The term "banker" used to refer to someone who owned or managed a bank, and whose primary responsibilities were taking deposits, disbursing cash and making loans. Modern bankers still make loans, but they have passed on the responsibilities of taking deposits and disbursing cash to clerks and tellers, and have taken on an array of other responsibilities from offering credit cards to providing managed investment services. Qualifications for 21st-century bankers have also changed, with an undergraduate degree as a prerequisite, and many senior bankers having earned graduate degrees.
Bankers such as loan officers, financial managers and personal financial advisers are expected to have at least a bachelor's degree, typically in finance, business or business administration. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also points out that a significant number of financial managers and personal financial advisers are earning graduate degrees to qualify for senior positions.
Licensing and Certification
Many types of traditional bankers are not required to be licensed, but any banker acting in the capacity of an investment adviser must be licensed in their state and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Selling insurance products typically requires an additional license. Mortgage loan officers need a state-issued mortgage loan originator license. Many bankers also choose to become certified financial planners or chartered financial analysts to enhance their professional credentials.
While the specific ideal personality traits for bankers vary based on the job position, all bankers need strong analytical and communication skills. Internal operations-focused financial managers need strong math and organizational skills, while customer service-oriented bankers such as loan officers and personal bankers need to be detail oriented and have strong interpersonal skills.
Pay and Prospects
The BLS reports that the median salary for loan officers was $56,490 as of May 2010. The median salary for personal financial advisers was a little higher at $64,670, and financial managers came out on top with a median salary of $103,910. Job growth for loan officers is projected to grow by 14 percent through 2020, but financial manager job growth is just estimated at 9 percent through that same period. Positions for personal financial advisers, however, are expected to grow at 32 percent through 2020 as the aging baby boomer population seeks out investment advice for their retirement funds.