A Probationary officer (PO) or a Management Trainee (MT) is the first level to enter the banking world. He or she reports to immediate seniors who evaluate his performance in the tasks assigned to him. Initially, a Probationary Officer can be assigned any work from a wide gamut of ongoing banking activities. Normally the probation period is of two years in which the officer is exposed to different types of banking related works. In some banks, the duration may be limited to one year.
The officers or trainees may undergo frequent transfers or deputations during the probation period. Once the probation period is completed the officer is confirmed as an Assistant Manager and gets his or her permanent posting. Some banks are now-a-days placing officers as Deputy Managers also, just after confirmation, provided they pass the test conducted by the bank. For example: State Bank of India condutcs a confirmation exam. If a probationary offcer passes the exam, he is confirmed as an Assistant Manager. In fact, State Bank of India even gives a chance for promotion to Scale II to candidates who perform exceptionally well in the exam.
After confirmation officers can be posted in specific areas of banking. Iitially, they may be assigned customer handling tasks such as passing a cheque, cash management, or issuing drafts. The person may be shifted to other departments subsequently.
A Probationary Officer can reach up to the level of Chairman of a bank. One shining example of such a growth is Chanda Kochhar. She started her career as a as a Management Trainee with ICICI bank in 1984 and rose to the position of Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).