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Commercial Banker Career

How to Become a Commercial Banker

If you’re interested in a high-paying job with excellent opportunities for advancement, then a career in commercial banking can be a great choice. Commercial bankers work in dynamic, consumer-facing environments and use their marketing skills to attract new business and maintain strong relationships with current clients. Commercial bankers, also known as business bankers or institutional bankers, work in banks or similar financial institutions to help clients with a wide range of services. They may accept deposits, grant loans, handle foreign currency exchange, and act as financial mediators between individuals, businesses, and government agencies. 

Commercial banking can be a lucrative field that offers several career paths for those interested in the industry. Entry-level roles and a university degree in a relevant field can be a springboard for entering commercial banking and can create opportunities for higher paying management or leadership positions. More senior-level roles in commercial banking include those of vice president, credit analyst, or underwriter. 

Generally, a career in financial services means having to stay informed about the rapidly evolving economic landscape. Commercial bankers keep up with trends and developments in order for the financial institutions they work for to remain competitive and predict future economic conditions for any number of variables. Continue reading for an overview of how to become a commercial banker and the benefits of pursuing this exciting career.

What Is a Commercial Banker?

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Commercial bankers are financial professionals that work in client-facing roles, specifically assisting medium- to large-sized businesses. Professionals in commercial banking may be sales-focused, serve as relationship managers, or work in supporting roles as analysts or associates. Through their knowledge and expertise, commercial bankers offer banking solutions and advice about common types of banking products and services, including cash management, credit to support working capital and capital investment, treasury and payment services, and financial planning. 

What Does a Commercial Banker Do?

The typical day-to-day responsibilities of a commercial banker can involve tasks ranging from administration to marketing and communication. Some of the common daily duties include: 

  • Connecting clients with lenders.
  • Developing, negotiating, and closing commercial loans. 
  • Managing corporate, government, or institutional accounts. 
  • Marketing their bank to attract new clients. 
  • Offering financial advice tailored to each client's specific needs. 
  • Supplying credit products, such as term loans, cash management services, syndicated facilities, and revolving lines of credit.
  • Issuing deposit products, such as checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and money market accounts.
  • Providing business development services such as brand development, financial planning, product development, and marketing.
  • Providing lending services, such as commercial real estate lending, equipment financing, and working capital for businesses.
  • Delivering specialized services for certain businesses or industries, such as aircraft lending, investment real estate lending, or auto dealer services.
  • Providing treasury management services such as disbursement, fraud prevention, and fund collection.

How Do I Become a Commercial Banker?

Learning about commercial banks is key for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the field. Commercial bankers are typically required to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, communications, or another related field, as well as have some work experience in the financial services industry. 

Some financial institutions may offer internships so that prospective employees may learn the hard and soft skills required to succeed in the industry, as well as how to abide by U.S. banking regulations. 

Pursuing a postgraduate degree in disciplines such as accounting, economics, business administration, or statistics can lead to better opportunities and higher pay for those already working in commercial banking or can help you begin your career in an advanced position. Consider pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Accounting degree to work at any of the top financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. 

Once an individual has completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree program from an accredited university, graduates may obtain licensure as a certified public accountant (CPA) or mortgage loan originator (MLO). Doing so can broaden advancement opportunities for those already working in commercial banking.  Once you’ve completed any of these steps, you’re ready to apply for jobs that match your goals of becoming a successful commercial banker. 

Best Degrees for a Commercial Banker

Accounting – B.S. Business Administration

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?...

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?...

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?

  • Time: 62% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Accounting manager
  • Financial director
  • Vice president of finance and operations
  • Chief financial officer
  • Forensic accountant

Take your first step toward CPA certification and learn how to use GAAP, ledgers, and journals.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

Finance – B.S.

This online finance program is career-focused so you will gain...

This online finance program is career-focused so...

This online finance program is career-focused so you will gain relevant industry skills.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish similar programs within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Financial analyst
  • Finance director 
  • Investment banker
  • Insurance agent
  • Accountant

The competency-based model at WGU allows you to move as quickly as you can master the material, and do your coursework on your schedule. Flexibility is key with the B.S. in finance at WGU.

Accounting – M.S.

Become better qualified to pursue a greater variety of public...

Become better qualified to pursue a greater...

Become better qualified to pursue a greater variety of public and private accounting positions:

  • Time: 76% of grads finish within 24 months.
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Accountant
  • Accounting manager
  • Internal audit manager
  • Senior accountant
  • Other specialized finance roles

This MAcc program is designed to prepare you for the CPA exam and also the CMA or CIA exams.

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What Skills Does a Financial Manager Need?

An accountant types into a 9-key with graphs and charts strewn about her desk.

As financial services professionals, commercial bankers specialize in offering banking solutions for mid- to –large-sized businesses with moderately complex needs. As a result, banks look to employ individuals with specific skills, including: 

  • Problem-solving 
  • Attention to detail 
  • Diligence 
  • Focus 
  • Ability to work autonomously
  • Effective written and oral communication 
  • Computer and technology literacy 
  • Knowledge of accounting fundamentals 
  • Knowledge of sales and marketing principles

How Much Does a Commercial Banker Make?


In the U.S., commercial bankers earn an average salary of $104,981. However, compensation varies based on experience and the overall profitability of the financial institution an individual works for. As with any other career, average pay can also vary depending on the city where you’re employed. For instance, commercial bankers living in San Francisco earn $157,632, or 50% above the national average.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


Commercial banking offers great opportunities for career seekers in the financial services industry. According to industry experts, commercial banking in the U.S. is ranked first in terms of employment in finance and insurance, with the average commercial banking business employing more workers year after year.

Where Does a Commercial Banker Work?


Commercial bankers are employed at banks, credit unions, and private lending institutions. Many commercial bankers also work closely with business banking and corporate banking teams to transition customers as their needs grow. 

Interested in Becoming a Commercial Banker?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this lucrative career.

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