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Bank Officer and Manager Job Description, Career as a Bank Officer and Manager, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College

Salary: Varies—see profile

Employment Outlook: Poor

Definition and Nature of the Work

Bank officers and managers manage banks. They work at various levels of the banking industry. Within the industry there are many different kinds of banks offering full service or specialized types of checking, savings, loan, and trust fund services. Banks vary in size, from the small local bank with just one branch to the super-regional banks. These larger banks are made up of a parent bank with many branches. The top officers and managers of the parent bank include the chief executive officer, president, vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, controller, and treasurer. These people supervise the activities of all the branch banks. In addition, each officer works with a number of assistants and trainees.

Each bank department and service is administered by a bank officer or financial manager. The number and type of officers and managers found in each branch depend on the services offered. In a small community bank, one bank manager may be responsible for many different departments.

Loan officers are responsible for a bank's primary concern, which is to make money by charging interest on loans. Because the amount of money available for loans is limited, personal and commercial loan officers evaluate credit reports on the individual or corporation to determine which applicants will be able to pay back their loans with interest. Credit department managers prepare these credit reports. Real estate loan officers investigate whether the house a customer wants a loan to buy is worth the selling price. These officers also want proof that the buyer will receive a clear title to the house. Loan officers usually work with a single type of loan, such as mortgages, so they can gain enough experience in their field to make correct loan decisions for their bank.

Trust officers supervise the investment of trust monies. From estates, foundations, or businesses, banks receive the power to hold and invest trust money (called a trust fund) through legal documents such as wills or deeds of trust. Trust department officers may oversee personal and corporate trusts. These officers consult with investment specialists employed by the bank and then decide the best investment for each customer's account. Trust officers are responsible for seeing that the beneficiaries (people named to receive income from the trust fund investments) receive income checks on time and that all provisions of the trust are followed.

Operations managers generally work in a bank's corporate offices and are responsible for all the information and data processing services the bank requires. These include jobs such as check processing, record keeping, and bookkeeping that are carried out using computers and other automated machinery. Operations managers also coordinate the flow of work from one bank department or branch to another.

There are many other kinds of bank managers. Among these are the bank investment managers, who are responsible for investing bank funds. Financial managers prepare and interpret financial reports for the president, the vice presidents, and the officers who supervise the departments of accounting, records, and public relations. Each branch of a parent bank is also run by a branch manager, who supervises all the operations of the branch.

Education and Training Requirements

A person must have a college education to become a bank officer or management trainee. Interested individuals should take a college preparatory program in high school with a special emphasis on mathematics. A college program in Bank officers manage banks on various levels, or they administer financial services that the banks offer. (© Keith Dannemiller/Corbis.) business administration, accounting, or finance will give a person a good background for bank work. Some banks prefer to hire people with graduate training in business administration or economics. Most banks have management training programs in which trainees work for a short time in a few different bank jobs. They learn the banking business and then specialize in one aspect of bank work. Some banks hold seminars or send trainees to outside classes sponsored by the American Institute of Banking, a division of the American Bankers Association. Many banks finance the education of promising people who go to school while they work for the bank.

Getting the Job

A college placement office can help a student find a job as a management trainee in a bank. Some private employment agencies also place bank personnel. Banks often advertise for trainees in newspaper classified ads and on the Internet. Many banks send personnel workers to recruit on college campuses. Candidates can also find out about openings by writing to the personnel officers of the banks in which they are interested. If applying for a banking job while in school, students can take advantage of work–study programs.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Many bank management trainees advance to become bank officers and managers. The competition is intense for top-level executive jobs such as treasurer or head of operations. Although only a small number of officers reach senior-level positions, many more jobs are available in middle management. Some trainees start as assistant branch managers and eventually go on to manage their own branches. Trust department trainees may assist trust officers and go on to manage several trust accounts. Many bank employees seek further education to prepare themselves for high-level jobs. For example, loan officers study real estate or business accounting. There are many advancement possibilities in banking, especially for those who continue to learn about finance.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 432,000 bank managers and officers held jobs in 2004. Employment in most all banking professions was expected to decline through the year 2014. Consolidation among banks will continue to eliminate management positions. Advances in telecommunications, the computerization of customer records, and automated credit checking systems are expected to decrease the need for loan officers as well. Nevertheless, openings for bank officers and managers will occur as experienced officers and managers retire or leave their jobs for other reasons.

Working Conditions

Working conditions vary depending on the location of the bank and the type of work performed. However, a bank's business depends on customers' impressions, so banks are usually pleasant places to work. Bank officers, such as loan and trust officers, spend their days seeing customers, doing paperwork, and attending meetings. Assistant managers of branch banks must be available to handle employees' and customers' questions while the banks are open for business. Many officers and managers do paperwork after banking hours. Most bank officers and managers work thirty-five to forty hours per week, although they must frequently bring work home with them. Also, most bank officers participate in civic functions and attend trade association meetings. This may require some overtime work. Some branch managers work irregular hours when banks are open nights or Saturdays. Bank officers and managers are under pressure to do their work accurately and efficiently and to take full responsibility for the departments or branches they manage.

Where to Go for More Information

American Bankers Association
Center for Banking Information
1120 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036

Financial Women International
1027 W. Roselawn Ave.
Roseville, MN 55113
(866) 236-2007

Independent Community Bankers Association of America
1 Thomas Circle NW, Ste. 400
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 659-8111

Earnings and Benefits

Bank salaries vary widely from job to job. According to salary.com, the median yearly salary for an entry-level loan officer was $34,516 in 2006. Officers with experience who specialized in one type of loan or service made much more. Commercial loan officers, for instance, made a median annual salary of $53,989 in 2006, and trust officers brought in $62,292 per year. Salary.com reported that the median annual salary for bank managers was $94,037. The size of a bank significantly affects bank officers' and manager's salaries. Benefits include paid holidays and vacations, health and life insurance, and pension and profit sharing plans.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesAccounting & Finance