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Published
Aug 25, 2022
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Updated
Sep 19, 2022

Is Commercial Banking a Good Career Path for 2022 and Beyond?

Melanie Lockert

We've put together a helpful guide to the commercial banking industry. Read on to get more info and decide if you have a future in commercial banks.

You want to find a career you enjoy and can see yourself sticking with for the long-term, something that utilizes your skillset, education, and passion and can help others. You also enjoy finance and money management. One option to consider? A job in commercial banking.

While there are advantages and drawbacks in every field, working in commercial banks can be good when it comes to stability. Commercial banks offer financial products and services to businesses, which is something that will likely always be in demand.

If you’re wondering “Is working in commercial banks a good career path?” read on to learn more about what types of jobs are available in this sector, as well as the pros and cons to consider before making a career move. 

What Is Commercial Banking? 

The field of commercial banking refers to financial institutions that offer different types of financial products and services to businesses or corporations. These can include bank accounts for checking and savings, credit cards, as well as other loan options. 

Commercial banking varies from retail banking in that commercial banking is geared toward customers with commercial or business interests (hence the name), while retail banking is geared toward individuals. Many big banks cater to both and have departments for each but commercial banking is specifically focused on attracting and serving clients in business. 

If you’re considering working in commercial banking, many of the big banks you’re aware of by name will likely be on your roster. These are different from a community bank like a credit union. 

Commercial banks tend to have larger operations and offer many products and services to businesses. Financial institutions may earn money through account fees as well as interest earned on their lending products. Ideal candidates for commercial bank jobs are those who have a Bachelor’s degree in finance or business. 

So if you enjoy money and have a passion for finance, working at a commercial bank may be a good fit. On top of that, there are a variety of roles within the field so whether you want to be public-facing or analyzing numbers, there’s a job for you.

Commercial Banking Outlook 

Is working in commercial banks a good career path or something that will vary and weaken over time? On the one hand, businesses — as well as individuals — will always be in need of financial products and services. On the other hand, financial institutions are not immune to the effects of recessions or a shaky economy. With physical branches closing down, there may be fewer in-person opportunities than there were years ago.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows that as of July 2022, there are 1,348,300 employees working in commercial banking in the United States. This is an increase from 1,334,800 from May 2022. 

One thing to keep in mind is that the job outlook for commercial banking largely depends on the position you’re pursuing. For example, a bank teller only needs a high school diploma but in the decade from 2020 to 2030 the number of these positions available is projected to decline by 17%. Factoring in the decline in growth, it is projected that 33,700 positions for tellers will be available each year during this 10-year period. 

Loan officers must have a bachelor’s degree. The number of jobs available for this role is projected to grow just 1% from 2020 to 2030, but BLS notes that 25,000 positions may be available each year. Financial manager positions—which may be available in various sectors, including banking—are projected to grow at a much faster pace, increasing by 17%. 

So you can see that if you’re interested in a job at a commercial bank, whether it’s considered stable and solid can vary based on the role. Like many other sectors, it may also be impacted by downturns in the economy. In general, though, commercial business services will be alive and well as long as there are businesses. In other words, the field isn’t going anywhere. 

>> Read More: How many jobs are available in commercial banking?

Careers at Commercial Banks 

There are many career opportunities at commercial banks that can vary based on your education level and skill set. Some of these include the following commercial banking positions. 

Loan Officer

Commercial banks make money through many of their lending products. These products may include credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and mortgages. One career option at a commercial bank is a loan officer. Loan officers typically need a Bachelor’s degree and help assess the creditworthiness of an applicant and make loan approvals. According to BLS, the median 2021 salary for a loan officer is $63,380 per year. Its outlook remains stable.

Credit Analyst 

A credit analyst, as the name suggests, analyzes credit for prospective borrowers. When a bank lends money to a business or individual, they want to ensure they’ll get a return on their investment and the applicant can and will pay back the loan. To do that, there are underwriting criteria to review and to assess one’s creditworthiness. Credit analysts review information to help make lending decisions. According to BLS, the median salary as of May 2021 for a credit analyst is $88,030 per year. 

Financial Manager

Financial managers may be employed by banks and do a variety of tasks such as making financial reports and creating financial plans. This position requires a Bachelor’s degree and typically needs about five years of experience in another financial-based role, such as accountant or analyst. According to BLS, the median 2021 salary for a financial manager is $131,710 per year. Its outlook remains stable.

Bank Teller 

If you still bank at a branch location, you’re likely familiar with the friendly face who can help you with your banking needs. Bank tellers work at a bank branch and help customers process deposits and perform other transactions as needed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median 2021 salary for a bank teller is $36,310 per year. This position's outlook is on the decline, according to the BLS.

>> Read More: Best Paying Jobs at Major Banks

Pros and Cons of Working in Commercial Banks

No matter what field you’re considering, there are pros and cons to think about. No career is perfect, but you want to find something you can enjoy, learn from and grow with. You also want to be able to gracefully handle any challenges that come your way. Here are some pros and cons of working in commercial banking. 

Pros 

  • It’s a billion-dollar industry, according to data from The Federal Reserve.  
  • It may offer a good work-life balance. 
  • There are various positions to consider with different education requirements.
  • There are jobs that are customer-facing or numbers-focused, depending on your preference.
  • Opportunities exist to grow and change positions.
  • You may learn about finance on the job, which can help your personal finances.
  • Banking is a field that will always have some level of demand. 
  • You can learn about business and finance.

Cons 

  • You may have to deal with unruly or disgruntled customers.
  • Depending on role and time period, you may need to work longer hours.
  • There is a potential for stress in dealing with real-world finances and the impact of your decisions.
  • Commercial banks may downsize during periods of a recession. 
  • You job may include repetitive tasks. 
  • You may work with many clients and customers — which can be draining for introverts.

If you’re wondering is commercial banks a good career path, consider these advantages and drawbacks. While all positions and sectors have pros and cons, understanding what they are ahead of time can save you some headaches later on. 

Final Thoughts 

If you like working with numbers and are finance-focused and people-oriented, working in commercial banking might be a good field to break into. You could explore a variety of different roles while pursuing your education. It could also be a good option if you’re looking to make a transition into a new field. One key point to remember here: you’re not working with individual consumers on their banking needs, but rather corporate or business customers who need your help.

Commercial banking is a steady field with its own ups and downs that can be affected by the economy, like all other sectors. However, there is a unique security in the fact that banking services will always be in demand. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is working at a bank a good career?

Working at a bank can be a good career with different growth opportunities. There are various positions available based on your education level and experience. You could work as a bank teller, loan officer, credit analyst or financial manager. Banking is an industry with steady demand and many large employers. 

Do commercial banks pay well? 

The salary at commercial banks will vary based on your role. If you’re a bank teller, you may make an average salary of around $36,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Loan officers can command an average of around $63,000. You may be able to earn even more in a manager position. 

Is commercial banks a good career path? 

A career in commercial banks can offer steady employment and be a good career path. Commercial banks work with businesses, whereas retail banks work with individuals. However, many larger national banks have both departments and serve both businesses and individuals. There are many different types of positions that you can pursue in this sector. 

Melanie Lockert

Melanie Lockert is the founder of the blog and author of the book, Dear Debt. Through her blog, she chronicled her journey out of $81,000 in student loan debt. Her work has appeared on Business Insider, VICE, Allure, and more.

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