Bank personnel officials gathered together by the American Bankers Association said yesterday that "banks have made dramatic progress in equal employment opportunity."

According to 1979 data, 34.4 percent of all bank officials and managers are women in contrast to 14.9 percent in 1970, said Robert W. Keith, senior vice president of Manufactures Hanover Trust Co. in New York. Critics of the banking industry's equal opportunity performance have contrasted that figure with those showing that the bank work force -- with 63 percent women workers -- is more heavily female than the overall work force.

In a heavily promoted press conference, bank personnel officials lauded banks for their performance in increasing opportunities for women and minorities. According to 1978 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data, banking ranks third out of 11 EEOC industrial categories in the representation of women and minorities working as officials and managers, Keith said.

Keith and his colleagues spoke of compensation "opportunities" opening up to women and minorities in banking, but they had no figures available on how well women and minority managers, officials and professionals are paid compared with white male counterparts. The results of an objective compensation study by the banking industry are expected to be available in two or three years, said John Stephens of Harris Trust and Savings Bank of Chicago.

Neither did the personnel specialists have information on which titles women and minority managers, officials and professionals hold. Studies of women corporate executives have found in the past that large numbers of women hold titles, such as corporate secretary, with less prestige than their male colleagues' titles and that they earn substantially less.

Working Women, a membership group concerned with issues involving women office workers, found in a highly critical study of the banking industry last February that women were more likely to be promoted to such jobs as branch manager or vice president for personnel than more prestigious jobs such as vice president for commerical loans.

"It's an evolutionary process. As time passes, women will move up the ladder," said Keith.

Women are 85.3 percent of office and clerical workers in banks, according to 1978 data. Minorities represent 20.9 percent of those workers in contrast to 14.4 percent in 1970.