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What Does a Banking Trainee Do?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Many different banks, from large financial institutions to small, local community branches, offer banking trainee programs for qualified individuals looking to start a career. These programs are often similar to paid internships, and available to recent graduates of relevant degree programs, such as finance or accounting. A banking trainee will typically spend a few months working in different departments in the bank and learning where he or she is most interested in working, and may then be recommended to become a trainee in a specific department for the purpose of eventually being offered a permanent position.

A banking trainee is an entry-level position, so anyone in this job should expect to provide administrative and office assistance as needed. Though the trainee is there to learn how to successfully work in more advanced positions, the point of these jobs is also to learn about daily operations of the bank, and how everything works. The best way to do this is to get actively involved in every department possible, which requires learning everything from how to answer the phones to how reports are processed or filed. In some banks, banking trainees might also be trained as tellers, to assist customers and understand how deposits and withdrawals are handled.

Of course, a banking trainee may have the opportunity to learn more advanced job skills as well, once he or she has mastered the basics. Most trainees will be regularly transferred between different departments in order to get as much experience as possible, and determine where he or she might like a permanent position. For instance, a trainee might assist lending officers in the mortgage department, or in personal and commercial lending to learn how different types of loans work. The trainee might also shadow financial advisors, or any other available permanent positions in the bank.

The next step in being a banking trainee is often a few months of dedicated work in a particular department. Once the trainee has been able to work and sample many different departments, he or she might have a better idea of where her specific interests lie. Working in a more permanent trainee position in this department is a good way to boost skills and experience; generally, this happens for a set period of time, such as three months. After the time is up, the trainee might be offered a permanent job, and, hopefully, all of the initial training she has had makes the transition virtually seamless.

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Discussion Comments
By julies — On Oct 05, 2012

Do you have to have a college degree to go through a banking trainee program? I have worked at a bank before and don't have a college degree. I am in the process of looking for a different job and would like to go back into banking, but would like to do something other than being a teller. I am wondering what my chances of going through a training program like this would be without a degree?

By golf07 — On Oct 05, 2012

I went through a banking trainee program in an informal kind of way. I started out working at a bank as a teller, and slowly worked my way up through the ranks. Today I am in charge of all the personal bankers at a large bank.

The experience I had in each department along the way has helped me be successful at what I do today. It would be much more difficult coming into a position like this without the years of experience I had working in so many different areas of the bank.

By LisaLou — On Oct 04, 2012

When I graduated from college with my degree in finance I really had no idea what I wanted to do for sure. I applied for several different positions and the first offer I had was from a bank.

I went through their banking trainee program and spent time in just about every area of the bank. Much of my time at first was spent observing and shadowing. This was very valuable to me as I got to really see how each different department functioned.

I really liked the mortgage end of it and still work as a mortgage loan officer today. The trainee program I went through lasted 6 months and I don't think any of it was a waste of time at all.

By honeybees — On Oct 03, 2012

I began my banking career working as a part time teller. This position is often the lowest paid position in the bank, but it is extremely important. I think anybody who goes through a banking trainee program should work as a teller for at least a short period of time.

There is much more to it than meets the eye, and it can also be quite stressful. Making sure your drawer balances at the end of the day is critical. Even if someone goes through a bank training program and ends up being in charge of a certain department, knowing the ins and outs of a teller position would serve them well.

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