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Institute Research Number 31
ISBN 1-58511-031-0

From the Neighborhood Community Branch to
Global Finance to Internet Banking – Growing
Employment Opportunities
a killing in the stock market. Discover a product that the whole world
needs. Develop an easier and better way to do anything. Of course, you
could always work hard, save your money, invest wisely, spend prudently
and still wind up with money and have a good life.
You are probably
not too concerned
about all of this in high
school, but you should
be. Money, or the lack
of it, will become an
important part of your
life – starting right now
as you contemplate
what you want to do for
the rest of your life.
From your very first job
until your retirement,
money, or the lack of it,
will determine what
kind of a life you will
lead. How you will
provide for yourself and
maybe a family.

Money, or the lack of it, follows our every pursuit. We love our
possessions and do not hesitate to flash our credit cards to charge them.
And then the monthly bill – the reality – that we have to come up with the
money to pay for all those purchases. We stretch our budgets to the max.
We extend our credit, take out loans, refinance our homes, and hope that
we can keep our heads above water. We ask our financial institutions to be
our partner in money matters as we try not to overextend our limits and
maintain good credit ratings.
Banking and finance fields are hot careers for the 21st century. Not
only is retail banking an important element of our daily personal lives, but
commercial banking is responding to the globalization of business and the
advancement of technology. The scope of banking has widened and
financial institutions now can offer an array of services from checking and
savings, to stocks, bonds, insurance and more. Bank mergers and
takeovers have intensified the need for a quality and qualified workforce to
keep up with the fast-paced, ongoing changes in this technological age
that are having an impact on banking.
This report will concentrate on the professional, managerial and
clerical positions necessary to banking. Most jobs require college and
training, while some can be started with a high school diploma along with
a proficiency in math and computers, and training. Many paths can and
do take professionals to the upper levels of banking, including executive
management. Your success will depend upon your ambition, motivation,
experience and ability.

our money – allow us to pay our bills; lend us money and give us credit;
mortgage our homes; save for a trip or other pleasures; buy cars on
installment; invest in US Savings Bonds, Treasury Bonds, Certificates of
Deposits (CDs), and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs); set up and
handle trusts and more.
These institutions come in all sizes and types and can be found in
every city and town in every state in America. There are neighborhood
banks, community banks, commercial banks, investment banks and banks
that have branches from coast to coast, like Bank of America or Citibank.
We have a Federal Reserve banking system and international banking.
Internet banking has been around for some years, and the technology
is improving rapidly so that in this new millennium not only can you pay
bills online, check your account balance and apply for a loan, but you can
also trade stocks, exchange American dollars for foreign currency before
you leave the country, buy postage, and tickets to events, with new
features being added every day, thanks to the Automated Teller Machines
Many banking professionals believe that eventually we will become a
cashless society. As more and more households acquire computers, and
more and more services are offered online, actual paper and coin money
may become obsolete. Many people already have cards or passes that are
paid for in advance and allow them to use busses, trains, pay for tolls, and
other services. This technology is being tested in other markets. The need
for real cash could soon become history.
Technology will continue to change banking and its financial services,
and this in turn will have a great impact on the professionals who work in
this field. Prior to the 1980s, banks and brokerage institutions were
separate entities. Then the United States Congress removed many of the
regulations that separated banking and finance, opening up competition
for financial services.
Today’s banking professionals need mathematical competency,
computer know-how and analytical skills as well as people and
communication skills to be able to advance and have a successful career.
You can get a job with only a high school diploma, but an entry-level
candidate must possess talents and interests that can be developed with
training and eventually more education. Even at the clerical level,
technological advances are ongoing, and your work can depend upon

how much you now know and how much more you are able to absorb in
the future.
A Competitive Field Banking is a service business and as such it must
continually create new revenue by competing for new retail and
commercial customers, making sound investments and loans, having a
positive presence in the city or community with just the right mix of service
and image. A small town may have only one bank, but most consumers
have a choice even if it is in the next town or online. And big city
customers have the luxury of going to the bank that gives them the best
deal and service.
There is enough stress in today’s world and banks want to keep
customers smiling and coming back. Banks must be able to handle
problems, manage time, maintain good relations within their cities and
communities, and be compliant with all new banking practices and
The two main reasons that banks exist are (1) to provide a safe place
to keep and invest money, and (2) to provide a source for borrowing
money that is sound and legal. Customers who are kept waiting
unnecessarily, whether it is in a line at the bank or on a telephone line, will
take their business elsewhere.
The basis of regulating banking was the Glass-Steagall bill enacted in
1933 in response to the excesses of the Depression years. By the late
1990s, large banks and other sizable financial service firms found ways to
avoid these restrictions leading to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in
1999. This situation has permitted mergers and consolidations that have
spawned mega financial institutions offering banking, insurance and
securities services. The long term impact of this will be debated for some
All this makes banking highly competitive with the right personnel
invaluable to the particular institution. The competition is not only fierce to
attract customers, but also to employ capable professionals to handle the
work and add to the bottom line.
A People Field Banking is a people field because banking is a service
field and this means daily contact with customers. Every banking position
relates to the public. From the security force, to the clerical, managerial
and professional staff, and all the way up to the executive levels, people
come first. Banks exist for customers.

For the foreseeable future, the majority of customers will do most of
their banking in person. A still small percentage of customers use the
Internet for their banking needs. And a growing number of depositors
have their pay, pension, dividend and Social Security checks deposited
directly to a designated financial institution account.
But when it comes to a mortgage for your home or condo, a loan for
school or a car, extending your credit on a charge card, acquiring an
insurance policy, brokerage account advice, and other services most people
like to sit with a real person and discuss the matters face-to-face, or at the
very least talk with someone on the telephone. Whether it is a teller that
answers questions about your checking or savings account, or a loan
officer that needs more information before a loan can be approved, or a
manager of a branch bank answering questions about their fee structure,
banking professionals make the difference between your being satisfied or
taking your business elsewhere.
Men and women who go into banking at any level must be prepared
to deal with all kinds of people and different situations every day. Mistakes
can be made and customers can become angry. It becomes incumbent
upon the banking professional, beginning at the teller level, to handle the
situation so it does not get out of control and result in lost business. An
unsatisfied customer spreads that word and can cause image problems
especially for smaller institutions.
So people skills and communication skills are high on the list of assets
needed for banking jobs. A ready smile. Tactful actions. Unruffled
demeanor. A strong, well-modulated speaking voice. A command of the
English language in speaking and writing. In essence, if you like to work
with numbers, are comfortable with computers, can adjust to people
spouting off and function calmly in a sometime hectic atmosphere, then a
career in banking might be in your future.

historians have documented banking in some form dating even before the
Babylonian empire in 2500 BC, modern banking started in the 16th
century, when Italians conducted their business from benches.
In England, goldsmiths were the bankers of their day as wealthy
people stored their gold and silver in a goldsmith’s vault. These goldsmiths
gave receipts to the owners of the gold and silver which they then used to
get credit to buy things. The receipts proved that they could pay for the
merchandise they bought. The goldsmiths began lending out the gold and
silver and charged a fee – or interest – to the people who borrowed it. The
goldsmiths would give a portion of the fee back to the depositor. In this
way they could attract more wealthy people to deposit in their vaults and
eventually were functioning as bankers in the modern sense.
Banking in America
In American history, it was the merchants who were the sources of money
and credit in Colonial times from the early 1600s to the late 1700s. It was
only after the War of Independence that the first commercial bank, the
Bank of North America, received a charter of incorporation, in 1781.
British banking houses stretched across the American frontier giving out
short-term credits of less than a year to American merchants who in turn
extended credit to wholesalers who passed them on to both urban and
rural retailers.
By 1789 when the Constitution went into effect, two state banks in
New York and Massachusetts joined the Bank of North America as the start
of our banking system. The main function of these early banks was to
make short-term loans and open accounts for individual credit. Banks
issued their own bank notes (used like our paper money), and had to
maintain enough reserves to cover their loans. Because the system was
new, many banks failed and went into bankruptcy because they had
overextended themselves.
Banking was going to be a conservative industry from the beginning.
From The Reader’s Companion to American History, “The overriding fears
of political leaders was that excessive numbers of banks or loans too much
in excess of specie (money in coin) reserves would hobble the taxing and
spending functions of government by swamping the economy in
depreciated paper. Political leaders also recalled very well the wild inflation
resulting from unrestrained governmental issues of continental and state

bills of credit (paper money) during the Revolution, and in the Constitution
they barred the states from issuing them.
“The management of the first Bank of the United States (BUS),
chartered by Congress in 1791, reflected these concerns. Although the
BUS was a large commercial bank providing loans to the private sector as
well as to government, its board of directors managed the institution in a
highly conservative manner. Balance sheets for the years 1792 - 1800
reveal a generally high degree of success in maintaining the Bank’s specie
A growing American population and burgeoning trade created a need
for comparable growth in the volume of money and credit. By 1811, the
number of banks chartered by the states increased in number from 5 to
117, and their combined capital stock rose from $4.6 million to almost
$66.3 million.
Throughout the decades of the 1800s as the state banking system
grew and faced one crisis after another, especially during and after the Civil
War years, it became time for the federal government to act. The states
wanted autonomy, but this all began to change in 1863 when the federal
government invited state banks to take out federal charters, thereby
becoming known as national banks.
The growth of the new banking system was slow and by 1870, it
covered about three-fourths of the nation’s banking resources. Through
the end of the century there were still great problems in banking and
specifically the inability to do anything about sudden shortages of cash
and credit. Because the entire system was based on cash reserves, the total
amount of cash could not be quickly altered to accommodate a shortage.
It became obvious that a central institution was needed that could hold
the reserves of the commercial banks as well as increase those reserves.
In 1913, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act that divided the
nation into 12 districts and established a regional central bank in each
district. Each district had a nine-member board of directors who reported
to a seven-member Board of Governors in Washington, DC. But banking
problems were far from over.
The Great Depression and the inability of the banking system to
prevent the widespread failure of banks prompted Congress to pass the
Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933, establishing the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and requiring all members of the Federal
Reserve System to insure their deposits. In addition, this act increased the

authority of the 12 Federal Reserve district banks to better control the
amounts of credit extended and other financial shenanigans.
For more than 50 years the system secured bank depositors from loss.
But trouble came in the 1980s when fraud and mismanagement caused
massive failures in savings and loan institutions that required a huge
federal bailout of more than $150 billion and structural changes in the
Today’s banking system in the United States is as good as it gets
anywhere in the world. That does not mean that failures cannot occur, but
there are no widespread abuses and fraud, and the safety features in the
system assure depositors that everything possible is being done to protect
their money and investments.
As the saying goes, What is past is prologue. Now read on to find out
what those in banking think about their job and profession.

talent in mathematics and in handling numbers, as well as the use of
computers. What banks mainly look for in entry-level positions are
candidates who are motivated to learn and who can adapt to ongoing
changes in technology and other business systems. As a candidate gains
experience and advances in the bank, then more is expected in career
objectives and the education and training necessary to keep progressing.
Banks expect their personnel to stay on the cutting edge of modern
business practices.
The following positions help make banking a major career field for the
21st century. These titles are general in nature as not every bank calls each
job by the same title. Larger banks will obviously have more people
performing different jobs, while smaller banks may combine some of their
duties and even give them new titles. As you investigate various financial
institutions, you will be able to tell the difference.

Tellers With more than a half-million teller positions in banks across the
country, there are always opportunities to get into this field. This is the
position that most customers regularly come in contact with. It is one of
the most visible positions in the bank.
Teller duties include:
Cashing checks
Taking deposits
Processing withdrawals
Accepting payments on utility bills, charge cards, loans, and other
Selling US savings bonds and traveler’s checks
Processing the paperwork for certificates of deposit
Taking deposits from businesses and balancing the money
deposited with their deposit slips
Making up the bags of coins and small bills that businesses buy for
making change for their customers
Some tellers service ATMs that receive deposits, issue withdrawals and
take payments by computer. Other tellers service drive-up banking
A teller handles a lot of money and must be good with numbers and
able to use computers and other office equipment such as adding
machines. Accuracy is the teller’s number one concern. Many customers
come to the bank with multiple transactions and each one must be
handled with extreme care. At the end of each day the teller has to settle
the money in the drawer with the computer records. Just one penny off
can mean staying late to find the error.
Tellers must be vigilant when it comes to accepting checks for cashing
to ensure that the correct date, written and numerical amounts agree and
verifying that the person cashing the check is the person to whom it is
written. Counterfeiting and false identification cards are also a problem
and the teller must check bank records or call a supervisor if there is an
unresolved discrepancy.
Most customers accept the need for showing proper identification
when cashing checks, but some become irritated and that is when the
teller becomes the “master of customer service” as one teller explained.
Soothing ruffled feelings goes with this particular job.

This job carries a good deal of pressure. Tellers are at work before the
bank opens as they must set up their station and count the money they
will have to work with that day. After the bank has closed is when the
tellers justify the money against the transactions. Patience and precision
are a must. Tellers represent the bank and may be the only personnel some
customers ever see.
This is a people position and requires a comfort level with large
amounts of cash, good math and clerical skills, computer skills, excellent
spoken communications, patience and a courteous, smiling personality.
Because this position lends itself to part-time hours, college students
frequently work in banks to get their start in the financial world. A high
school diploma is a must. Tellers take classes and learn on the job, most
often paired with experienced tellers.
Account Representatives
In small banks this position may be combined with the duties of a teller.
But in mid-size and larger banks, these are two specialized positions due
to the volume of business. With additional training, a teller can move up
to become an account representative with more responsibility and earning
more money.
The account representative’s main job is selling all services to new
customers, and selling new services to current customers. They set up
checking and savings accounts. They sell certificates of deposits, where the
customer agrees to deposit a certain amount of money and not withdraw
it for three, six, twelve or more months depending upon the terms of the
CD. The bank then has use of the funds and pays the customer interest at
an established rate. Usually, the longer the money stays in the bank the
better the interest rate, a good selling point.
Representatives also set up money market accounts which are similar
to checking accounts except that the funds are invested in mutual funds
and stocks. The bank retains a portion of the money earned with the
remainder going to the customer. They also arrange for security or
safe-deposit boxes where a customer can keep important papers and other
valuables such as jewelry.
The account representative, in conjunction with other departments
such as marketing, will send mailings to current customers about any new
or updated services the bank is offering and invite them to talk it over
either by telephone or on their next visit to the bank. Banks acquire
mailing lists for potential new customers and will send prospects letters
informing them of the advantages of their banking services.

The account representative must be thoroughly familiar with all bank
services at all times, and be able to sell them. This requires excellent
communication skills, both written and oral, as well as knowing everything
the teller knows about banking procedures. This is one of the most
competitive areas in banking and as such attracts the candidate who has a
good command of English, Spanish or other languages, and is aggressive
in selling the bank’s services.
Loan Officers and Credit Analysts You probably have not had
much experience with credit ratings and loans as yet, but you will. When a
customer asks a financial institution for a loan, the credit-worthiness of the
individual or the business must be established. In larger banks the credit
analyst receives the order from the loan officer who has taken the
information from the customer. The analyst will then research the credit
and other financial history of the customer. The analyst will report the
credit findings to the loan officer and based on the findings, and in
concert with the loan officer, will recommend that the request move on to
the next stage, or reject the request, usually for bad credit reports.
Lending money is very serious business. Throughout the 1970s and
1980s, banks and savings and loan institutions went through bleak
periods of unsecured and risky loans leading to closings, job losses and
most troublesome, loss of depositors’ monies. It was the worst financial
disaster since the Great Depression. Some very big banks failed. Many
savings and loan institutions closed. Depositors lost money and the federal
government had to provide funds to cover some of these losses. Some
executives were prosecuted and went to jail.
Financial institutions do not like to write off bad loans, so they are
careful and vigilant as to whom they lend their money. Where a credit
history is lacking, then a loan co-signer and/or collateral of some kind is
necessary. Most loans in retail banking are given to individuals who want
to buy a new home or improve an old one; small businesses like
neighborhood cleaners, restaurants, and clothing shops; for the purchase
of new and used cars, and boats; and to help finance a college education.
While loan policies vary from bank to bank, many loan officers, with a
proper credit check, can approve a modest loan on the spot. Banks have
lending committees to oversee their larger loans, usually made up of their
top executives, and they discuss and recommend or reject the particular
loan, taking into consideration the recommendation of the loan officer.
This committee will also expand loan policies and deal with problem loans.
Many banks require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree to be
considered as a loan officer. Also an aptitude in math and excellent

communication skills. Credit analysts also need a bachelor’s degree plus
good math skills and a proficiency with the computer and relevant
software programs.

Clerical Supervisors and Managers Large financial institutions

have file clerks, mail clerks, and a variety of other clerks and assistants who
handle the large amounts of paper work associated with banking.
Electronic and computer banking is on the rise but this form of operation
still generates a paper trail.
Clerical support is the backbone of a bank and their supervisors and
managers must know and understand all their strengths and weaknesses.
Keeping the work flowing and the problems to a minimum are the
responsibilities of the supervisors, depending upon the particular
institution. Bank work never stops even though most banks are open to
the public during certain business hours. Electronic banking can and does
go on 24 hours-a-day, and that means that there is always clerical help at
work and the personnel necessary to keep it under control.
The supervisors must be familiar with all the duties of all the people
who report to them. They may hire their own clerical workers or be part of
the hiring process. They handle the orientation of new people and oversee
their training by other employees. They make assignments to keep the
work up-to-date, and when some days the work is heavier or when
workers are on vacation or on sick leave, they juggle assignments to
spread the work around and ensure that what needs to get done every day
– does.
Supervisors/managers make sure that deadlines are met, problems are
identified and resolved promptly, evaluate their personnel and recommend
promotions, salary increases, merit awards, transfers and firings. They
must maintain good relations with their workers and hold regular
meetings so that everyone is working as a unit with a common goal. They,
in turn, report to the next higher level of management.
These are not entry-level positions but can be attained through
promotions from within the individual financial institution. Most managers
have had some college or business courses. Some large banks have
in-house developmental classes or reimburse the cost for outside classes.
These supervisory positions are good stepping stones to the executive
levels of banking.

Computer Operator & Data Entry Keyer
Computers became the second hand of businesses in the last decades of
the 20th century. Just imagine the hundreds of millions of transactions of
financial institutions and stock exchanges done by hand, adding machines,
calculators and other non-electronic equipment. Today, transactions can be
made and verified in minutes as opposed to hours and even days.
Computers allow financial institutions to store and work with millions of
pieces of information and documents online.
It was the computer that made international banking a reality as
people separated by thousands of miles can conduct very complex
transactions without ever leaving their offices. Computers are used in
financial institutions to keep track of and itemize accounts; create research
reports on financial transactions, customer profiles, the economy, etc.;
quote the prices of securities worldwide, and project investment strategies
and results based on a number of conditions.
There is always a need for trained computer operators as well as
operators of peripheral equipment such as printers and storage disk drives.
Because larger banks and a growing number of mid-size ones operate
their computers 24-hoursa-day, seven days a week, they need three shifts
to handle the steady flow of work. Computer runs can last for hours, even
a day, as when a bank generates the bills for its credit card customers, or a
large company’s payroll checks must be printed out. Today, with banks
able to handle brokerage transactions, customers can use the bank’s
computer services day and night to handle investments in foreign markets
in different time zones.
Computer operators handle all of these functions plus monitor the
equipment, handle problems as they come up and respond to error
messages, as it is their responsibility to locate the problem and solve it.
While small banks may take a high school graduate with a good
knowledge of computers and train in house, large financial institutions
want computer operators with either a degree in computer science or
experience. Large financial institutions will train computer operators to run
their specific software programs. A growing number of vocational,
technical, and business schools, as well as community colleges, offer
courses and degree programs in computer operations.
The data entry keyer enters each and every transaction in a financial
institution. Make a deposit. Write a check. Buy or sell stock. Purchase
traveler’s checks, and on and on. All this information is entered daily, and
at the larger banks it is done and updated hourly by many hands working
at many terminals. Accuracy is the obvious key to this position. The

information must be checked and entered correctly, as well as kept
current. Because of the volume of business in larger banks, speed is almost
as essential as accuracy.
Branch Manager This is an executive level position, as the branch
manager is like the president or chief executive of the particular branch
banking facility. The branch can be located in the same city as the main
bank, or located in another state as multinational banks have branches in
many states. While the branch is part of the main bank and must adhere
to its policies and procedures, branch managers can be flexible enough to
respond to the particular community and constituency.
The branch may be small with 15 to 20 employees located in a
neighborhood, or it may be large with up to 100 workers located in a
main business or financial area. In either case, the manager ensures that
the operation runs smoothly and that customers are taken care of in a
courteous and efficient fashion. The manager must hire all the professional
and clerical staff necessary to get the job done.
While personnel in large banking facilities can sometimes be faceless
and very business-like individuals, branch banking personnel are
well-known by their customers and their encounters usually are friendly
and more casual. The branch manager wants to create this type of
atmosphere so that customers look forward to their banking business and
spread the word to their family and friends.
The branch manager may report to a vice president of the region, or
an executive vice president, or president of the main bank. When branch
managers increase business, keep problems to a minimum and have
contented and productive employees, they can and do move up the
executive ladder.

careers are banks, savings and loan associations (S&Ls) and credit unions.
Community Banks are the financial institutions that primarily serve
individuals and small businesses. They are located in small towns and large
cities from coast to coast. They may be the biggest business in a small
town or a small business in a large city. They cater to the customers and
the “mom and pop” businesses who are not comfortable with large
financial institutions and prefer the friendlier one-on-one service of a
smaller bank. They offer a full-range of services and so have need for many
types of banking professionals.
Commercial/Corporate Banks specialize in serving larger businesses
and institutions, but also have individuals and small business customers
who only trust large financial institutions with their money. These banks
have much larger departments and therefore many more specialized career
opportunities. They offer all the standard basic services, but are also heavily
into investment banking and planning, stocks and bonds brokerage,
insurance, and other financial areas that require large amounts of capital
and that most smaller banks do not compete in. These institutions are
mainly found in large cities and usually have many good job opportunities.
Savings & Loan Associations were originally organized to handle
home mortgage loans in neighborhoods and make it easier for individuals
to buy homes. While they still specialize in home loans for buying or
renovating, S&Ls have added some of the services – like checking and
savings accounts – of the consumer banks. Generally, they are smaller in
size but have some of the same career opportunities as the banks,
especially in areas like loans and credit. They are generally found in larger
cities and their surrounding suburbs.
Credit Unions function like banks and S&Ls, but are different because
they are not-for-profit cooperatives and are literally owned by their
depositors. These financial institutions typically are established to serve
the employees of a particular company, government agency or community.
They generally offer savings accounts, share drafts (similar to checking
accounts), credit cards, and home, auto and educational loans.
Teller and basic bookkeeping, accounting, loan officer, data processing
and other computer systems positions are common in credit unions. While
salaries tend to be lower in credit unions, job satisfaction runs higher for
their more than 160,000 employees, who make up a growing segment of
the financial services industry.


I’m a Loan Assistant With a

Mid-Size Bank “This is my first job out of college
where my majors were accounting and computers. During my
summer breaks I worked in various companies including a bank,
and liked the banking atmosphere and the opportunities. My
research indicated that the loan department was a good place to
get to know the business of banking and learn about a particular
bank. I applied to a number of banks in the city that I wanted to
work in and had two offers. I chose this one.
While I’ve been on the job less than a year, I am learning a lot.
My boss is the chief loan officer as well as an executive vice
president of the bank. I’m in a work and in-house training
program, and my days are so filled that I hardly realize when it is
time to go home.
Since learning the procedures of granting loans and reviewing
files of completed and pending loan transactions, I have started to
assist my boss in the preparation of loan applications. Depending
upon the size and purpose of the loan, there is a good deal of
work involved in getting all the information necessary to make a
judgment. You have to examine past credit history, including
outstanding debts, business or job association, salary and so on.
It’s sort of like putting a puzzle together; you can’t see the whole
picture until all the pieces are in place.
Banks do not lend frivolously. All the documentation must be
in place with every i dotted and every t crossed. I sit in on the
meetings between my boss and the customer who is seeking the
loan and afterward proceed to gather and verify the information
on the loan application. I work with our credit department to
determine the customer’s credit rating and other pertinent
financial information. While a once-bad credit rating does not
preclude one from getting a loan, the circumstances that led to
the bad credit rating have to be analyzed for any patterns that
could arise again. I also keep loan files current and at hand when

I have a computer at my desk and spend a good part of my
day on it. My duties generate a lot of reports which I work on with
my boss and others. Also, I prepare a variety of letters of either
commitment or an adverse action for my boss to sign. When a
decision has been made, I sit in on those meetings. Approving a
loan is obviously much easier than saying no. People don’t always
understand why they were denied their loan and one must always
be respectful of the customer’s hurtful reaction.
I assume more responsibility each week, and my boss is
pleased with my progress. My desire to succeed is very great. I like
the banking industry and especially the good opportunities to
move onward and upward. I am considering starting an MBA
program in the not-too-distant future as having my master’s
degree would give me added dimensions for other banking
options, especially at the executive level.
At this early stage in my career I am pleased with my choice of
industry and look forward to becoming a full-fledged loan officer
and moving on from there.”

I’m the Head Teller for a Credit

Union “I just celebrated my 16th year at the
credit union where I started out in the mail department right out
of high school. Ours is a large credit union serving many
thousands of members and their families.
Because I was not focused on much of anything careerwise in
high school, I did not have many options as far as work was
concerned when I graduated. I got into the mail room of this
union because my father was a union member in good standing
and a one-time union officer. It took me almost two years to find
my head and realize that I did not want to sort and deliver mail for
the rest of my life.
The union promotes educational opportunities for the kids of
members and I was able to get into a night-time program in math
and computers at a nearby community college. It was a two-year
program and I did very well in it earning an associate’s degree.

I went from the mail department to accounting where I put
my new math skills to work, and then on to the teller cage. I was
now an eight-year veteran of the credit union and responsible for
handling large sums of money while using my computer skills.
Over the next five years I went from teller-trainee to full teller, then
assistant head teller to the head teller spot. I have been in this
position for more than two years.
We operate just like a bank except that we’re nonprofit. The
days are hectic; so much work has to be done on a daily basis and
it must be accurate to the penny. I supervise 14 full-time tellers
and six part-time tellers. I participate in their training and maintain
open communications so we work well together and can catch a
problem before it becomes major. We are open five-and-a-half
days a week.
For the past year I have been taking night classes at a local
college in business and financial management. I am only in my
mid thirties, starting a family, and I want to move up if I can. This
credit union is large enough for me to progress to other positions.
I will also keep my eyes open for any other opportunities that may
come along.
My best advice is don’t waste any time while you’re in school.
I was fortunate in having a father who I didn’t listen to in high
school, but who helped me just the same when I got out and
realized I was going nowhere fast. School is important; I know
that now. But anyone can succeed if you put your head to it. I like
working. I like earning money. And I like my career.”

I’m an Account Representative for a

Major Bank “I have a bachelor’s degree in liberal
arts, but my work in the eight years since I graduated from
college has been in marketing and public relations. I like working
with people and being out front in whatever I do. My first job out
of college was in the public relations department of a national
chain specializing in casual clothes for both men and women. For
almost five years I learned the ins and outs of marketing and
public relations and did some traveling in the job.

I left because promotions were few, I felt stagnant. I then
went to work in the public relations department of a large
department store, but they were bought out by another
department store chain and lots of us lost our jobs. Two years ago,
while living off my severance, I noticed an employment ad in the
newspaper touting training programs and new opportunities for a
new large branch of an international bank.
I applied and was taken into a program for account
representatives. You may wonder why someone with a retail
clothing background would fit in a banking career. I have an
outgoing personality, I’m well-dressed, and I have excellent
communication skills. They said I was just what they were looking
for to handle the public on a daily basis.
I love my job. Every day is different and every day is
interesting. I am one of four account reps for this branch and have
an open office space on the bank’s main floor. Our job is to make
sure that bank customers and prospects know about all the
services and advantages offered by the bank. People either just
stop at the information desk, ask questions and are then referred
to our area, or they are referred from tellers and other bank
departments. I am now familiar with every part of our bank and
can discuss each and every service in detail. When there is a
question I can’t answer, then I can go immediately to the right
source for accurate information.
I work with our marketing department in preparing brochures
and other information pieces to attract new business. I also handle
correspondence, answering questions about our services and why
we are a leader in the banking field.
Banking is a very competitive industry and we are charged
with making our bank services stand above the competition. After
all, banks are profitable institutions and they grow by marketing
more services, expanding their customer base and becoming more
profitable. We identify our target constituencies and match them
up with the products and services they may need. I find this easy
to do because our banks from coast to coast have a wonderful
reputation for service. Even though our branch is relatively new, it
has already enjoyed good success in the city because of our special
care in taking care of those who do business with us.

I work hard and I make good money. There are also good
benefits. This is a large enough company that I can move up to a
managerial position in any number of departments. I would like to
make my career at this bank and hope that it works out.
Fortunately, I have enough experience to make it elsewhere if that
should be necessary. I’m positive about my future in banking.”

I’m a Computer Operator on the

Third Shift “I work on the third shift of a large
bank, sometimes called the ‘graveyard shift.’ I have a bachelor’s
degree in mathematics, and now I am back in school during the
day to get my master’s degree in computer science. It’s a heavy
schedule but I am almost through it.
I’ve been working on computers since I was in high school.
I’m good at it and am able to master new programs that I have
been given. As you probably know, many banks now operate
round the clock, seven days a week. My shift picks up on the runs
that were started on earlier shifts. We record and review every
transaction made by the bank for that day. We respond to any
error messages and must find their source. We also monitor our
branch banking transactions.
It’s very precise work, and I must be alert to any changes in
the run. There are always maintenance people on all shifts who
can address any electrical or technical problems. Because the work
is heavy and concentrated, the shift hours go by fast.
I want to design computer programs for financial institutions
like the bank I work for, and that is why I am getting my graduate
degree in computer science. Technology is moving almost faster
than we can keep up with, and it will be the computer
programmers and designers who will lead the technology effort
throughout this millennium. I want to be a part of the effort.
In the meantime I am getting good experience in the
computer programs now in use and am able to see what works
and what doesn’t. I feel I have a good future in this area.”

and a realignment of regulations. Banks can now operate 24 hours, seven
days a week. Transferring funds and clearing checks takes a fraction of the
time it used to. International banking from anywhere in the world is
prevalent. The repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act now allows banks to
sell stocks, bonds and insurance. Banking is global and local at once.
You will need two talents and/or interests to succeed in banking at
any level. Math and computers. Banking revolves around both these areas
and that will not change but only intensify.
Every department in a bank exists because of money which comes in
many forms: cash, coins, checks, bank drafts, etc. Every aspect of handling
the money involves counting it, recording it and reporting it. Tellers still
hand count when they service customers at their windows, but use
computers and other machines to balance their daily receipts. Loan officers
need to calculate interest and other fees when approving loans. Computer
operators and data processors must understand the figures they are
working with for accuracy. If math is not to your liking, then banking is not
in your future.
Even the smallest banks now have computers and this technology is
growing at a fast pace with new programs and faster systems. From the
mail room to the board room computers are as much a part of banking as
counting the money is. They track daily transactions including the flow of
funds in and out of the institution; keep files on loans, investments, stock
portfolios, etc.; generate reports on every aspect of banking; prepare
monthly statements and much more. This technology will continue to
advance and become more complex as new and faster programs and
systems are developed. If you are not comfortable working with
computers, then banking is not in your future.
In addition to math and computers, a successful banking professional
generally has the following qualifications:
Likes to work with all kinds of people in a variety of situations.
Is honest, trustful and discreet when handling other people’s funds.
Takes pride in the accuracy of the work.

Will make a good spokesperson for the bank no matter the
Can adjust to changes and evolving technology.
Banking is now global. Economic events in the United States affect the
rest of the world and vice versa. Those seeking a career in banking and
other financial services will find challenges and rewards in the
professionalism, pay and promotions the industry offers. Skilled
professionals will drive this industry to new heights.

and corporate customers seek to accomplish a variety of their banking
needs. The volume of customers on any given day can set the pace of work
and, as always, accuracy and a smile go a long way. Service with a smile
makes the job pleasant for everyone.
Banks are excellent places to work. They are respected institutions that
have modern facilities and use current technology, and many have
amenities such as subsidized in-house cafeterias. The pay and benefits
increase as you gain experience and responsibility, and there are
opportunities to advance from within the institution. In fact, many bank
presidents started on the ground floor and worked their way up to the
executive level.
Banks encourage innovation and often ask employees for suggestions
on making the system better. Banking is still a tradition conscious industry,
but the three-piece, pin-stripe suit formerly worn exclusively by white male
bankers has been rearranged to include many women and minorities in
managerial positions and at senior executive levels. And the dress can be
more casual wear. But how you look, dress and carry yourself is still very
important because banking is still a conservative professional career.
A career in banking can become a good, steady, well-paying future for
the right candidate. And the new century will pose challenges and new
innovations not even thought of as yet.

afternoons and the eves of holidays are crazy because everyone waits to
either cash or deposit their checks causing long lines, with your boss
watching over you to keep up a faster pace, and tired, angry customers
who want to get home or out of town for the weekend. And travelers
always wait until the very last minute to buy their travelers checks and
foreign currency, enter their safety deposit boxes, etc. It’s a madhouse and
you become the target of the disgruntled.
Customers expect you to know everything about every banking service
and resent it when you refer them to another person or department for
answers. They also expect you to know them personally and some resent
your asking them for a photo ID. There is seldom a “thank you” or a smile
on their part, but you are expected to be at your best even when you are
being verbally abused. This is especially true when a loan application has
been rejected and the customer holds you personally responsible for the
action. They have little or no understanding, even after an explanation,
why their request was not granted.
The technology keeps changing and by the time you master one
system or computer program another is taking its place and you’re again
in a training program. You are always under pressure to complete one task
and start another. So much has to be accomplished on a daily basis that
the stress is sometimes overwhelming.


high school diploma, and many require two years or more of college.
Technology has changed the way we live and work and that has had an
impact on our educational goals. If you want to succeed, you will have to
think seriously about how far you want to go and what skills you will need
to get there.
A career in banking requires technical and communication skills and
that means education and training. A high school diploma, or its
equivalent, is necessary for entry-level positions such as tellers, clerks, and
other support staff. An interest in math and a knowledge of how to use a
computer are important. Many financial institutions, especially the larger
ones, have in-house training programs for different levels of work, but you
must first have the interest and the desire to learn.

A college degree in business, mathematics or computer science is
essential for professional positions in financial institutions. Banks also like
to employ people who are well-rounded educationally and accept liberal
arts and other degree holders.
An MBA (Master of Business Administration) graduate degree may be
important if you want to reach the higher levels of banking. Some banks
will reimburse part or all of your tuition for continued part-time study
toward this degree, if they think you are worth it and if you make a
commitment to stay with the bank for a certain number of years. Your
public or school libraries have the listing of colleges, universities and
community colleges which have business, science and computer courses
and degree programs.
Some banks and banking associations have internships, scholarships,
loans and other funded programs for students. Contact the American
Bankers Association, or other professional associations for
more information. Also visit your local bank and ask their
personnel/human resources department about financial help resources.
Training is ongoing in this field. Banking is global and technology
driven, and therefore constantly changing. If you want a career in banking
then be prepared to attend training sessions, workshops, seminars,
conferences and other venues to increase your skills and keep up with the
industry. At the executive level, programs are tailored specifically to
executive management in a global economy.
It always helps to start out with a plan and then determine what is
needed to make the plan a reality. If you want to go to the top in banking,
then you will need all the required tools to get there and that includes
education and training.

and desire to move upward then rewards await you. Salaries are always
based on the size of the institution, the area of the country in which it is
located, large city versus small town, education, training and experience
levels, responsibilities and your potential.
With this in mind, the following salaries are averages for these
$10,000 - $25,000
Head Teller
$25,000 - $35,000
Bookkeeper/Accounting Clerk$15,000 - $25,000
Clerical Supervisor/Manager$25,000 - $45,000
Computer Operator
$15,000 - $30,000
Data Entry/Keyer
$20,000 - $25,000
$15,000 - $20,000
Administrative Assistant$20,000 - $40,000
Branch managers at small installations can earn upwards of $50,000,
while larger companies pay upwards of $100,000.
Large banks pay their senior executives $250,000 and up, plus stock
options. For the candidate who has the necessary education and
experience, banking can be very financially rewarding.

mergers and acquisitions have trimmed some opportunities in certain
areas, the globalization of financial institutions has opened up new
opportunities in other areas.
Banks are usually a high visible presence in most business districts and
communities. They are solid and respectable. They are found everywhere.
From teller to senior executives, the jobs are there to make a start and
continue with a plan to advance. Specific titles, responsibilities and salaries
will change from bank to bank and from area to area, but the bottom line
remains the same – banks have career opportunities for those go-getters
who want to make their mark in life.
Banking is hard work. It is also challenging, reputable, traditional,
high tech, fast-paced and, in most instances, financially rewarding. As new
technology changes banking, new positions will be created in this country
and around the world to meet the challenges of a global economy. With
good skills, a penchant for learning, and a desire to develop and advance,
a career in banking could be your ticket to success.


banking careers. Start your planning today so that you have enough time
and information to evaluate all the pros and cons of the field to see if you
want to pursue this further. You can only make an informed decision if you
have the necessary information.
Evaluate your talents and interests by writing them down and noting
where you could go with what you now have, and how much further you
could go with more education and training. Your list should include one or
more of the following strengths: mathematics, computers, business and
financial subjects.
Go to your public library and read a book or two on banking. Your
reading should cover basic banking to Internet banking and global finance.
Also search the Internet for banking and financial information. Cable
television stations CNN and CNBC are also good sources of financial news.
Visit one or more banks in your area and talk with their human
resources or personnel department about job opportunities, requirements,
salaries, benefits and more. Talk with a professional in one or more

departments to ask questions about their specific work. Invite one of these
professionals to talk to your class about their work and banking in general.
Talk with your family, school teachers and counselors, friends and
others about your thoughts on a banking career to get as much input as
possible. Choosing a career will be one of the most important decisions
you will make in your lifetime and it should be as open and informed as
possible. You can always change your mind down the road, but you
shouldn’t even begin to travel that road unless you have every bit of
information you can gather.
Keep a journal as you search. Include what you read, people you
talked with, questions asked and answered, impressions and other
thoughts. You will then have a good idea of what you have learned and if
a career in banking could be in your future.


n American Bankers Association

n American Financial Services Association

n American Institute of Banking (Part of the ABA)

n Bank Administration Institute

n Credit Union Executives Society

n Independent Community Bankers of America

n Institute of Financial Education

n Mortgage Bankers Association of America


n ABA Banking Journal

n Business Week

n Consumer World

n Forbes Magazine

n Fortune Magazine

n Inc.

n Money Magazine

n The Banker

n The Wall Street Journal

n Plus the business pages of your local newspapers

Copyright 2005 Institute For Career Research CHICAGO