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How to Get a Probationary Officer (PO) Post in Indian Banks

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The author intends to provide a professional platform where one can discuss career-related matters and find answers.


How to Become a PO in a Bank

In this article, you'll learn:

  1. What a Probationary Officer Is
  2. Benefits of the Job
  3. PO Duties
  4. Salary and Job Requirements
  5. Opportunities for Promotions
  6. How to Prepare for the Exam

What Is a Probationary Officer?

The banking sector hired nearly 45000 people as Probationary Officers in its 2009 recruitment drive. The State Bank of India (SBI) advertised 1500 more PO posts in January 2013.

The most exciting career options in the banking sector are Probationary Officer (PO), Management Trainee, and Special Officer (SO). POs in the State Bank of India receive a cash component of Rs 30,370/- per month in addition to a PF contribution of Rs 4673/-. Officers posted in Mumbai receive Rs 29,500/- per month towards lease rental for housing.

Benefits or Perks of the Job

The amount of perquisites or benefits will vary depending on the place of posting. Perquisites in SBI total Rs 4130/-. The Bank provides full medical aid to employees and three-fourths of the cost for family members of the employee. A main attraction for bank employees is their entitlement to low-interest-rate loans. A leave allowance is provided for travel to home or anywhere in India according to bank rules. A PO posted in Mumbai will receive a total compensation (including emoluments in various forms) of Rs 8.0 lakh per annum.

PO Job Profile

A Probationary Officer may be assigned any or all of the activities listed below:

  • General banking: Maintenance of customers' current and savings accounts, including collecting and clearing cheques, issuing drafts, accepting term deposits, processing loans, and issuing debt securities.
  • Housekeeping and supervisory functions: Assigning duties to subordinate bank staff for the smooth running of the bank’s routine activities.
  • Other work: Bank management can assign a PO to any other banking-related work.

Salary and Job Requirements for POs

A revised salary scale was due to take effect in November 2012. The latest advertisement (January 2013) by SBI for recruitment of POs gives the pay scale as Rs 14500-600/7-18700-700/2-20100-800/7-25700 (Junior Management Grade Scale I). Successful candidates will get a starting basic pay of Rs 16,900/-, which will include four increments of Rs 600/-each.

The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection in Mumbai conducts a common examination for all twenty public sector banks in the country. To be eligible for the examination, one needs to be a graduate in any educational stream (any major) with 60% marks (there is a 5% relaxation or allowance for candidates in exempt categories).

There is no end of opportunities for people recruited as a bank PO. But recruits should become familiar with job requirements. Probationary Officers are expected to learn not only routine banking activities, but also how to increase their bank's volume and market share with new banking activities such as online banking, insurance, asset management, corporate banking, securities, and investments.

Opportunities for Promotion

There are lots of promotional avenues for people choosing Probationary Officer as a career option. The new PO goes through a one- or two-year probation period, becoming familiar with the working of various departments, including general banking, loans processing, cash handling, bill collection, cheque clearances, and loan processing.

Depending on his or her performance during the probation period, he or she may eventually be promoted to Manager, Senior Manager, Assistant General Manager (AGM), Deputy General Manager (DGM), or even General Manager (GM) in a public sector bank.

After serving for four years, a PO becomes eligible for the post of Manager (a Scale II post). However, qualifying departmental examinations or examinations conducted by an approved agency such as the Certified Associates of Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB) may help a PO get promoted at the earliest possible date.

State Bank of India provides career development opportunities, including opportunities for foreign postings. POs will be subject to a screening process during their probation clearance. Qualifying officers will be placed either in JMSG I or MMGSM II depending on their performance during probation. Hard-working officers have a chance to reach top management grade in a reasonable time.

Eligibility for the Exam

A candidate must be between 21 and 30 years old as of a reference date prescribed by the bank. Usually, though it may differ form bank to bank, the upper age limit is relaxed by three years for OBC candidates and five years for SC/ST/Ex-servicemen.

A "general" graduate or post graduate candidate, having marks of 55% or more in graduation/post graduation and marks of 60% or more in class XII, is eligible to register online as a candidate.

For a candidate belonging to the SC/ST category, these requirements for graduate and Class XII marks are relaxed by 5%. Some banks require that test candidates have a certificate from a Government-recognized training institute showing basic knowledge of computer applications, while others just require a working knowledge of computer applications.

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Selection Procedure

Successful candidates are placed on a merit list based on their performance on a two-part written examination (consisting of an "objective" test and a "descriptive" test) plus an interview examination.

A. Written Examination

Objective test : 200 points, 2 hours duration

(i) English language (grammar, vocabulary, comprehension)

(ii) General awareness, marketing and computers

(iii) Data analysis and interpretation

(iv) Reasoning (high level)

Descriptive type test: 50 points, 1 hour duration

Candidates who achieve a high percentile ranking in each of the four sections of the objective test and score an aggregate of 40% or above (for the "general" category) or 35% or above (for the "reserve" category), will be evaluated by a descriptive test.

This test covers the candidate’s knowledge of the English language and has four sections: comprehension, short précis, letter writing, and essay.

A list for further consideration is created based on the aggregate scores on both the objective and descriptive tests, and includes only those candidates with aggregate scores of 40% (general) and 35% (reserve).

B. Group Discussion and Interview

Depending on vacancies, candidates who have qualified based on the written examinations (objective and descriptive) will be called for group discussion and interview. The maximum score for this part is 50, that is, 20 for the group discussion, and 30 for the interview.

C. Final Merit List

The final list is prepared based on scores on the written test, group discussion, and interview. The score on the written test, which has a maximum of 250 points, is converted to a 75-point scale, and the score for the general discussion and interview, which has a maximum of 50 points, is converted to a 25-point scale.

Candidates will be ranked based on the resulting 100-point scale. The top-ranking candidates in the final merit list will be selected.

How to Prepare for the Written PO Examination

The questions on the written tests are not difficult, but they are numerous. Applicants need to manage their time and attempt as many questions as they can to achieve high marks in the prescribed time.

Understand the pattern of questions being asked in previous examinations. Banks tend to have similar types of questions.

Business Compass is a good magazine for preparing for the section on general awareness and business (marketing). Several newspapers (The Hindu, The Hindustan Times, Times of India, Business Line) can help you improve your English language as well as your IQ.

You should have good logical and reasoning abilities and try to practice as many exercises as possible from different practice books.

Many banks are replacing questions about numerical ability and quantitative aptitude with questions about high-level reasoning ability. This change in policy is due to the increasing use of core banking solutions and computers, which makes expertise in numerical ability less relevant.

Banking Job Notifications - with January 2016 last date

Recent banking job notifications are summarized here for the use of interested viewers and periodically will be updated. Hence, viewers must visit this section at least once in a month.

  • Corporation bank has invited applications for the posts of peons, HKP and PTS etc. Last date is January 7, 2016.
  • Canara Bank has advertised posts of Tech. Field Officers, & various others categories. Last date to apply is January 12, 2016.
  • SIDBI needs one hundred 'Assistant Managers' for which applicants have to fulfill the formalities before January 11, 2016.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2010 Crusader


Rajeev Ranjan on July 19, 2017:

Sir,what is maximum salary of p.o. In bank?

Damthiubo Nrak on January 16, 2017:

how do i apply for exam???///

Crusader (author) on November 29, 2016:

Minimum requirement is bachelor degree.

Lalita yadav on November 18, 2016:


I m student of 3rd semster. Can i fill up the form for p.o

sasirekha on August 23, 2016:

sir. i am cmpleted degree. i want to apply any govt bank exam my age 39 yrs i don't know how to enter this bank exams what are steps of method recruiting done

pls sir reply me any suggessions

renuka singh on June 09, 2016:

Is it necessary to belong to commerce bakgrnd fr applying for po post ......coz i m a science graduate and also specify if any of d commerce subjects are imp for it .

above info was vry helpful..thnx

carrie on July 16, 2015:

after finishing my 12... can i take coachings and apply for the PO post Or do i need to study further??

Vicky on June 29, 2015:

Sir I have passed in second class I have got 49 .56 % can I applied for po post.

ARAMVA on January 26, 2015:

can an Indian Citizen having bachelor degree from Nepal compete for IBPS exams??

sujeet Kumar tiwary on December 19, 2014:

I am PhD microbiologist in state gov rntcp contractual my pay is 60000 per month SBI po equvailent to my post

Dinesh on November 28, 2014:

Dear All,

I have completed and working in private company.

I have doubt. If I join as clerk this year, can I join as PO next year by clearing exam? I heard that we can not attend any PSU interviews once we join in clerk. we need to have NOC to attend any interview? and how easy/hard it is to get NOC? Please suggest

riya on November 17, 2014:

I have no idea in po sir please tell how i start preparation to became po officer

Crusader (author) on November 08, 2014:

Shritika, as per existing eligibility criteria any graduate or any candidate appearing in the qualifying examination may apply for PO examination. There are no minimum marks in graduation as per the latest notifications.

shritika mundra on November 08, 2014:

Hello sir

maself shritika mundra from gangtok ..sir i had finished ma 44% only from nbu board i decided to do bank.p.o.course from sir will u please tell mey that can i get a chance to do bank.p.o.nd proceed for the examination aftr completing ma with 44%only?

shritika mundra on November 08, 2014:

Hello sir

maself shritika mundra from gangtok ..sir i had finished ma 44% only from nbu board i decided to do bank.p.o.course from sir will u please tell mey that can i get a chance to do bank.p.o.nd proceed for the examination aftr completing ma with 44%only?

Ankit bhawsar25 on September 21, 2014:

Sir,I want to know that good handwriting are important in descriptive test for the selection...

And may I know ur email address???

vikas on September 20, 2014:

IT really education qualifications of sbi po examination is 12 (60%)and graduation also (60%)

Please clear

Crusader (author) on July 12, 2014:

Dear Poonam, there are many books available for PO exam preparation. You may find some online also. Best way to improve your English is to read English Newspapers, story books and magazines etc. You may find plenty resources using net search.

poonam on July 10, 2014:

I want to know that how to prepartion of po in banking sector and how to improve my English(I want to do prepartion of G.D and interview)

Ahana on June 24, 2014:

I was preparing for IBPS PO exam for past two years and till now, I couldn't make through it, but with the help of this guide, I finally understand what I am doing wrong. I think my resources are not right. I must change the way I study. May be it can help. thanks for sharing

For latest SBI recruitment

choti on June 18, 2014:

k bank job is central government job kno so i asked. n rrb multipurpose n scale 1 the age limit is 18-28 n candidate should be graduate how it is possible at the age of 18 kno of they will alter it to 21-32years it wil b useful to so many candidates

Crusader (author) on June 12, 2014:

Choti, I have doubts. Govt. has to declare for banks separately.

choti on June 12, 2014:

whether increase in upper age limit in upsc exams will also applicable bank exams like ibps po for general category aspirants

Nikesh on May 28, 2014:

I am a Mechanical Engineer and working in power plant operations from last three years. will it be ok to make career with banking

nilesh on April 23, 2014:

i hav got failed in 12th in accounts but got cleared after a i hav two results..can i apply for sbi po?

suneel pandey on April 08, 2014:

Dear Sir/Maam,

I have got selected as Agriculture Field Officer in BoB. Please let me know what courses will help me in getting fast promotions and what courses will help me to get knowledge for other profiles in banking. Thanks in advance.

Crusader (author) on January 27, 2014:

Dear Vivek, you're a bit unlucky that you missed just by 0.1% . However, it is unlikely that bank considers you eligible based on your marks. You may apply in other banks as they ask for less percentage.

vivek kumar on January 26, 2014:

I have 59•9% IN 12TH board and 65% in graduation can i apply for sbi po post or any bank po post

Crusader (author) on October 08, 2013:

thanks Vik. Inspired by your suggestion, a new blog is being published for monthly update of all banking exams in India. You'll get its address very soon.

Vik.. on October 06, 2013:

Really , you have done a great job . Thanx for explaining each & everything . kindly share one more detail with us .

Can u tell me the name of the website from where i can get the list of all banking exams & there dates ??

Crusader (author) on October 03, 2013:

Thanks shilpa. Ayush, you need qualifying marks in all the sections and therefore, need to give attention towards all the sections.

ayush on October 03, 2013:

which subjects should we have good command on for this examination ???

do we need to have a good knowledge in commerce section i.e, accounts economics bussiness studies and maths ????

shilpa bhosale on October 03, 2013:

online question paper helps to us format of QP.n type of Q.P

Crusader (author) on September 19, 2013:

Notification dated 10-7-2013 clearly mentioned 60% marks. However, corrigenda dated 22-7-2013 mentioned any graduate but did not specify any marks criteria. Clarification is needed to know whether details of original notification are still valid or not since corrigenda just mentioned qualification and not the marks.

Crusader (author) on September 19, 2013:

Parul, graduates in biology are eligible to appear in the PO examination.

xyz on September 19, 2013:

there is no 60%(55%) criteria of graduation mentioned for the IBPS PO exam

parul on September 18, 2013:

can a biology student go for bank PO as a career ???

Crusader (author) on September 02, 2013:

thanks bank PO Coach...

Bank PO Coaching Institute Chandigarh on September 01, 2013:

Very descriptive and helpful information as all students point of view.Good hard work done by you.

Crusader (author) on February 15, 2012:

sristhi,online courses have certain limitations.Best thing is to join some good coaching classes and use online resources for downloading papers for past years.

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