Commercial Banker: Definition and Common Responsibilities

Updated July 20, 2023

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What Is Commercial Banking?

Commercial banks provide necessary economic services, such as checking and savings accounts and other monetary services to both businesses and individuals.

Commercial banks offer a wide range of services and products to clients, which allows commercial bankers to work with a broad range of customers and specialize in their desired interest area. Commercial banking is a lucrative field that offers several career paths for those interested in the industry. In this article, we discuss what a commercial banker is, their relevant job duties and salary, beneficial skills that could help you become a commercial banker and steps you can take to enter the field.

What is a commercial banker?

A commercial banker, also known as a business or institutional banker, is a business professional who helps clients with their financial needs. Commercial bankers may work in small or large banks or other financial institutions. In smaller banks, they often handle a wide variety of client services, while in larger banks, they may specialize in one area. Specializations may include:

  • Loan officer: Organizes loan contracts with businesses and individuals

  • Mortgage banker: Similar to a loan officer with more complicated loan processes and more direct client interaction

  • Credit analyst: Estimates the creditworthiness of potential borrowers

  • Trust officer: Handles creation of custom financial plans for clients in estate law, taxation or planning and investments

  • Branch manager: Oversees the daily operations of a bank branch, creates financial reports and develops plans for a bank's financial goals

Related: Commercial Banking vs Investment Banking: Definitions and Differences

What does a commercial banker do?

The job responsibilities of a commercial banker may vary depending on their specialization, the size of their institution and their years of work experience. Some basic duties of a commercial banker include:

  • Connecting clients with lenders

  • Developing, negotiating and closing commercial loans

  • Managing corporate, government or institutional accounts

  • Marketing their bank to attract new clients

  • Offering financial advice tailored to a client's specific needs

  • Supplying credit products, such as term loans, cash management services, syndicated facilities and revolving lines of credit

  • Issuing deposit products, such as checking and savings accounts

  • Providing business development services, such as brand development, financial planning, product development and marketing

  • Providing lending services, such as commercial real estate lending, equipment financing and working capital for businesses

  • Delivering specialized services for certain businesses or industries, such as aircraft lending, investment real estate lending or auto dealer services

  • Providing treasury management services, such as disbursement, fraud prevention and fund collection

Related: 6 Types of Finance Jobs

How to become a commercial banker

Here are a few steps that can help you become a commercial banker:

1. Research the industry

Research the commercial banking industry to learn about the institutions that offer work and the areas in which you can specialize. Consider the size of the institution, the number of clients you may handle and the daily duties of each specialization to determine which is most appealing to you.

2. Earn a bachelor's degree

While someone with a high school diploma or GED could become a commercial banker with an extensive amount of related experience, most people looking for entry-level commercial banking positions have bachelor's degrees in accounting, finance, communications or another related area. Consider taking multiple math courses, especially those with an intense focus on accounting, and technology courses that teach students how to use spreadsheet and word processing programs.

3. Consider pursuing a master's degree

If you would like to start your commercial banking career in a more advanced position or specialty, consider earning a master's degree in business administration (MBA). Taking courses in accounting, business strategy, economics, finance and statistics may allow you to start your career working directly with clients, which is what an account manager does, rather than solely working with paperwork and computers. Even if you choose not to pursue an MBA initially, you may still have the option later in your career if you want to find ways to advance in the field.

4. Gain banking or financial work experience

Some commercial banking jobs may require you to have both a degree and related experience, even for entry-level positions. Consider applying for an internship with a bank or another financial institution to help you build applicable skills. You may pursue an internship while still in school or after graduation. Internships may vary in pay, duties and hours depending on the institution that offers the internship. You may find internships through bank or institution websites, by contacting local financial organizations to ask if they offer internships or through your school's career development office.

5. Explore licensing opportunities

Depending on your state, you may need a certification or license to perform some duties of a commercial banking job. For example, in some states, people who sell securities, loans or insurance must have a state-approved license to do so. Research your state requirements or talk to your school's career services department for specific information. Common licensing for commercial bankers may include certified public accountant (CPA) or mortgage loan originator (MLO) licenses.

6. Apply for jobs

Research available commercial banker positions in the area where you would like to work. Read job descriptions carefully, and include all requested documents in your application, such as a resume, cover letter or proof of licensure. If you secure an interview, consider asking the hiring manager whether you need to bring any documents or materials, and consider dressing in professional business attire.

Commercial banker salary

According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), loan officers make, on average, $63,270 per year. BLS also states that credit analysts make, on average, $73,650 per year, and financial managers make, on average, $129,890 per year. Commercial banker salaries may vary depending on your location, the size of your institution, your specialization and your years of experience in the field.

Related: Types of Banking Jobs (With Salary Expectations)

Commercial banker working conditions

Commercial bankers often work indoors in banks or other financial institutions. Their daily tasks often include meeting with clients in person, over the phone or virtually. Many institutions require commercial bankers to wear business attire, such as suits, collared shirts and pants. Commercial bankers may also travel to visit clients or conduct solicitations. Their work hours are typically range from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or an equivalent 10-hour shift. Commercial bankers may also work nights, weekends and overtime depending on the urgency of particular cases.

Commercial banker skills

Some skills that may be beneficial when working as a commercial banker include:

  • Problem-solving

  • Attention to detail

  • Diligence

  • Focus

  • Self-motivation

  • Effective written and oral communication

  • Computer and technology literacy

  • Knowledge of accounting fundamentals

  • Knowledge of sales and marketing principles

Jobs similar to a commercial banker

If you're thinking of pursuing a career in commercial banking other than those listed above, there are additional related job options you may consider in your search. Here's a list of 10 jobs similar to a commercial banker:

1. Underwriter

2. Business development manager

3. Investment manager

4. Major market sales executive

5. Commercial lending assistant

6. Financial advisor

7. Relationship manager

8. Cost analyst

9. Credit manager

10. Financial analyst


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