Is Commercial Banking a Good Career Path?

Do you want to work in the finance industry? Commercial banking provides a variety of alternatives. However, with the development of new technology and the escalating level of business competitiveness, some might wonder if a career in commercial banking is still a smart choice. This article will examine the aspects that contribute to the allure of a career in commercial banking, including chances for professional growth, competitive pay and benefits, and the likelihood of career promotion. 

We will also look at some of the difficulties and ambiguities facing the sector, such as the impact of new technology, shifting legal requirements, and changing consumer demands. By examining its advantages and disadvantages, we want to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of whether a career in commercial banking is a suitable choice and what it takes to thrive in this fast-paced, constantly-evolving sector.

How Does Commercial Banking Work?

A commercial bank often services companies, governmental organizations, and establishments like colleges and universities. A commercial bank typically provides checking accounts, loans, and lines of credit. 

The most well-known commercial banks in the United States are Bank of America, Chase Bank, KeyBank, Regions Bank, and Wells Fargo.

It is important to note that some definitions of “commercial banking” include banks catering to small-scale clients like regular consumers and banks catering to large-scale business clients. However, we’re restricting the discussion of commercial banking in this article to business banks rather than retail banks. 

Read: 17 High Paying Careers in Texas in 2023| Salary Ranges

Retail vs Commercial Banking 

Commercial banking and retail banking are separate sectors of the banking business that cater to a diverse clientele and provide them with various financial goods and services. The following are some significant variations between retail banking and commercial banking:

Customers: Retail banking typically caters to individuals, whereas commercial banking caters to business clients, including small, medium, and large organizations.

 Services: Offering various financial services geared toward consumers, retail banking often provide savings and checking accounts, loans, mortgages, credit cards, and investment products. Contrarily, commercial banking provides services like trade financing, foreign currency, merchant services, business loans, lines of credit, and cash management.

Risk management: Since commercial loans can include bigger sums of money and longer repayment terms than retail loans, commercial banking usually involves higher degrees of risk management than retail banking. Therefore, compared to retail banks, commercial banks often have stricter underwriting standards and more extensive risk management procedures.

Technology: Retail banking has quickly adopted new technologies, such as the Internet and mobile banking, to match consumers’ shifting demands and tastes. Commercial banking has lagged in adopting new technology but is catching up in areas like blockchain and digital payments.

Regulations: Commercial banks are subject to stricter regulation and oversight than retail banks due to their importance to the economy and possible impact on financial stability. This calls for more stringent capital adequacy ratios, stress tests, and reporting requirements for commercial banks.

What is the Highest Career in Banking? 

These are the 7 major in major banks with the highest pay: 

1. Loan analyst 

$88,030 is the average yearly salary.

Because they can spot lending possibilities and offer guidance on appropriate credit practices, their companies highly seek skilled loan analysts. To determine whether loan applicants can return their loans on time, one must have a keen eye for detail and the capacity to examine financial paperwork. 

The difficulty for loan analysts is mostly related to their capacity to remain objective when analyzing borrowers’ financial situations. They must make decisions with the highest accuracy and honesty to ensure compliance with banking laws and safeguard the financial institution from pricey legal or financial penalties.

Loan analysts monitor changes in the lending industry and determine if loan applicants are suitably managing their finances.  

A mix of education, experience, and abilities is normally needed to become a loan analyst. The following general specifications:


  • An undergraduate degree in finance, accounting, business, economics, or a comparable discipline
  • Some employers could need a master’s degree in an associated field.


  • Banking or financial experience, preferably in lending or credit analysis
  • Strong knowledge of lending standards and laws
  • Knowledge of risk management, credit underwriting, and financial analysis
  • Working knowledge of loan documents and loan servicing
  • Outstanding analytical and critical thinking abilities
  • Being able to assess financial accounts and credit reports
  • Ability to pay close attention and spot inaccuracies and differences
  • Excellent communication abilities, both written and spoken 
  • Excellent organizational abilities and the capacity to manage numerous activities at once
  • Understanding of spreadsheets, databases, and financial analysis software 


Some organizations could need additional qualifications and certificates for these fundamental necessities. For instance, knowledge of particular markets or industries, such as financing small businesses or commercial real estate, may be useful. Certification from groups like the Risk Management Association (RMA) or the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) may also be beneficial.

2. Financial analyst

$91,580 is the average yearly salary.

More than just crunching numbers is needed to be a financial analyst in a bank. Analysts use their expertise to track trends, evaluate risks, develop strategies, and suggest investment opportunities.

By following rules and setting long-term objectives, assessing data, and examining financial records to determine overall performance, financial analysts make sure banks make wise judgments.

They must also keep up with market developments and new technological trends that could affect the financial landscape.

Successful financial analysts can anticipate receiving significant pay from their companies in exchange for their knowledge. Financial analysts can earn a good living and impact others’ lives through wise investment decisions.


Most financial analysts have solid academic backgrounds in finance, accounting, economics, or a related subject. For entry-level work, a bachelor’s degree is normally required; however, many financial analysts also possess higher degrees, such as an MBA, an MSF, or the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.


Financial analysts need particular talents and education to succeed in their positions. These consist of the following:

  • Ability to appraise financial risks and possibilities, analyze financial data, and come to well-informed conclusions.
  • Communicating complex financial information to stakeholders, such as clients, senior management, and investors, requires strong communication skills.
  • The capacity to pay strict attention to detail, maintain accuracy, and prepare reports when studying financial data.
  • Technical knowledge: Proficiency in financial modeling, asset valuation strategies, and financial software.
  • Problem-solving abilities: The capacity to recognize, address, and find innovative solutions to complex financial challenges.
  • Collaboration with team members, clients, and stakeholders requires interpersonal skills.

Experience :

Financial analysts often begin their careers at entry-level roles and move up the career ladder as they gain experience. Positions at the entry level could be as a research associate or junior analyst. Professionals such as senior analysts or fund managers may take on more senior roles as they gain experience. Working in allied fields, such as investment banking, corporate finance, or consulting, is another way that many financial analysts pick up experience. Building a successful career as a financial analyst also requires developing a strong network and remaining current with industry advancements.

Also, read: Is Real Estate a Good Career Path in 2023?

3. Investment banker 

$124,020 annually is the average salary.

For their experience and knowledge, investment bankers are compensated well. They have a lot of expertise in markets and assets that can help produce significant returns.

Education :

As an investment banker, you must have a solid academic background in finance, accounting, economics, or a related subject. Entry-level roles normally call for a bachelor’s degree. Still, many investment bankers also hold additional degrees like a master’s in business administration (MBA), a master’s in finance (MSF), or the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Skills :

Investment bankers need particular talents to succeed in their positions in addition to a degree. A few of these include

  • The capacity to assess financial risks and possibilities and to make deft decisions through the analysis of financial data.
  • Communication abilities: The capacity to explain intricate financial facts to various stakeholders, such as customers, senior management, and investors.
  • Attention to detail: The capacity to focus intently on minute details and guarantee correctness when examining financial data and creating reports.
  • Technical knowledge: Proficiency in financial software tools, valuation methods, and modeling.
  • The capacity to negotiate contracts and agreements with customers, investors, and other stakeholders.
  • Ability to promote and sell clients on investment banking services.


Investment bankers often begin their careers at entry-level roles and move up the career ladder as they gain experience. Positions at the entry-level could be as an analyst or associates. Professionals may take on more senior roles, such as vice president or managing director, as they gain experience. Before entering the field of investment banking, many investment bankers get experience by working in similar fields like corporate finance or consulting. Building a successful career as an investment banker also requires networking and developing contacts with clients and other experts in the field.

4. Portfolio manager 

$131,710  annually is the average salary

To succeed, a Portfolio Manager must have a high degree of experience, apply sound judgment, and have strong analytical skills. The typical annual income for this position is roughly $131,710.

The duties of a portfolio manager include devising investment strategies, monitoring markets, analyzing data, and developing customer investment plans. They also create diverse growth strategies with other financial experts, such as investment bankers and credit analysts.

5. A budget analyst

 $78,970  annually is the average salary. 

The banking industry relies heavily on budget analysts. They are responsible for developing innovative ways to reduce expenses and boost productivity. In addition to being able to handle vast amounts of data, budget analysts must be familiar with corporate finance.

The position pays well and calls for proficiency and work history in the industry.

6. Chief financial officer 

  $98,980 annually is the average salary

Excellence in the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) position is highly valued. The abilities and expertise required for this function are gained by prior experience working in higher leadership positions or overseeing an organization’s financial responsibilities.

CFOs are well-paid because they oversee an organization’s cash flow, financial planning, and strategic direction.

Becoming a bank CFO requires training, experience, and knowledge of the intricacies of banking regulations. Thus, it is no easy task. CFOs can benefit from a competitive income and exciting chances for professional progression, though job growth is expected to increase by 8% between 2020 and 2030. 

7. Financial manager 

$131,710 annually is the average salary.

In the financial sector, financial managers are the captains who chart a company’s future and steer it through difficult economic times. To maximize assets while ensuring solid financial decisions are being made, these people are crucial to major institutions worldwide.

Financial managers find chances for cost savings and suggest budgeting modifications to support the success of their companies through thorough market analysis and investigation of other financial records. Financial managers are paid extremely well in large banks due to their vital position.

The Work-Life Balance of Commercial Banking 

Work-life balance in commercial banking can vary depending on the profession and the institution. For individuals in higher-level roles like executives, managers, or investment bankers, commercial banking can be a hard profession with long hours.

Professionals in commercial banking are often expected to put in 40 to 60 hours per week, although it’s common for them to put in more time during hectic times like quarter- or year-end closing. However, many banks also provide their staff members perks like paid time off, vacations, and flexible scheduling.

Work-life balance has received more attention in recent years, and some commercial banks have introduced policies to assist their staff in striking a better balance between work and personal life. These initiatives include telecommuting, flexible work hours, and paid parental leave.

Overall, work-life balance in commercial banking might vary, but a good balance can be found with the correct employer, work schedule, and time management abilities.

What is the Best Degree for Commercial Banking? 

Banking and finance bachelor’s degree 

Banking professionals come from various educational backgrounds, finance being one of the most common. Business, accounting, and economics are three more popular degrees that share many of the same coursework as the previously stated degrees. Regardless of the major, students in these programs receive insightful information about the financial industry while also studying areas in the liberal arts or sciences that will assist round out their grasp of societal and cultural influences that impact banking. Jobs for bachelor graduates include working as auditors, loan officers, financial counselors, or accountants.

Management of Banking and Financial Services Master’s Degree

At the master’s level, students can focus their studies even more intently on banking-related subjects. While associate and bachelor’s degree programs concentrate on the financial industry, master’s level courses will delve into issues directly relevant to individual industry components to give students specialized expertise in the field they desire to work in. These degrees are also excellent possibilities for future professions. Some students may also pursue an MBA specializing in banking or finance. Portfolio manager, investment banker, global financial services consultant, and risk management director are a few positions that a graduate of this kind of education might hold.

See Also: Is Restaurants a Good Career Path in 2023?

The Growth Opportunities in Commercial Banking Industry

 In the fiercely competitive field of commercial banking, there are numerous chances for professional development. The following list of commercial banking promotions, pay raises, and openings for management or executive positions:

Promotions: In commercial banking, promotions frequently happen due to merit and accomplishment. Customer service agents and tellers are examples of entry-level employment. Employees may advance to jobs like personal bankers or branch managers as they gather expertise. Positions like a regional manager, executive vice president, or chief financial officer are possible future advancements.

Salary Increase: As people advance in their professions and assume more responsibility, they can anticipate salary increases. The average yearly wage for a commercial banker in the United States is roughly $73,000, according to PayScale, with wages varying from $41,000 to $134,000 annually, depending on experience, geography, and job title.

Opportunities to Advance into Executive or Management Positions: There are various ways for people to advance into executive or management roles in commercial banking. These jobs frequently require a wealth of experience and a proven track record of achievement. Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Risk Officer, and Chief Credit Officer are some common executive or managerial positions in commercial banking.

The Potential Compensation and Benefits Packages in the Commercial Banking Industry

Depending on the position and amount of expertise, compensation and benefits in the commercial banking sector vary. However, commercial banking generally provides attractive compensation, incentives, and benefits.

Commercial banking pays more than other businesses, especially for entry-level and mid-level professions. The median annual income for financial analysts, a frequent position in commercial banking, was $83,660, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, versus a median annual wage of $41,950 for all occupations.

Commercial banking frequently provides bonuses, other incentives, and base wages to keep the best employees. These incentives can be considerable, particularly for those in managerial or revenue-generating areas.

Health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off are frequently included in benefits packages in commercial banking. Other benefits many banks offer include wellness initiatives, employee aid programs, and tuition reimbursement.

Commercial banking typically offers competitive benefits and salary packages compared to other businesses. However, industry sectors like technology and healthcare might pay more and provide better benefits. It’s crucial to remember that a certain employer’s pay and benefits will vary depending on various circumstances, including the company’s size, location, and financial standing.


Is commercial banking easy?

Commercial banking is a complex industry that requires specialized knowledge, analytical skills, and attention to detail. While some aspects of the job may come naturally to some individuals, it is not considered an easy profession.

How stressful is commercial banking?

Commercial banking can be high-stress, with long hours and a fast-paced work environment. There is pressure to meet performance targets, manage risk, and meet regulatory requirements. However, job satisfaction and stress levels can vary depending on the role and organization.

Do commercial banks make money?

Commercial banks earn interest on loans and investments, charge fees for various services, and leverage their deposits to create new loans. They also generate revenue through foreign exchange trading, investment banking, and other financial services.


Although the commercial banking industry can be very competitive and challenging,  commercial banking is a good career path if you love money and numbers. Don’t let the challenges hinder you from taking up commercial banking as a career option because they have advantages and disadvantages, just like every other career. Nothing good comes easy. Furthermore, a career in commercial banking can boost your 401k and become more profitable as you advance in knowledge, skills, and experiences.



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