Commercial Banking

General Description

A commercial banker works to provide business customers with such things as loans, deposit accounts, and cash management services. A good banker is always looking for new ways to meet a business customer's needs. These new ways might also include letters of credit, interest rate swaps, foreign exchange services, or insurance (usually as a referral). Commercial bankers work in every town and city, and commercial credit is critical to economic growth. This job requires extensive external customer contact, as well as the ability to evaluate the financial needs and strength of business customers.

A commercial banker's activities can vary greatly from day to day. Seasoned bankers usually spend most of their time working with customers, as much out of the office as in the office. New hires will initially spend more time in the office, supporting existing customers.

Additional Observations

Some students might be more interested in jobs that support the commercial banker, such as credit analyst. A credit analyst specializes in the evaluation of customer loan requests (which is only one of a commercial banker's responsibilities), based on information provided by the commercial banker. Thus, a credit analyst has only limited external customer contact. A bank will employ relatively few credit analysts compared to number of commercial bankers.

Commercial banking can be a life-long career, with the banker working with larger and larger business customers over time. A successful commercial banker would also have the opportunity to move into management, such as leading a group of commercial bankers, or managing a geographic area for the bank. Many, if not most, bank executives have some commercial lending experience.

Getting the Job

Part time or summer bank related work, such as bank teller or collections, can be helpful. The most direct route for full time employment would be a bank's training program (e.g., BB&T's LDP). Only a few banks have one, however, and the competition for entry is strong. Another avenue is working as an entry-level credit analyst. Willingness to move would be helpful. In general, consider any entry-level job at a bank that is desirable to you. Getting a foot in the door and doing good work should yield benefits over time.

Suggested Elective Courses

  • Commercial Bank Management - FIN4610
  • Financial Decision Making and Statement Analysis – FIN4660
  • Intermediate Accounting – ACC3100
  • Professional Selling – MKT3052
  • Real Estate Principles and Practices – FIN3850
  • Principles of Risk Management & Insurance - FIN 3100

Additional Courses of Interest (not as critical as above)

  • International Business Finance – FIN4750
  • Derivatives – FIN4770
  • FinTech/InsureTech – FIN 4850