Is Commercial Banking a Good Career Path?

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  • Post last modified:June 4, 2021

Looking for a prolific profession in finance? Among others, one of the most promising is in the field of commercial banking. Is commercial banking a good career path? 

Commercial banking is a good career path. On average, the pay for a commercial banking job is $91,732. It opens doors for different job opportunities. You can work as a credit analyst, account manager, branch manager, quality assurance specialist, and loan officer. As you gain experience and acquire more extensive knowledge, you can end up in an executive position. 

Read on to learn more about a commercial banking career path, including the different paths to take, the average salary, and what you need to stand out. 

What Is Commercial Banking?

is commercial banks a good career path

A commercial bank offers business loans, deposit accounts, payment processing, lines of credit, mortgages, and other general banking services.

Despite being called “commercial,” it does not cater exclusively to commercial or business clients. It also serves individual customers. It acts as the middleman between the provider of financial capital and those who need it. 

These banks earn through fees for the use of their services. For instance, when customers pay for a loan, they also have to settle the interest depending on the agreed terms. Meanwhile, there are also service charges and convenience fees for different commercial banking services.

Traditionally, a commercial bank has a physical location with teller windows where the customers transact. Today, they are present online to offer a more convenient and accessible service. Most of the leading commercial banks offer both physical and online presence. 

Is Commercial Banking a Good Career Path? 

While there are many good career opportunities in finance, commercial banking is one of the best. It is promising in terms of salary and growth. However, you will start at an associate level. Then, it will advance into a managerial and executive level, depending on your performance. 

On average, a career in commercial banking has an annual salary of $91,732. It can go higher or lower depending on your specific position.

Benefits of a Career in Commercial Banking 

Below are some of the most compelling reasons to pursue a career in a commercial bank:

1. Financially Rewarding

If you are looking for a high-paying job, getting into commercial banking is a good opportunity. Even at an associate level, the salary is promising. Moreover, it gets even higher as you climb the ladder. 

2. Growth Opportunities

Depending on your qualifications, you will most probably start as a credit analyst or loan officer, among other entry-level positions. Do your best, and it won’t take long before you can uncover higher positions. 

3. Thriving Industry

Whatever happens to the global economy, commercial banks are here to stay. It provides an essential service that people and businesses will always need. Moreover, it keeps on growing, providing more opportunities for employment and growth. 

4. Wide Array of Jobs

Another good thing about commercial banking is that you have tons of opportunities to explore. It does not limit people in terms of the jobs they can pursue. There is a job for you whether you want to be client-facing or not.

Different Commercial Banking Career Paths

If you want to pursue a career in commercial banking, below are some of the best jobs that are worth considering:

1. Credit Analyst 

Commercial banks need to evaluate the borrower’s creditworthiness before approval of individual and business loans. This is the main responsibility of the credit analyst. You will decide whether to approve or deny the loan application. It also requires an analysis of the client’s cash flow and credit history, which are influential in paying the debt. 

As a credit analyst, you have to go through different documents that the borrower submits. These include financial statements, annual reports, and credit scores.

You also need to consider potential risks, such as stock market fluctuations and regulatory changes. Based on these factors, you will prepare a thorough report that is instrumental for decision-making. 

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 72,090 jobs in this profession. Meanwhile, the median hourly wage is $36.05, and the median annual wage is $74,970. 

2. Account Manager 

The account manager actively looks for new clients while maintaining relationships with existing customers. You will be the business representative of the commercial bank. It is a job that often entails one-on-one and personal interaction. Moreover, you will answer the questions clients have and make sure that they are happy. 

As the account manager, you are the customer’s main contact in a bank. Additionally, you will handle any complaint they have and do what it takes to make them stay. The job requires selling the bank’s services, ensuring a profitable relationship.

The average annual salary ranges from $51,000 to $71,648. Your education, experience, and certifications are some of the most important factors that influence your wage. 

3. Branch Manager 

Also called general manager, this commercial banking career path entails overseeing the general operations of a commercial bank’s specific branch.

You will hire staff, lead onboarding, train people, and make sure they are effective in their respective functions. It requires a hands-on approach to make the most out of the available workforce while delivering exceptional services. 

The branch manager is also responsible for connecting the upper management to the other employees. Meaning, you will pass the necessary information for the bank’s smooth functioning and reach its business goals. 

A degree in finance and accounting are some of the most important qualifications for being a branch manager. Those with master’s degrees have an edge.

Financial and leadership experiences are also crucial for this position. 

On average, a commercial bank branch manager earns $68,355 annually. On top of this, you can also earn from stock bonuses and commission sharing. 

4. Quality Assurance Specialist 

Quality assurance is one of the most important in a commercial bank’s daily operations. This job requires making sure that every aspect of operation meets the quality requirements. Furthermore, it necessitates assessing different factors that contribute to the success of an organization or project. 

You are responsible for the implementation of company and regulatory standards. You will also review different documents and conduct a comprehensive audit. The failure to follow the specific requirements can result in many problems, including those with serious legal consequences. 

Lastly, the average salary of a quality assurance specialist ranges from $50,285 to $61,920. 

5. Loan Officer 

As earlier mentioned, one of the most important functions of a commercial bank is to lend loans to both individual and corporate clients. The loan officer is the bank’s representative for facilitating loans. This is a more specific job compared to the others listed above. You will assist the borrower throughout the process. 

You need to consider individual circumstances as a loan officer. Aside from pushing the products and services that a commercial bank offers, you will also discuss the risks and solutions. More so, you will recommend alternative solutions.

Lastly, loan officers will earn an average annual salary of $56,885. Those with extensive credentials and experience, however, can earn as much as $134,00 a year. 

6. Executive 

This is what most people aspire to be. Unfortunately, it is a luxury that is exclusive to a few people. In most instances, you have to start low and slowly build your way to the top. Moreover, this can take years, which explains why it is seldom that you will find young professionals in executive positions in commercial banks. 

To become a world-class leader in a commercial bank, the requirements are extensive. A master’s or doctoral degree will help. Knowledge in market strategy, client experience, and talent management is also crucial. 

The salary will differ depending on your position. As a Managing Director, you can earn as much as $198,918 per year. Meanwhile, as the commercial bank’s Vice President, your annual salary can reach as high as $255,000.

Again, is commercial banks a good career path? Working on commercial banks is a good career path. On average, the pay for a commercial banking job is $91,732. You can be a credit analyst, account manager, branch manager, quality assurance specialist, and loan officer. As you gain experience and acquire more extensive knowledge, you can end up in a commercial bank executive position. 

Roles and Responsibilities

is commercial banking a good career path

In general, below are some of the most important duties of professionals in commercial banking:

  • Manage current relationships with both individual and institutional customers 
  • Actively look for new customers and business opportunities to contribute to the bank’s profitability. 
  • Prepare reports to determine the performance of the commercial bank and strategies it will pursue in the future. 
  • Formulate a comprehensive loan structure that balances the customer’s requirements with the bank’s profits 
  • Manage the employees and ensure their productivity in their specific roles 
  • Assess risks affecting the commercial bank’s operations and come up with ways to minimize them 
  • Ensure compliance with the existing regulatory requirements 

Characteristics of a Good Commercial Banker

To succeed in commercial banking, it is not enough that you have extensive educational qualifications. It is more important to have crucial characteristics that will make you effective in your job, including the following: 

1. Analytical Skills

From financial statements to global market reports, you need to go through several documents. Moreover, you need a keen eye and logical mind to make sense of the plethora of information available. You should not rely merely on intuitions in decision-making. 

2. Emotional Intelligence

Pressure is constant in the financial industry. Meeting organizational goals can take a toll on your emotions. Resiliency is a must. By being emotionally intelligent, it is also easier to build human relationships with both clients and colleagues. 

3. Customer Service

The goal is to deliver the highest level of customer satisfaction. Do whatever it takes to make clients happy. More so, you should go above and beyond to meet and exceed expectations. 

4. Communication Skills

Working in a commercial bank entails constant communication with customers, employees, and directors, among other people. Therefore, from preparing written reports to delivering visual presentations, being an effective communicator is a must. 

5. Numeracy Skills

Numerical literacy is another important requirement when building a successful commercial banking career. You need to understand numbers and graphs, including their implications in every decision. 

6. Adaptability

You will be working in various environments and dealing with different people. Thus, adaptability is a must. To do this, you need to keep up with the fast-paced industry. 

7. Determination

Like other industries, commercial banking is a tough field. Challenges will come your way, but those should not give you the reason to give up. Therefore, a strong will to succeed is critical. 

How to Succeed on a Commercial Banker Career Path 

commercial banking career path

With all the things mentioned above, you are now probably thinking of getting into commercial banking. If you are, then here are some of the most important things to do:

1. Invest in Your Education

Start by getting a bachelor’s degree in finance or related courses. If you want a higher-paying job and more attractive career opportunities, a master’s and doctorate will also help. 

2. Go Beyond the Salary when Evaluating Opportunities

Consider your long-term goals and how a specific job prospect will help you achieve such. 

3. Capitalize on Your Experience

Start from the bottom and work on the way to the top. Do not be discouraged by an entry-level salary. With patience, determination, and skills, you will find your way to the top. 

4. Surround Yourself with the Right People

Grow your professional network. The more people you know, the more opportunities you can explore. Within your network, you might also be lucky enough to find a life-long mentor. 

5. Learn How to Take Advantage of Technology

To keep up with the changes in the industry, find ways to embrace innovation. It will change the way you work. Artificial intelligence, for instance, can augment your skills and improve efficiency. 

6. Do Not Stop Learning

Even after securing a job or getting a promotion, continue learning new things. Commercial banking is an ever-changing industry, so it pays to stay up-to-date. This will make you more competitive. 

Conclusion – Commercial Banking Career Path

Commercial banking is a good career path. Those who want to enter the financial world will benefit from this industry. From associate to executive jobs, the annual salary is promising while providing a favorable career trajectory. 

On average, those in commercial banking will earn $91,732. Nonetheless, it differs depending on your specific position, experience, and the size or reputation of the bank. Moreover, some of the specific career opportunities include credit analyst, account manager, branch manager, quality assurance specialist, loan officer, and executive.