What is Back-Office Staff at a Bank?

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Back-office staff at a bank encompasses all positions that are not customer-facing. These jobs on the operations side of a financial institution include a wide array of duties necessary to keep a bank functioning. Some of these departments include:

  • Loan operations
  • Deposit operations
  • Accounting
  • Compliance & auditing
  • Underwriting
  • Information technology

Loan Operations

Bank employees in the loan operations department prepare loan documents, book loans, track insurance, and send executed collateral documents out for recording. They also manage the tickler system and build paper loan files or scan documents to create electronic files. Additionally, back-office staff in the loan operations department take payments and execute loan modifications and extensions.

Deposit Operations

Among their many duties, those working in deposit operations perform boarding tasks for new accounts, handle stop-payments and non-sufficient funds (NSF) situations, and send out statements. Back-office staff in a deposit department reissue credit and debit cards if a customer’s card was lost or stolen. They also research and provide subpoenaed information as well.

Accounting

The accounting department works with the financial institution’s general ledger. Back-office staff specializing in accounting keep an updated record of outstanding loan and deposit amounts as well as outgoing expenses, such as building maintenance and employee salaries. A bank’s accounting department also balances accounts daily, pays invoices for the bank, and generates reports for the institution’s board of directors as well as for federal regulators (such as call reports). Another aspect of the job may include using software to help make decisions to maximize the bank’s investments, earnings, liquidity, and capital.

Compliance and Auditing

The compliance and auditing department ensures that a financial institution’s policies and procedures are being followed. Other tasks may involve auditing loan files to see that they are being completed properly and monitoring to ensure the bank is following compliance requirements.

Underwriting

Although at some financial institutions underwriting is performed by lenders themselves (who are customer-facing), underwriting is often considered a back-office position. This removes the human element that may otherwise sway a lender’s decision and ensures loan approval or denial is based on the pertinent data on the loan application.

Information Technology

The information technology (IT) department keeps a financial institution’s all-important computer systems running. This includes managing hardware and software, executing programs and reports, monitoring the bank’s cyber security, and handling in-house check processing. Although many banks now outsource maintenance of their core systems, some still choose to manage them on-site; in these cases back-office IT staff are in charge of intrusion testing to make sure the system is secure.

Other Back-Office Bank Departments

Like most businesses, banks also have other standard departments, such as human resources (HR) and marketing. While the HR department handles recruitment, retention, annual reviews, and salary adjustments to keep the bank staffed, the marketing department works to keep current customers and attract new ones through printed materials, sponsorships, radio advertising, and other media channels.

Resources for Your Back-Office Staff

For more information on back-office management in the banking industry, be sure to check out our extensive resource library with free spreadsheets, whitepapers, and ebooks.

Browse our banking definitions page for more terminology.

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