Commercial banks provide financial services to individuals and businesses, such as payment for services, loans, and credits. They represent the largest type of financial institution within the banking industry and therefore offer many opportunities to those interested in a banking career. Learn how to become a commercial banker with the goal of becoming part of the banking industry.
Part 1 of 3: Preparing to Become a Business Banker
Step 1. Find out about commercial banks
Commercial banks are those that people use to save their money, finance their credit card purchases, and acquire loans. The commercial banker advises individuals and organizations with these needs. However, the banking industry has been affected by changes in regulations caused by financial crises. The lines between commercial banks, savings and loans, and investment banks have been blurred. This has enabled commercial bankers to offer brokerage and financial planning services as well.
Step 2. Consider the job requirements
The banking industry requires a significant amount of work, including bookkeeping and active sales. In total, the job can require 40 to more than 60 hours per week. You have to be a retailer and work hard to be successful in the commercial banking arena. Also, you probably need good communication skills.
- Bankers may have to work outside the institution visiting clients and doing business.
- The idea of banking hours (9 to 5) has also changed as the banking industry tries to meet the needs of the public. Bankers now generally work longer hours to promote their services to potential clients.
Step 3. Get a college degree
In most cases, commercial bankers are required to have at least a college degree. These degrees are generally in business, finance, or business administration. However, other titles, such as marketing, can be useful in certain areas of commercial banking.
- Students planning to become commercial bankers, regardless of their major, must take classes with an emphasis in finance and accounting.
- A person with only a bachelor's degree can become a business banker, but only if they have a lot of relevant or related experience.
Step 4. Consider getting a graduate degree
Positions in commercial banking differ in relation to the level of experience required. However, many employers will prefer to hire a candidate who has a degree in business administration or another related field.
Part 2 of 3: Acquire the Required Skills
Step 1. Consider the training or internship programs run by the banking industry
In many cases, positions in the banking industry will require prior experience. One of the best ways to get that experience, and also learn the skills required by the industry, is through an internship. You can find them on bank websites or through your school's professional development office (if you're studying).
- Internships can lead to a full-time offer upon completion.
- For example, in the US, JP Morgan Chase offers two analyst programs for newcomers to a banking career.
- Another example is the Mortgage Bankers Association's Certified Mortgage Banker program.
Step 2. Develop excellent communication skills with people
A commercial banker must be able to establish a financial client base. They represent the face of the bank and are the client's link to their personal finances, so they must be personable, professional and friendly.
Step 3. Find out what licenses or certifications you may need
In order to enter the commercial banking field, you may need certain licenses from your state or the federal government. Additionally, some candidates may find that obtaining certain certifications will improve their job prospects. For example, accountants can take specialized courses and a series of tests to become a certified public accountant (CPA). This will greatly improve your chance of finding work.
- Each state has its own specific laws. Research them before obtaining any licenses.
- Most of those who trade securities, loans or insurance must be licensed by the relevant regulatory bodies.
Step 4. Develop other skills important to a banking career
A commercial banker requires a wide range of applicable skills. They can be developed through education and experience in the real world. They include:
- computer and technology skills or knowledge
- attention to details
- sales and marketing
- strong work ethic
Part 3 of 3: Get a Job in Commercial Banking
Step 1. Decide what type of commercial bank you want to enter
There are a wide variety of different positions that a commercial banker can hold. Some of them may be purely customer service jobs and others may require little or no interaction with customers. The following are some of the most common jobs available in the industry:
- Credit agent. This is an entry-level position for many commercial bankers. The loan officer arranges loan agreements with businesses and individuals. This job requires a high level of sales attitude.
- Credit analyst. This is another entry-level position, in many cases. Credit analysts focus more on the analytical aspect of the commercial banking industry. They determine the creditworthiness of potential borrowers and require a deep understanding of accounting principles.
- Mortgage banker. It is similar to the loan officer, but deals with a more complicated loan process and requires interaction with a larger group of people.
- Trusted officer. This position requires extensive knowledge of all matters related to state law, taxes, planning, and investment. They work with wealthy people to create plans tailored to those people and their needs.
- Branch Manager. The branch manager is in charge of both employee and customer interaction. This position requires a high level of interpersonal skills.
Step 2. Specialize
There are always aspects of the commercial banking industry that are more in demand than others. For example, there is currently a high demand for programmers who are capable of creating business and commercial banking systems. Also needed are those with a specialization in marketing and those who can create corporate investment products. Having any of these skills or related experience can set you apart from other candidates.
Step 3. Get interviews for banking positions
Look for banking positions in your area or in an area that interests you to develop and apply for them. If you are called in for an interview, be sure to find out the position and bank beforehand to give yourself an edge on the competition. You can research the position online and visit the bank's website to find out more information. In particular you must know:
- the values or principles of the bank
- the bank's core specializations or operations
- who are your clients
- who are your competition
- information on trends in the region and industry
- the approximate tasks that the position implies
Step 4. Take your best step
The banking environment is a very traditional and customer-oriented industry, so to be successful in an interview and in your career, you will need to present yourself well, which means wearing a traditional interview suit, without brightly colored accessories. You should never address the interviewer by their first name and you should always be smiling and friendly.