custodians of the money of the depositors, which they had to invest with care, so that it might remain safe, and be returned to the depositors, whenever called upon to do so, according to the rules and regulations of the bank. If a bank failed to make prompt payments, the confidence of the people was shaken. This led to a rush on the bank for withdraws and the consequent failure of the bank. However these are now matters of the past. The depositors, money is safe, and not likely to incur any loss as the return of their money is guaranteed by the reserve bank of India. Still, the banker must handle the deposits with care so that the people are impressed by his efficient management and the deposits with the bank increase. With this end in view, he should also float carefully devised attractive schemes for credit mobilization. Competition is keen, there are so many banks with their numerous branches, and the success of the bank depends on the initiative and intelligence of the manager. Even a slight error of judgment means considerable loss of business.
Deposit mobilization is only one side of the coin; its other side is the advancing of loans. While lending money, the banker should be tactful and discriminating so that loans are advanced only to right parties and the bank is not a loss. Today banks are called upon to give loans to weaker sections of society and the self-employed and the unemployed. In such transactions the criteria is not the capacity of the borrower to repay the money, but whether the money so lent is likely to lead to increased production or to generate employment. Such transactions are extremely risky and a large part of the money so lent may never be repaid. The banker has to face this challenger with courage tact and discrimination. He must be a good judge of human nature and he must also be prepared to maintain personal contact with the borrowers, so that there is no misuse of borrowed money, and the risk is reduced to a minimum.
Another serious challenge which a banker has to face comes from bank employees’ unions. These unions are all powerful these days, and the bank manager remain helpless before their might. Therefore, they find it difficult to discipline the staff. The conscious of their own power, don’t bother at all to serve the people. Even during peak hours they don’t care to remain at their seats, but move out either to have tea or to loiter about and gossip.
The people have to face great inconvenience and there is lot of irritation and annoyance. If the banker intervenes and tries to discipline the employees, there is a hue and cry, slogans are raised against him and the office-bearers of the union take up the case. Such situation must be handled with great tact and discrimination. Even a slight false step leads to endless trouble and brings disgrace to the banker.
In other countries banks are called upon to deposit the insurance premiums, electricity bills, telephone bills etc. of the constituents. Such bills have to be deposited in time; other-wise additional payments have to be made by way of interest and penalty. However in India, the bankers are not yet required to render such services. But the days are not far off when they will also be called upon to face these challenges.
In short, a banker has to face many and varied challenges, if he is to be successful in the career he has chosen for himself.