46 Banking Interview Questions with Expert Sample Answer Tips (2024)

Go to Blog Home | By: Joe McDermott | Updated: 25 January, 2024 | Category: How to Answer, Interview Questions And Answers

banking interview questions answers
So, you have an interview coming up for a job in banking? Wondering about the types of banking interview questions you might be asked and how to answer them?

Choosing a career in banking is a perfect move for many candidates. It offers potential financial security, global opportunities and diverse career choices. It is a sector that attracts dynamic individuals who seek a long terms career coupled with professional growth.

As a consequence, your job interview will be competitive.

They will look to ascertain your suitability for a post in banking and to determine if you possess the necessary skill set to achieve success in the Banking sector.

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What to Expect in Your Banking Interview

The recruitment process in banking is highly competitive and you will be expected to attend a series of interviews.

Initially you will complete some form of pre-screening, perhaps a pre-recorded video interview or online tests. You may be invited to an assessment centre to undertake tests and exercises.

In the formal face to face interviews, you will be interviewed by a panel. The interview questions will vary and may explore experience, educational background, career goals, motivation and reasons for applying.

Expect competency based interview questions exploring your problem solving skills, analytical skills, ability to communicate at all levels, aptitude for dealing with clients and numerical ability.

For senior posts, expect questions relating to leadership, team building, strategy development and project and change management.

Competencies and Skills They Look for in Banking Interviews

Working in banking requires a diverse set of competencies and skills to navigate the financial landscape and provide effective services to clients.

Here are some of the key skills essential for success in the banking industry. Expect interview questions exploring some of these:

  • Financial Literacy: A strong understanding of financial principles, including accounting, budgeting, and financial analysis, is crucial for roles in banking.
  • Customer Service: Excellent customer service skills are essential for building and maintaining positive relationships with clients. This includes effective communication, problem-solving, and responsiveness.
  • Numerical Proficiency: Accurate numerical skills are fundamental for tasks such as handling transactions, calculating interest rates, and analysing financial data.
  • Risk Management: The ability to assess and manage risks is vital in banking. Professionals need to identify potential risks, evaluate their impact, and implement strategies to mitigate them.
  • Regulatory Compliance: A thorough understanding of banking regulations and compliance is essential to ensure that all activities adhere to legal standards and industry regulations.
  • Communication Skills: Clear and concise communication is critical for conveying complex financial information to clients, colleagues, and stakeholders.
For senior posts, they will ask questions exploring your ability to lead a team, to recruit, motivate and develop staff and to deliver projects effectively.

Top 10 Bank Interview Questions

Expect some of the traditional questions such as Tell us about yourself or What are your Strengths and Weaknesses?

However, here are our top 10 interview questions specific to banking plus answer guides.

  1. Why have you chosen a career in the banking sector?

This is a favourite not just for those new candidates entering the sector but also for seasoned employees. Focus your answer on the skills you bring, your fit with the sector and how you thrive in the banking world.

Here is a Sample Answer:I am drawn to a career in the banking sector because of its dynamic nature and the multitude of opportunities it offers for professional growth.

Banking is at the heart of the economy, playing a pivotal role in financial stability and development. I am excited about the prospect of working in an environment that demands adaptability, strategic thinking, and continuous learning.

Moreover, the banking sector provides a platform for me to leverage my analytical skills, attention to detail, and financial acumen. I am enthusiastic about contributing to the industry’s innovative advancements, especially in areas such as digital banking and financial technology.

The diverse range of roles within banking, from customer service to risk management and investment banking, appeals to my desire for a versatile and challenging career.

I am particularly interested in the opportunity to make a meaningful impact by helping clients achieve their financial goals and supporting economic growth.

Overall, I see the banking sector as an exciting and rewarding field where I can apply my skills, contribute to the industry’s evolution, and build a fulfilling and long-term career.”

  1. Please talk us through your experience in the banking industry.

Provide a summary of your relevant banking experience, emphasising key roles, responsibilities, and achievements in previous positions. Keep the focus relevant and recent.

  1. How do you stay updated on industry trends and changes in banking regulations?

This is a great question which also explores your motivation for a career in banking. How interested are you really? Showcase your commitment to staying informed about the banking industry, including any specific resources or strategies you use to stay current. Mention papers, sites, apps you read or use to stay updated.

  1. What would you say is different about dealing with customers in a banking environment compared to other sectors?

Dealing with customers in banking involves unique considerations due to the financial nature of the transactions and the importance of trust in this industry. Mention financial security, banking and regulatory compliance, risks assessment and mitigation amongst others.

  1. How would you assess and manage risk in banking operations?

Share your approach to identifying and mitigating risks in banking, including any experiences with risk management strategies.

  1. What are the key factors you consider when evaluating a loan application?

This is a technical banking interview questions most likely asked for someone with experience However it is an example of the type of detail you may be asked for. In this instance, discuss the criteria and considerations you prioritize when assessing loan applications, showcasing your knowledge of creditworthiness and risk analysis.

  1. Tell us about a time when you handled confidential information in a banking environment?

This is a competency based interview question exploring your ability to deal with confidential information. Use the STAR or IPAR formula when answering. Keep in mind that confidentiality is key when dealing with customer data and information. Highlight your commitment to confidentiality, integrity, and ethical conduct in managing sensitive financial information and customer data.

  1. What is the difference between retail and investment banking?

Retail banking serves individuals with basic financial services like savings and loans. In contrast, investment banking caters to corporations and governments, focusing on complex financial transactions, mergers, and acquisitions. Retail banks target the general public, while investment banks work with institutional clients, offering distinct financial products and services tailored to their diverse needs.9. As a bank manager, what strategies do you employ to meet sales targets?

  1. What skills do you bring which are most relevant for this banking role?

Your analysis of the job description and person spec will drive your answer.   For a banking role, relevant skills may include financial literacy, customer service, analytical abilities, regulatory knowledge, communication skills, attention to detail, and proficiency in relevant software and technology. Tailor your response based on the specific requirements of the banking position.

This is sample of the top 10 types of questions we would expect in a banking interview. Bear in mind these questions may be phrased differently however they assess your knowledge of banking operations, customer service, regulatory and risk management. In addition, they review your motivation and overall suitability for a role in the banking sector.

Prepare for these questions by reflecting on your experiences, achievements and industry knowledge.

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Banking Competency Interview Questions

We would expect your interview to include competency interview questions as standard. These behavioural style questions will assess your skills, behaviours and abilities relevant to the job. Here are five banking competency interview questions:

Customer Service: Can you provide an example of a challenging customer service situation you’ve successfully handled in a previous banking role? How did you address the customer’s concerns and ensure a positive resolution?

Risk Management: Describe a situation where you had to assess and manage a significant risk in banking. How did you approach the analysis, and what measures did you implement to mitigate the risk?

Team Working: In banking, teamwork is crucial. Can you share an example of a successful collaboration with colleagues to achieve a common goal or address a complex issue? What role did you play in the team’s success?

Adaptability: The banking industry is constantly evolving. Can you provide an example of how you’ve demonstrated adaptability to changes in regulations, technology, or market conditions in a previous role? How did you stay effective during transitions?”

Decision-Making: In a banking environment, ethical conduct is paramount. Describe a situation where you had to make an ethical decision or navigate a morally complex scenario. How did you ensure that your actions were aligned with ethical standards?”

These questions assess various competencies such as customer service, risk management, teamwork, adaptability, and ethical decision-making, providing insights into a candidate’s suitability for a banking role.

Retail Banking Interview Questions

Perhaps your role in in a retail banking environment? In this sector, you will serve individual customers, providing essential financial services like savings accounts, loans, and credit cards. The work involves daily transactions, customer service, and financial advice. Retail bankers build relationships with clients, helping them manage personal finances and achieve their financial goals within a consumer-focused environment.

You can expect similar general type questions to open up the interview and depending on the level you are applying at more technical questions can include:

  • How would you deal with a customer who came to the branch to complain?
  • How would you give excellent Customer Service in a face-to-face transaction in a banking environment?
  • Working in a bank requires strong mathematical abilities. Give us an example which shows your ability to use these effectively?
  • How do you approach delivering excellent customer service in a retail banking setting?
  • Can you provide an example of a situation where you effectively communicated complex financial information to a customer?
  • Retail banking often involves addressing customer issues. Can you share a specific example of a challenging problem you encountered and how you successfully resolved it, ensuring customer satisfaction?
  • Retail bankers must be familiar with a range of financial products. Can you discuss your understanding of retail banking products and share an experience where you recommended a product based on a customer’s needs?
  • Compliance with banking regulations is crucial. How do you ensure that your actions and decisions align with regulatory requirements?
  • Can you provide an example of how you’ve maintained compliance in a previous role?
  • Retail banking often involves promoting additional products or services. Can you discuss your approach to sales and cross-selling?
  • Share an experience where you successfully identified an opportunity to cross-sell and its positive impact.
  • Imagine I am a prospective Private Banking client and I call you with the intention of opening an account. Talk me through the initial conversation you would have with me, what approach would you take to ensure I became your customer.

These questions assess a candidate’s abilities in customer service, problem-solving, product knowledge, regulatory compliance, and sales, which are essential skills in the context of retail banking.

In addition you should prepare for Competency Based Interview Questions as these will form a large part of your interview.

Business Banking Interview Questions

Working in business banking involves dealing with the financial needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This role involves understanding business finances, offering tailored financial solutions, and managing relationships with business clients. Business bankers contribute to the growth and success of businesses by providing strategic financial guidance and services.

Here are some business banking interview questions:

  • Can you discuss your experience in assessing and understanding the financial health of businesses?
  • How do you analyse financial statements to determine creditworthiness and provide appropriate financial solutions?
  • Describe a scenario where you successfully managed a long-term relationship with a business client. How did you identify their needs, address concerns, and provide value-added services to support their financial goals?
  • In business banking, risk assessment is crucial. Can you share an example of a situation where you identified and mitigated potential risks for a business client? How did your actions contribute to a positive outcome?
  • Business clients often require diverse financial products. How do you stay informed about business banking products, and can you share an experience where you successfully cross-sold multiple products to a business client?
  • What steps would you take to nurture commercial awareness and a sales focus within this business banking team?
  • As a business banking manager how would you achieve consistency in the quality of servicing across such a large team?

Investment Banking Interview Questions

Working in investment banking is dynamic and demanding, involving financial analysis, strategic advisory, and capital raising for corporations. The role requires strong analytical skills, attention to detail, and the ability to navigate complex financial transactions. Investment bankers often work on high-stakes deals, contributing to the financial success of clients and firms.

Here are some potential questions commonly asked in interviews for Investment Banking roles:

  • Your role will involve advising companies on mergers and acquisitions and appropriate capital structures. Tell me what would you say are the main drivers for an organisation to pursue an M&A strategy.
  • Imagine I represent a new client, a mid-sized private corporation and I approach your firm asking you to value the company. Please talk me through the various methodologies you would use when valuing this company and how would you advise me.
  • What is an IPO and why would a company want to go public?
  • Talk me through an interesting story you have read in today’s Financial Times.
  • Can you walk us through your experience in financial analysis and company valuation?
  • Provide an example of a deal or project where you conducted in-depth financial analysis to support investment decisions.”
  • In investment banking, M&A plays a critical role. How do you approach M&A transactions, from identifying potential targets to executing the deal? Share an experience where you contributed to the success of an M&A deal.
  • Staying informed about market and industry trends is essential. How do you keep yourself updated, and can you discuss a recent trend that you believe has significant implications for investment banking?
  • Investment banking involves high-pressure situations. Can you share an example of a challenging deal or scenario where you remained composed, made strategic decisions, and achieved positive results?
  • Building and maintaining client relationships is crucial in investment banking. How do you approach client interactions, and can you provide an example of a client relationship you successfully managed, contributing to the overall success of the firm?

These questions assess a candidate’s expertise in financial analysis, M&A, market knowledge, ability to handle pressure, and client relationship management – all essential skills in the field of investment banking.

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How To answer Banking Interview Questions

1. Be aware of the core skills required 
In your answers, keep in mind that you will need to exhibit the key skills the recruiter is looking for. For example, both an investment bank and a firm seeking an equities analyst will want employees who demonstrate both the interpersonal and analytical skills required to excel in those positions. Other types of banking positions, such as that of a broker, focus heavily on sales and require superior marketing talents.

2. Provide strong and relevant STAR examples
You will need to answer the competency and behavioural questions perfectly. Demonstrate your skills using examples of previous achievements and experience. Ensure your STAR examples are strong, relevant and target the required skills.

3. Showcase considerable knowledge of the Banking industry
You will be required to demonstrate a solid working knowledge of banking structures and principles, particularly if haven’t had a prior banking position. You should also show that you are well-versed in financial politics, market trends, macroeconomic forecasts, and business transactions. This requires you stay up to date on happenings in the business and financial sector.

4. Show your determination and enthusiasm
You must understand going in that is exceedingly difficult for a novice to gain entry into the investment banking business. For this reason, you will have to be very aggressive in seeking employment opportunities, but only after you feel that you have become a solid candidate. Ultimately, your success will hinge on how well you communicate with colleagues and clients, and how assertive you are.

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About the Author |
Joe McDermott is CEO of Anson Reed the UK's leading interview coaching specialists and founder of the successful InterviewGold online interview training system. Since 2006, Joe and his team of top interview coaches have helped thousands of clients win jobs and in this blog they offer their expert advice - all to make sure you get your top post.