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Commercial Banking Officer


In order to launch a new company or set one on the right financial path, they may need to apply for some form of credit or a loan. Commercial banking officers are banking professionals who deal with these types of businesses. In fact, the most common branches of commercial banking are credit analysis and lending. Banking officers understand and analyze financial information about loan applications and business conditions, and approve or reject credit applications. They develop credit structuring alternatives for large company transactions and manage these accounts. Commercial banking officers must ensure that those commercial organizations that want to borrow money are a safe financial risk to the organization. If a potential borrower is deemed unsuitable or unable to pay back a loan in due time by the credit officer, they will be rejected.

So how does a commercial banking officer determine the creditworthiness of a business applying for credit or a loan? They must spend their days obtaining information from banks, credit institutions, and employers, going over a company's credit history, seeing if they have paid back loans in the past. Commercial banking officers will interview applicants for business loans, and going over all these financial questions. After gathering and synthesizing all applicable financial information, they make a final decision regarding the loan.

Commercial banking officers are also in charge of selling bank services and products, like retirement savings plans and corporate credit cards. Those that work in small branches sometimes supervise banking procedures directly and process loan applications. In larger branches, officers supervise the work of account managers and other banking representatives. Commercial banking officers must keep up to date with legislation and new governmental changes that affect the financial industry. Some banking officers specialize in a specific commercial sector such as real estate, forestry, agriculture or finance. These days, it is helpful to have a banking officer that has knowledge in a specialized area so that when it comes to assessing loan applications, they will have better judgment due to their knowledge of the industry. Also, this potentially lessens the risk of numerous unpaid loans for a financial institution.
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  Average Earnings  
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  Interests and Skills  
Successful commercial banking officers should work with high levels of integrity, honesty and accuracy because they are dealing with numbers and other people's money. They must be skilled problem solvers and be able to make independent, important decisions since they are the ones deciding whether or not to grant loans. Commercial banking officers are good negotiators and communicators as a great deal of the work is dealing with clients. They must also be sympathetic and compassionate because the companies and people coming to them are asking for their help in obtaining credit and they sometimes get rejected. Finally they are born managers who enjoy coordinating the work of others.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Responsible for administering personal and commercial loans, accepting deposits, buying and selling securities, operating investment funds, administering trusts, settling estates and other related activities
  • Ensure the institution's policies and procedures are followed according to established guidelines and make recommendations for improvement
  • Promote the sale of loan, investment and other banking services to attract corporate customers
  • Interview corporate customers and respond to customer enquiries
  • Analyze, review and approve or reject loan and credit applications
  • Monitor processing of loan applications and credit investigations
  • Develop customer service procedures and deal with customer complaints
  • May manage staff and facilitate employee development
  • Commercial banking officers typically work in an office environment, often at a bank or other financial institution. Depending on their level of responsibility and management position, they may work longer hours, such as a 50- or 60-hour workweek. Commercial banking officers deal with people constantly, including their own staff, members of the public and people in business and industry. They may be required to travel to firms interviewing prospective borrowers and assessing business operations.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Commercial banking officers are mainly employed by banks, credit unions, trust companies, mortgage investment companies and securities firms. They deal with companies in need of banking, loans and financial assistance. They may also work for the government or for the public sector.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Advancement possibilities for commercial banking officers vary depending on the size and type of financial company. Some employers prefer to train their own personnel as management professionals and promote from within the company. Commercial banking officers develop a wide range of business skills in the areas of finance, marketing, accounting and operations. Therefore, they can become investment advisors, stockbrokers, accountants and auditors, human resources managers or in any sales position.

Commercial banking officers could potentially enter into the management ranks of most companies. Another possibility is opening and running their own financial business, however few have the client base or capital necessary to start up a company.

  Educational Paths  
Commercial banking officers usually have a university degree or college diploma in business administration, commerce, economics or a related field. Many these days also hold Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degrees. However, many banking officers have worked their way up the financial ladder, even starting as bank tellers. Yet nowadays, competing against more educated individuals would make this path few and far between. Most organizations have management training programs and employers learn policies and practices specific to the company.

Experienced commercial banking officers suggest looking for a summer job in a bank or a related field. As with all careers, the more on-the-job experience one gets the better chances of obtaining a good position. Those officers who are licensed to sell other financial securities, must be certified accordingly.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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