The Pros and Cons of Working in the Back Office of a Nigerian Bank

The Pros and Cons of Working in the Back Office of a Nigerian Bank

By Feyisara Adeniyi

The Banking Industry in Nigeria has been perceived as a respectable institution ever since its establishment during the colonial era, to service the colonial government. It has also grown in the post-colonial and post-independent Nigeria to be a giant player in the financial and labour economy of Nigeria. It therefore comes as no surprise that the dream of many young Nigerians is to be a banker. For as many that get such dreams realised, it is sooner tested by the varying challenges that are a given in the banking sector, and in fact any viable sector in Nigeria. Specifically, I will on the dwell on the back office in a bank, a crucial and indelible unit in the bank, not remotely visible to the average person, because unlike many units, they are not client-facing. The back office simply settles the job of the bank that deals with settlements, record maintenance, regulatory compliance, accounting, information technology and clearance. Many advantages come with working at the back office and they include the bulleted points.

  • Non target based work: The duties require focus on rendering services in areas of specialization without the pressure that comes with meeting sales of management targets.
  • Performance measured by quality of your work: This is a very good thing in building career as it gives the staff the opportunity to reflect on job functions and work on areas that need to be worked on without any element of chance. A staff’s success as a back office staff is mainly based on sheer hard work and knowledge of job junction.
  • Assurance: There is a level of assurance that working in back office gives you because it does not have pressing targets to be met. There is the liberty to have a good night rest without thinking of the stress of liability. The peace that comes with a well-defined role that can be measured by the level of time and energy deployed to it cannot be under estimated.
  • Respectable Job functions: Bankers that work in the back office are viewed as having more respectable job functions because they deals with an advanced form of marketing for the bank.
  • And finally, they have easy and achievable KPI’s which enables them to be easily promoted and receive their bonuses as they are always on top of their appraisal.

As lucrative and convenient it is to work in the back office there are many cons attributed to it some of them are:

  • It is too procedural: Most jobs at the back office include the following of due process to follow compliance rules, set by the bank and the regulatory bodies. As such, many see the back office as having routine roles, which necessarily does not mean so.
  • Monotonous Job function: Many back office staff who cannot reinvent their roles may see the job as monotonous and be unable to function outside of the set rules and goals.
  • Decaying Social life: Working in the back office can be very demanding and as such requires presence at almost every day of the week, weekends inclusive. There are so many paper work to be done which requires you to sacrifice that birthday or that church service or that wedding anniversary. The list is endless and with time you start to notice that the only people you still mingle with are the ones you work together in the same office as there is no time to meet new people.

The back office regardless of his disadvantages is an interesting place to work in a bank. It prepares a banker for future managerial roles, either at own employment or another establishment. It also helps in the understanding of banking procedure and the synergy it has with other businesses, including how companies can benefit from opportunities mostly presented by the banking sector.

To conclude, the back office can be likened to the engine room of the bank, which endures not only the smooth running of banking operations but also a mobile force to spring many businesses through proper guidance and direction.

 

Feyi works for a financial institution she believes to be Nigeria’s leading bank, she can be reached via  feyisaraadeniyi@gmail.com

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