How to Become a Commercial Banker

Three Parts:Preparing to Become a Commercial BankerAcquiring Required SkillsGetting a Commercial Banking Job

Commercial banks provide financial services to individuals and businesses, such as payment services, loans, and credit. They are the largest type of financial institution within the banking industry and therefore present many opportunities for those interested in a banking career. Learn how to become a commercial banker in order to become a part the banking industry.

Part 1
Preparing to Become a Commercial Banker

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    Learn about commercial banks. Commercial banks are those that people use to store their money, finance their credit card purchases, and borrow loans. The commercial banker assists individuals and organizations with these needs. However, the banking industry has been affected by regulatory changes brought about by financial crises. The lines between commercial banks, savings and loans, and investment banks have all become blurred. This has allowed commercial bankers to also offer financial planning and brokerage services.[1]
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    Understand the requirements of the job. Banking requires a substantial amount of work, including accounting and active salesmanship. In total, the job can demand anywhere from 40 hours per week to well over 60. You have be detail-oriented and hardworking to make it in the commercial banking field. In addition, you'll likely need good communication skills.
    • Bankers are just as likely to work out of the bank visiting clients and soliciting business.
    • The idea of bankers' hours (9 to 5) has also altered as the banking industry attempts to meet the needs of the public. Bankers now typically work longer hours to market their services to potential customers.[2]
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    Obtain a college degree. In most cases, commercial bankers are required to hold at least a bachelors degree. These degrees are typically in business, finance, or business administration, however other degrees like marketing may be useful in certain parts of commercial banking.
    • Students planning on becoming commercial bankers, regardless of their major, should take a class load heavy in finance and accounting.[3]
    • A person with only a high school degree may also be able to become a commercial banker, but only if they have a large amount of relevant or related experience.[4]
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    Consider getting a graduate degree. Commercial banking positions differ in regards to the required amount of experience. However, many recruiters will prefer to hire an applicant that holds a master's degree in business administration or another related field.[5]

Part 2
Acquiring Required Skills

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    Be open to training programs or internships operated by the banking industry. In many cases, commercial banking positions will require previous experience. Once of the best ways to get that experience, and also learn the skills required by the industry, is to go through an internship. These can be found on the banks' websites or through your school's career development office (if you are in school).
    • Internships may even result in a full-time offer upon completion.[6]
    • For example, JP Morgan Chase offers two analyst programs for those starting a banking career.
    • Another example is the Certified Mortgage Banker program with the Mortgage Bankers Association.
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    Develop excellent people and communication skills. A commercial banker must be able to establish a financial client base. They serve as the face of the bank and the customer's link to their personal finances, so they must be very personable, professional, and polite.[7]
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    Investigate licenses or certification you may need. In order to enter the commercial banking field, you may need certain licenses from your state or the federal government. In addition, some applicant may find that earning certain certifications can improve their job prospects. For example, accountants may take specialized course and a series of tests to become a certified public accountant (CPA). This will greatly improve their chance of finding work.
    • Each state may have its own specific laws. Research these before getting any licenses.
    • Most people selling securities, loans, or insurance must be licensed with relevant regulatory bodies.[8]
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    Develop other skills important to a banking career. A commercial banker is required to have a wide range of applicable skills. These skills can be developed through education and real-world experience. They include:
    • Computer and technology skills or knowledge.
    • Accounting.
    • Attention to detail.
    • Marketing and sales.
    • Strong work ethic.[9]

Part 3
Getting a Commercial Banking Job

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    Figure out what type of commercial banking you want to go into. There is a wide variety of different roles that a commercial banker can fill. Some of these may be entirely client-facing jobs and others may require little or no customer interaction. The following are some of the more common roles available in the industry:
    • Loan officer. This is an entry level position for many commercial bankers. The loan officer organizes loan contracts with businesses and individuals. This job requires a high level of salesmanship.
    • Credit analyst. This is another entry level position, in many instances. Credits analysts focus more on the analytical side of the commercial banking industry. They estimate the creditworthiness of potential borrowers and are required to have a deep understanding of accounting principles.
    • Mortgage banker. This is similar to a loan officer, but deals with a more complicated loan process and requires interaction with a larger group of people.
    • Trust officer. This role requires a wide knowledge of all issues surrounding estate law, taxation, planning, and investment. They work with wealthy individuals to create a plan tailored to that individual and their needs.
    • Branch manager. The branch manager is in charge of both employees and customer interaction. This position requires a very high level of interpersonal skill.[10]
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    Specialize. There are always certain aspects of the commercial banking industry that are more in demand than others. For example, there is currently a large need for programmers who are able to create commercial banking and trading systems. There are also needs for 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 job applicants.[11]
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    Interview for banking positions. Look for commercial banking positions in your area or an area you're interested in moving to and apply to them. If you get called for an interview, be sure to research the position and bank beforehand to have a leg up on the competition. You can research the position online and visit the bank's website to learn more information. In particular, you should know:
    • The bank's values or principles.
    • The bank's primary operations or specializations.
    • Who its customers are.
    • Who its competitors are.
    • Information about trends in the region and industry.
    • The approximate duties involved in the position.[12]
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    Put your best foot forward. Banking is a very traditional and client-focused industry, so to succeed in an interview and in your career, you will need to present yourself well. This means you should wear a traditional-looking suit to the interview, without any brightly-colored accessories. You should never address the interviewer using their first name and always be polite and smiling. [13]

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