Business Banker

Businessmen and women in meeting
It is the commercial or small business banker’s job to understand their clients’ goals and to make banking easy for them.

A commercial banker must not only have an extensive knowledge of the current financial world – he or she must also be strategic, have excellent customer skills and be a visionary for their clients.

While the definition of commercial or business banker may vary across the board, he or she is generally responsible for forming new relationships and developing existing relationships with large corporate or small business clients. They help their clients manage their finances in the most successful way possible and help them navigate the numerous services, procedures and products available, including stocks, bonds, loans, international transactions, real estate, trade credits, insurance policies and more.

“We can work through problems, make adjustments, lighten the load on interest rates, find a way to keep the business going.” – Bob Seiwert, Senior VP of ABA

Business Banker Job Description

It is the commercial or small business banker’s job to understand their clients’ goals and to make banking easy for them. “To be successful in today’s tight credit market, experts say it’s even more important [for companies and businesses] to have a solid relationship with a commercial banker,” writes Birmingham Business Journal’s Anna Thibodeaux (March 9, 2012).

A Business Banking Specialist builds new relationships & grows existing ones through anticipating the needs of, and regularly calling on, potential and existing Small Business customers. They sell various a verity of products and services, such as business deposit accounts, treasury management, business credit cards and payment processing solutions. Business bankers actively collaborating with other bank coworkers to help business customers get the specific needs met.

What does a commercial banker or business banker do?

Here are some examples of their professional job duties:

  • Act at the primary contact for the financial institution’s business customers.
  • Employ personal communication and sales stills while meeting with prospective business/corporate clients.
  • Meet with corporate clients, listen to their needs and goals and propose recommendations on how they can meet these goals.
  • Maintain consistent communication with clients through outbound calls and personal onsite visits.
  • Help clients determine what their financial needs are and goals should be.
  • Assist clients with services and products such as loans, cash management, bank accounts, interest rate swaps, letters of credit, foreign exchange, insurance and others.
  • Monitor clients’ finances regularly and maintain updated paperwork or account records.
  • Develop strong professional relationships with members of the bank’s other departments, as well as external representatives.
  • Assist with other functions of the bank such as supporting senior bankers in their duties or performing additional customer service roles.
  • Comply with all relevant state and national regulations.
  • In some cases, a commercial banker may lead the bank’s advisory department and may supervise personnel such as loan officers and financial advisors.
“As a commercial banker, I focused on publicly-held and privately-held companies with sales in excess of $30 million. I provided debt, foreign exchange, letters of credit, and cash management services to these clients.” – Kristin Gwyn, MBA Affiliate Faculty at Regis University

Business Baking Career Path

Suggested Degrees & Education

There is not one set career path to becoming a commercial or business banker. Usually you’ll find that in order to become a commercial banker, it requires a certain level of combined education and experience. For example, one job advertisement may say that candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree plus five or more years of related experience, such as in commercial lending, banking or credit development.

Another employer may require a Master’s degree plus several years of relevant work experience, while others may simply require candidates to have a high school or GED diploma and having a decade or more of experience representing their climb up the career ladder.

Banker doing paperwork

If you would like to some day become a business banker some suggested educational programs include a degree in finance, business administration or management. Some programs also offer specialized majors, minors or courses (which would be wise to take) such as finance and banking, professional selling, commercial bank management, risk analysis and management, insurance, financial decision making and international business.

Starting Out

“Commercial banking can be a life-long career, with the banker working with larger and larger business customers over time,” says Appalachian State University’s Department of Finance Banking and Insurance. “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”.

Before becoming a commercial banker or reaching the highest levels of management within a bank, professionals might start out as commercial loan officers or credit analysts. APU’s Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance adds that while attending university, you could also start out working as a part time bank teller or collections worker. Some banks also offer training programs, and although they are competitive to get into, if you are accepted into one and complete it successfully, it can pave the way to a very prosperous, sustainable career with that bank.

Salary & Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have an occupational category titled “commercial/ business banker” per se, but it does provide data on positions that lead up to commercial banking or that are similarly-related.

Loan Officers

  • Job Outlook: 14% (2010-2020)
  • Median Salary: $56,490/year (2010)

Securities/Commodities/Financial Services Sales Agents (which includes Investment Bankers)

  • Job Outlook: 15% (2010-2020)
  • Median Salary: $70,190/year (2010)