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Chartered Banker review:Faster paths to professionalism
The Institute is redesigning the routemap to its Chartered Banker qualification. The standard is being meticulously maintained but, as we report, the journey to professionalism will be shorter.
This autumn, the Institute starts implementing an important progressive redesign of the route-map to its prized Chartered Banker professional qualification. The new educational framework offers career bankers two paths for their programmes of study and, for many, it significantly reduces the time commitment they’ll have to make to get there.
The reformed programme follows an extensive industry-wide consultation conducted with banking leaders during the first quarter of this year. It examined the aims and structure of the Chartered Banker qualification and covered:
• its relevance in today’s challenging banking markets• potential graduate and school-leaver participation• the level of bank support that might be expected• the most realistic study periods and course lengths• entry requirements and approaches to study assessment• the likely demand for different levels of qualification.
The Institute gathered a wide range of detailed responses to its survey and conducted a number of follow-up “round table” working sessions with banking HR and other leaders in London and Edinburgh.
“A central issue for us has been to assess how appropriate the Chartered Banker qualification actually is in today’s greatly altered post-crisis banking environment,” explains Colin Morrison, the Institute’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Education. “The qualification as it now stands was last revised around 2005 and, although you’d normally expect reforms like that to last about 10 years, we have to face the fact that the industry has changed so dramatically in the last five years.
“There was a clear need to stand back and ask ourselves what this professional qualification should contain and – quite critically given the industry’s current trust-building imperatives – how to encourage more banks and career bankers to commit to it so that we have a greater supply of Chartered Bankers coming through, both nationally and internationally.
“And we’ve been genuinely encouraged by the responses we’ve had. There’s a wide acceptance that more needs to be done to recognise and support this drive for professionalism. That’s been a very strong theme of the feedback – an acknowledgement that, over the years, banks have perhaps been paying lip service to this and that the trend effectively to de-professionalise banking from the 90s onwards had gone too far. There’s now a much wider industry recognition of the need for the banker in the community to be seen again as someone who is professional and respected.”
The reforms to the Chartered Banker programme now being implemented also recognise the intense budgetary and operational pressures faced by the banks. To encourage the interest of individual career bankers as well as the support of their sponsoring employers, the Institute is redesigning course programmes so that, while the standard of the qualification is meticulously maintained, the journey to professionalism is shorter.
“It’s not going to be easier, but it’ll certainly be less onerous,” explains Morrison. “People will get there quicker. The new structure accepts that, in today’s employment circumstances, taking up to five years to achieve a professional qualification was really quite daunting for a lot of people. So, for non-graduate participants, it will be possible to achieve the qualification in about three years, while graduate participants should be able to complete it in 18-24 months.”
The new structure provides two routes:
For graduate entrants there will be an introductory Professional Banker course followed by a programme of four core units:
1. Professionalism and Ethics – an updated development of current content.
2. Credit and Lending – focusing on evaluation and relationship skills.
3. Contemporary Banking – covering national and global economic and competitive issues.
4. Risk Management – dealing with all aspects of credit, operational and enterprise risk.
A final component offers a compulsory choice from three study options covering Retail Banking, Private Banking or Business & Corporate Banking.
For non-graduate entrants, courses will cover the Professional Banker programme at both Certificate and Diploma level, with participants then working through to the intermediate qualification of an Advanced Diploma for which the subject study components are still being finalised.
Non-graduates would then similarly complete the Chartered Banker qualification by undertaking a further three of the four core courses listed above.
“The destination is the same for participants on both routes,” says Morrison, “but we’ve been careful to design the route-map itself to suit the educational backgrounds, the learning styles and the working circumstances of the people concerned.”
The Institute plans to start phasing in the new course structures towards the end of this year and expects that the reformed programmes will be fully operational on both routes by the end of 2012. Details will be communicated to new and existing students over the next few months.
“We really hope, as a result of the comprehensive consultations we’ve conducted, that the banks will see this as an important component of their investment in the professional development of their staff and in the rebuilding of their customer confidence,” says Morrison. “We’re providing a clear educational process to help bankers achieve exactly those aspirational standards of professionalism which their clients now expect.”
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Graeme Hartop, Managing Director, Scottish Widows Bank
The Chartered Banker programme provides broad, flexible skill sets and a wide range of ways to achieve the qualification.
Philip Grant, Managing Director, UK Private Banking at Lloyds Banking Group
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