In our second week of Sector Spotlight features, we are focusing on careers in Financial Services. Today we hear from Lois Canning, who is a Personal Banker with the Royal Bank of Scotland. As part of her role, Lois travels to the outer isles to provide banking services to those communities and is known as the 'Flying Banker'.
Lois has worked in financial services since she left school, working in a variety of roles and undertaking on-the-job training to develop her skills and progress in her career.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as a Personal Banker?
On the days when I am working out on the isles, I go into the bank early in the morning to sign on to my work computer. I have to collect all the items for the Island that I will need that day, for example my keys, my iPad and any customer requests for example any forms, and make sure my bank bag has everything in it for example my till stamp.
Then I leave the bank to drive to the airport to catch my flight.
On arrival to the Isles I get into a taxi to make my way to the branch and get ready for my customers.
A typical day will involve taking in money and cheques, and also giving out money, and exchanging notes for coins and detailing transactions in my cash book, all of which needs to be balanced.
All of our branches have WiFi access, so a very important part of my day is spent setting up online banking and the app on phones and assisting with any queries.
Before leaving at the end of the day everything is either locked away or put in my case to return to Kirkwall.
Since COVID-19 my work involves talking to Customers on the telephone from home, arranging appointments, setting up digital banking, helping with every day banking, and helping with any queries that customers may have.
How did you end up in this role?
I left school at 18 having completed my A levels (Highers). I then started working for HSBC in Salisbury, and then moved to Basingstoke until I had my son, I learnt all the branch jobs from being a cashier to accountancy taking banking exams along the way.
Whilst my children were young I worked on a Saturday for Marks and Spencer in their cash office, both counting cash and producing their takings figures.
When my children were older and in school I worked firstly for Giro Bank Cash Centre taking in trolly loads of notes, and then processing them fit to go into ATM machines.
Next I worked for Nat West telephony centre where we dealt with all incoming calls throughout the country, then I worked as part of a team dealing with complaints.
My next job was to come all the way to Orkney to work full-time in the Kirkwall Branch, and recently taking new banking exams to keep me up to date!
When Anne retired as the Flying Banker, I took over from her.
What is the best thing about your job?
Being able to work anywhere in the UK in a variety of roles.
What is the worst thing about your job?
Getting up early for the Isles flights.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
I have always worked as a team, both within the branch where we have common goals to achieve both in balancing and sales. We also have to work with other departments outwith the Branch for example I T our cash centres, our service centres and foreign departments, all working to the same goal to provide excellent services to our customers
So we all need good communication skills both in the branch, dealing with other departments and also when speaking to our Customers.
What qualifications do you have?
I have A levels.
In recent years I have passed my Chartered Banker Exams, and related exams which qualify me to open accounts.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
Yes, the bank will give you on the job training, and will also pay for you to do banking exams which are not only recognised by banks but in all financial institutions
The bank gives you many opportunities for diversification, cashiers, branch managers, team leaders, auditors, telephony, video banker to name but a few. But also opportunities outside the banks, cash offices, financial advisors anywhere in the financial sector.
Visit the Royal Bank of Scotland on: