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Pros & Cons of a Banking Career

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The financial industry employs people in a variety of jobs that fall under the heading of banking careers. From bank teller to bank president, loan officer to corporate VP, a banking career offers plenty of opportunities for smart employees who work hard to advance in the company. If you are interested in a business career that provides a good salary and the chance for promotion, you should weigh the pros and cons of a banking career.


If you are interested in an administrative support position in the banking industry, you will consider it a positive that these jobs comprise 64 percent of the available jobs in banking. Tellers, new accounts clerks, customer service reps are all administrative support occupations. If you are aiming for a management career, such positions as financial manager, loan officer, or trust officer may be your goal, but these require at least a college undergraduate degree in business or liberal arts, which could be a pro or con, depending on your education. You can also apply for a securities, commodities, or financial services agent position. If you like sales, you will consider it a “pro” that each of these jobs is sales-oriented.


One of the “pro” features of a banking career is that you will find many entry-level positions for high school graduates, with on-the-job training for such positions as teller and administrative worker. Another “pro” is that most banks offer advanced training for entry-level employees who wish to advance to jobs with better pay. One “con” of working as a bank teller as a springboard for advancement is that the work is hard, with many hours on your feet serving customers. Another potential “con” is that your employer will require a background check before you are hired to confirm your trustworthiness. Also, unless you have a college degree, you might not be a candidate for a managerial position.


In its 2010 report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that wages and salaries for banking careers will grow 8 percent during the next decade. This may sound impressive, but BLS projects the growth in other industries to average around 11 percent. One positive projection is that more and more branches of banks will be opening, creating more job opportunities. Deregulation of the banking industry means that banks will be offering new financial products and services, growing as an industry with more chances for employee advancement. The downside is that competing non-bank financial establishments such as brokerage firms will continue to offer stiff competition for the consumer’s business. Your bank may pressure you to sell products to your customers, which can be a con if you don’t enjoy selling.


If you have a college degree, you can begin earning a salary of $48,000 as a trainee credit analyst in a commercial banking career. With three years of experience, you can become a junior loan officer with a raise in pay to $60,000. After five to seven years, you may reach earnings of $100,000 as a full-fledged loan officer. If you have earned a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), your starting salary in a banking career will range between $70,000 and $120,000. The salary ranges in banking careers may fall under your pros column or your cons column, depending on your education and the rate at which you hope to advance.


Add bank career benefits packages to your list of positives. Health, accident, disability, and life insurance are standard full-time employee goodies. Retirement compensation in the form of 401K plans, continuing health care coverage and company pension plans go with the territory. Employee discounts on such banking products as mortgages, employee bonuses, plus tuition reimbursement for ongoing career-related education are additional perks you could collect as a banker.


I have an MFA degree in Creative Writing and am a published poet who has received several poetry awards. I have established a reputation as an environmental activist, both through the group I co-founded -- see -- and through a series of op-ed pieces in Montana newspapers. I have written extensively on alternative energy, recycling and endangered species.

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