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Commercial Banking

While consolidation, competition, technological change, and the economic downturn have forced layoffs, there are still plenty of jobs available in commercial banking - especially in areas like mortgage banking, where lower interest rates have helped business. Commercial banks have also expanded into different niche businesses so they can continue to grow, such as accounts receivable processing and loan management, transaction processing, and mortgages and other commercial product lines. Finally, many banks have introduced new product hybrids to their customers and are just starting their overseas commercial expansion.

Because commercial banks remain profitable and are more involved than ever in the financial markets, they are competing with Wall Street for "high-tech finance jocks" involved in foreign exchange derivatives and financial engineering. In addition, banks are increasingly trying to build valuable brand images with consumer-oriented advertising and distinct product lines. In light of this demand, if you have good marketing skills and have taken a number of marketing courses, you will be well-suited to this new environment. There is also high demand for finance professionals who can develop products for the corporate market.

Life In The Commercial Banking Industry:
Commercial banking is changing at a fantastic pace. Innovations such as the internet, telephone banking and the emergence of new e-based banks are changing how commercial bankers work and what customers expect. Accordingly, if you are Internet savvy and familiar with computers you will have an edge in banking. In addition, successful bankers in the 21st century can no longer be simple order-takers - they must be customer oriented, needs-based, aggressive, and unafraid to sell.

Banking is not known for its high salaries. However, offers made by major regional and global banks to MBA students typically range from the high 40s to low 80s. A good offer would be somewhere in the high 50s. And for those of you after the big bucks, they can certainly be had down the road. A good portfolio manager can make in excess of $500,000. Chief Financial Officers can command $300,000 to $500,000 with a hefty bonus added in. And high salaries do not come at the expense of quality of life. In fact, a 1992 Money magazine survey revealed banking as the second most satisfying job in the United States!


Banking is a low hours/workload position.


While commercial bankers traditionally worked 9-5, this is simply no longer the case. Bankers are increasingly working longer hours as their jobs become more oriented towards general marketing of financial services. Expect to work approximately 50-60 hours a week.



An MBA is crucial to land a good job.


Banking attracts a diverse group of people. While virtually all top executives do have MBAs (from very prestigious schools) and many more have at least attended summertime masters programs, an MBA is generally not as important as broad business understanding and people skills, although it obviously doesn't hurt.