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Bank employees fall into two categories – bank tellers and commercial bankers. While bank tellers handle cash transactions from customers, the role of the commercial banker includes all other responsibilities in the bank. Most commercial bankers specialize in specific areas, such as credit analysis or financial services sales.
Commercial bankers start their careers with a great deal of flexibility. They work in small, local banks as well as in large, national banks. In smaller banks, commercial bankers may manage a variety of responsibilities, such as extending loans to clients, offering financial services products to clients or managing cash balances. These customers prefer the option of building a relationship with one banker to meet all their needs. In larger banks, commercial bankers tend to be more specialized, working in one specific area. Customers of these banks know what services they need and want to work with individuals with a higher level of expertise in those services. With the competition in the banking industry, commercial bankers need to offer services and availability to meet their customers’ needs. This means working hours outside traditional business hours, such as evenings or weekends. Most banks prefer their employees to dress conservatively and to maintain a professional demeanor throughout the workday.
Education and Skills
Individuals entering the commercial banking field hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business administration, finance or a similar field. Commercial bankers spend a significant portion of their time interacting with customers and need strong interpersonal and communication skills. Analytical skills also benefit anyone working in commercial banking, as these allow the banker to review customer needs and make recommendations. Commercial bankers working in treasury management need problem-solving skills to manage each cash account and potential cash shortages. Branch managers require the ability to motivate employees, make decisions and solve problems.
Several career options exist for anyone pursuing a career in commercial banking. These include credit analysis, financial services sales, treasury management and branch management. Commercial bankers who specialize in credit analysis and lending work with clients seeking to borrow funds. They review the client’s credit history, income and amount requested to determine if the client meets minimum standards to qualify for a loan. Commercial bankers with expertise in financial services sales review client accounts and identify potential products of interest for the client, such as debt consolidation loans, home equity loans, trust management and certificates of deposit accounts. Treasury management includes monitoring cash transactions and balances and predicting future cash needs of the bank. Branch managers oversee all activities at a particular branch.
Salaries and pay structures vary depending on the commercial banker's position. According to the College of William & Mary, commercial bankers entering the field in credit analysis or as an assistant branch manager earn an annual salary between $27,000 and $35,000. Salaries for commercial bankers entering the field through the treasury department range between $35,000 and $42,000. Commercial bankers working in financial services sales receive a combination of salary and commission that can range from $32,000 to $100,000.