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"Working In Banking Made Me Really Good At Math...
Banking is more interesting than I thought it would be. I used to be horrible at Math in school but now it comes like a second nature to me. I can calculate things very quickly in my head and it all comes from working with numbers daily. So it does surprise me that I am working in Banking when I used to be so horrible at Math but now I love it." (Account Specialist; 2013)
"Turnover Is High...
In my career as a banker I was surprised with the amount of turn-over in this career. It seems everyone jumps from bank to bank until they either change careers or find a job that they stay in longer than a year or two." (Personal Banker; 2013)
"It's All About Sales...
I am surprised at how much my job revolves around sales. I knew I would have to sell products to people but I did not expect to have to cold call people to drum up business." (Loan Officer; 2013)
"Very Goal-Oriented Industry...
I was very surprised by how goal-driven a job in banking is at this point in time. It was not like this years ago. There is a huge amount of competition in the banking industry and institutions need to know that you can provide them with their share of the market or you will be let go." (Loan Officer; 2013)
"Great Opportunity For Promotions...
Although my career was not in finance, I was surprised that I was able to use my liberal arts degree and rise quickly through the ranks in banking. I was surprised that I could add creativity to my job and my roles included traveling as a customer service trainer." (Assistant Bank Manager/Loan Officer; 2013)
"Loan Officer Career Map...
Loan Officer can be very rewarding. There is a pretty good learning curve and for that reason I would recommend an entry level position that pays a base salary. There is probably a 18 month or more ramp up time before you can make the leap to commission only and increase your earnings. Since the housing crisis, the non-career people have left, and the overall quality of Loan Officers remaining is pretty high. A good loan officer can easily make several hundred thousand dollars per year." (Loan Officer; 2013)
"Small Firms Offer Flexibility...
Working for a small credit union, I had expected to have less flexibility in approving loans. But on the contrary, I have much more freedom to take qualified risks on borrowers." (Loan Officer; 2013)
It's pretty difficult to get a job but as you get it you just enjoy doing this" (Loan Officer; 2013)
"Banking Is Not A Black And White World...
I was really surprised that banking is not a black and white world, there are a lot of gray areas where you have to use your judgment. For instance, if a person brings in a check of $5,000 and wants to deposit it, we may or may not have to place a hold on the check depending on the customer, you generally have to use your judgment instead of black and white rules." (Lead Teller; 2013)
"Primarily Sales And Sales Tactics...
People think of being a loan officer and a banker as being someone who can crunch numbers and help people get better rates. It's really just a sales job and nothing more. We have little to no say on if the loan goes through, but we just need to convince people to finance unnecessary add-ons." (Loan Officer; 2013)
"Subjectivity Not Objectivity...
I was surprised by the level of politics that go into performing audits. I had always thought auditing would be a very cut and dry profession, and have been shocked at how many shades of grey there are and how much of my work is making judgment calls." (Bank Auditor; 2014)
What I was most surprised at was how pleasant it is to work as a banker. I'm sure we have most heard of "bankers hours", but the hours you put in are usually a bit relaxed. It has a lot more to do with customer service, then strenuous number crunching, which I find enjoyable." (Credit Analyst; 2013)
"Money Is King...
I have been surprised at the overall lack of care shown to our customers. Money truly is King, and customer satisfaction and fairness to our customers often goes by the wayside." (Banking Analyst; 2013)
"The Joy Of Job Satisfaction In Banking...
Involved in a banking operations area, you gain experience not only in the many products offered to customers, but you gain experience in working with many types of people from both within and without the industry. Jobs are varied and multiple time cut offs and restraints make a for very few boring days. There is not time to be idle." (Investment Operations Specialist; 2013)
"I was surprised to find out how difficult it was to manage people. Being a boss is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It is much harder than working for someone else. People need so much from their boss and expect so much as well." (Director Of Lending; 2012)
Trust Officer: "The best part of my job is helping clients through difficult financial situations and find the best solutions. The worst part is when clients pass away and dealing with the sad situations." (2011)
Mortgage Underwriter: "The best part of my job is that I get to make peoples' dreams come true. Whether it's purchasing their first home, refinancing to pay for their children's education, or just saving a good chunk of money per month, I am the one who makes that happen. The worst part is that mortgage brokers get frustrated if I don't accept documents, and they often take that frustration out on me. Additionally, it's difficult that the people I am helping never know who I am." (2011)
Mortgage Processor: "The best part of my career is the fact that I am the only person who works on government loans so, for the most part, I get to make my own decisions without worrying about if coworkers agree with me or not. The worst part of my career is dealing with borrowers who are upset that they still have to sign forms even after the mortgage loan has closed and they are already living in their new house. Some of the borrowers get upset or refuse to sign anything and then it's difficult for me to get the loan approved by the government agency." (2011)
Risk Manager: "The best part of the job is when I see an ad on TV or in the newspaper and know that I looked at it and it is correct. At the end of the day I feel like I've done something important for my company. It takes knowledge and practice to know the advertising rules well and to make very few mistakes. It's very interesting and rewarding to know that not everyone can do this work well." (2011)
Commercial Loan Officer: "The worst part of being a commercial loan officer is the pressure of having to reach an annual goal. Each year the number must be met or there is the chance of losing your job. If you exceed your goal by too much, then there is a chance that the Bank will increase your goal the following year. The best part of my job is interacting with clients, and trying to meet their needs. Each business is unique, and it is truly an art to balance what they want with meeting the bank's internal underwriting standards." (2011)
Bank Lender: "The best part of my job is getting to work with successful business people. It can be inspirational and motivational. Every individual that is successful does it in a different way. The worst part of my job is telling someone no they can not have a loan from my bank. Rejection is not fun and delivering rejection is no fun either. I prefer to turn people down in person to show that I care about them and their business even though I cannot give them a loan." (2011)
Banking: "Worst part of job: When the economy is down bank clients have a hard time paying us back. It is sad to see clients who have worked very hard to build a company shut it down. Best part: Working with clients that succeed at building a successful company. We gave a client money to build a new plant and they hired 700 workers. Building a business and hiring workers is the greatest thing you can do for the country and I am very happy to be a part of it." (2011)
Banker: "The worst part of this career for me is dealing with hostile customers. A sizable portion of a bank's profits come from fees associated with consumer accounts. This includes interest and account maintenance fees (such as having insufficient funds). When a customer with whom I have built a rapport complains about legitimate fees that I cannot simply erase, it puts me in a rough spot because I depend on these relationships to meet my goals and keep my job. However, my company depends on these fees in order to be profitable enough to employ me." (2011)
Bank Teller: "The best part of my career is helping people when they have problems with their accounts. It can be very stressful to have problems involving your money, so when I can easily solve their problems, they are very grateful. The worst part of my job is dealing with unruly customers. Some people either do not understand or do not care that there are many, many laws that govern what tellers can and cannot do even with a simple transaction. Some people get so offended when you have to ID them or confirm the issuance of a check that they will yell and make a big scene in the middle of the lobby." (2011)
Mortgage Loan Officer: "The best part of my job is that I am my own boss and can do what I want when I want. While having this freedom can be enticing, I work between 50-60 hours a week. As a commissioned salesperson, I only get paid when I sell and close a loan. This career is not for the lazy or undisciplined. To make a good living in this business, you need to close multiple loans a month. There have been times when I went a whole month without closing a loan or receiving a paycheck. Imagine the stress when you have a mortgage to pay, car payments, food to buy, children's activities to pay for... The worst part of my job is the paperwork. Due to all the changes that have taken place in mortgage industry over the past few years, there is a lot more paperwork required." (2011)
Loan Servicing Specialist: "The best part of my job is that it is not routine. There are a few things that need to be done each day, but once the phone rings, it could be a research project that will take several hours. Or it could be helping a customer choose the right payment option to fit their needs. The worst part of the job is having to listen to irate customers who want to blame me for everything they can think of." (2010)
Vice President & Trust Officer: "The best part of my job is that no two days are identical. While reviewing reports is a part of my daily routine, most days bring new challenges. Some days it is only one problem after another, bur other days I have the opportunity to help someone. Recently, a handicapped beneficiary of a trust I administer asked the trust to buy him a house. I enlisted a real estate agent, had the home inspections done, got the electrician, plumber, etc. to fix the house up and got the customer moved in. It was a very rewarding experience." (2010)
Vice-President: "The best part of the job is helping people. Most customers need help in some way, whether it is a delinquency issue or they want to know if their payment has been made. I love problem resolutions. It's interesting working with general ledger accounts, to see how all of the pieces fit. The worst part of the job is when I am unable to resolve a problem." (2009)
Assistant Branch Manager /Local Bank: "The best part of my job is that it is different all the time. Each customer is unique and I have to know how to handle each one individually. One customer is happy and chatty during the transaction. But the next customer might be upset over a problem. So I have to be able to change my reactions to handle each situation appropriately. The worst part is customers who not only are upset, but also tend to take it out on me. Sometimes they can be extremely rude. I have to always take the high road and let them blow off steam. Then after they've yelled, and gotten it out, I can stay calm and try to solve the issue. However, I do like it when I fix their problem and they leave happy. It feels good to be able to make someone happy." (2009)
"Develop Soft Skills...
If you want to be a successful auditor, be sure to develop soft skills, such as consensus building, presentation, and writing skills, as well as technical skills." (Bank Auditor; 2014)
"Loan Officer Path...
This piece of advice is just generally a recommendation to start only in a base pay environment, even though income will be capped at about 35k. It is worth it because it would be unlikely to make that amount in your first year commission only." (Loan Officer; 2013)
"People Skills Are All Important...
Work on you interpersonal skills and learn quickly to overcome your fear of selling to people. Your success depends on learning to sell effectively." (Loan Officer; 2013)
"Locate A Mentor...
Look for a mentor to help show you the ropes. These experienced guides can be found in your office or through volunteer work in the community. Joining the local Chamber of Commerce benefits you and your business." (Assistant Bank Manager/Loan Officer; 2013)
"Flexibility Is Key...
Go in with an open mind, and be willing to learn all you can. Realize that you won't pick up on everything at once, that you will continually learn on the job no matter how many years you have been there. Also, be flexible, and don't get sucked in thinking that things are either right or wrong, there is a grey area." (Lead Teller; 2013)
"Staying Current On News...
Stay on top of business news, especially that related to banking. Clients and competitors will talk about banking current events and it helps to be in the know so that you do not seem like you are not knowledgeable in your field." (Account Specialist; 2013)
"Make Sure To Accept A Management Trainee Position...
One of the most important things you can do to become successful in the banking industry would be to do an internship with a bank while in college. It would also be very helpful to accept a management training position with a bank after graduation. These positions are promoted much more quickly than those that start at the bottom and try to work their way up." (Loan Officer; 2013)
"Research Your Career Path And Chosen Company...
Take your time researching the job your applying for and make sure you know a lot about the company that your going to be working for. Also, talk to people who are working for the company already or who are in that specific career and find out the pros and cons of that career path." (Personal Banker; 2013)
"Accounting Through A Looking Glass...
Be prepared to relearn accounting according to the banking side. Where assets and liabilities trade roles. Just when you thought you had it all figured out." (Investment Operations Specialist; 2013)
"Good Luck At That...
When you begin to work, you have to be as respectful as possible, never contradict your boss" (Loan Officer; 2013)
"Learn The Fundamentals...
Having a good understanding of loan processing is very important to being a loan officer. An internship in loan support roles gives you much-needed insight into the lending process." (Loan Officer; 2013)
The most beneficial career tip I can give is to be resourceful. In banking it is impossible to know everything about every business and every industry. By reading publications (trade journals, news articles, etc.) you can really educate yourself. Additionally, if you don't know a certain term or phrase, don't be afraid to simply write it down and Google it." (Credit Analyst; 2013)
"Find A Good Internship In What You Want To Do...
One of the best things you could do would be to get a good internship and do not try to work your way through college in retail banking. It has given me little experience and through internships you can find resources and people that can help you succeed and find a better analyst position." (Loan Officer; 2013)
"Avoid Branch Banking...
Stay away from branch banking jobs. Branches are dying institutions." (Banking Analyst; 2013)
I would recommend first going to college and studying something in the financial field. While in college, I would recommend getting any type of internship within a financial institution. It could be something extremely simple with low or no pay, but you will be around experienced people that can teach you many things. Also, be sure to build up your resume as much as possible before you graduate from college with related work experience and also charity work. Corporations like well rounded individuals." (Trust Officer; 2011)
"Expect No Gratitude...
The best advice I can give anyone looking into this field is to build your self esteem up as much as you can. You have to know you are right when you are explaining your conditions to the brokers. Secondly the old saying, "give credit where credit is due" doesn't apply here. You will not be thanked or recognized for your hard work, long hours, or missed time with your family. Finally, you need to be as anal as possible. You need to make sure you examine every word on every document that comes across your desk." (Mortgage Underwriter; 2011)
"Language Skills Help Me Land A Job...
My degree is in Humanities with a concentration on English. Part of the reason I was hired was due to my language skills. My advice would be to learn the basics of English grammar and spelling. This is very important when dealing with coworkers, managers and clients. How you represent yourself through correspondence reflects directly on your abilities. Take a public speaking course and learn basic customer service skills. Learn how to use Microsoft Office, including Excel and Powerpoint." (Mortgage Processor; 2011)
"Must Like The Legal Side Of Banking...
To be a successful compliance officer/risk manager you must enjoy working with laws and regulations and have a solid understanding of how a bank operates. My Economics degree helped me a lot, because I learned how to look at a problem and solve it logically,which is important when looking at laws and regulations and trying to apply them in real life. A business degree is also a good base particularly courses in Accounting and Finance." (Risk Manager; 2011)
My first recommendation is to not become a commercial loan officer. It is a very demanding career, and a stressful one at that. If you are going to become a commercial loan officer, it is best that you are a "people person." You will need to rely on a network of contacts (i.e. attorneys, accountants, business owners, etc.) that can refer you business each year. This is very difficult to establish. Also, you will be required to read and understand financial information. I would recommend at least an intermediate level of college accounting courses to receive a thorough understanding of income statements, balance sheets, and the elements of cash flow." (Commercial Loan Officer; 2011)
"Persuasive Communication Helps...
1) You don't have to major in it but it is good to have a few accounting classes in college. 2) Being outgoing and active is important. To be successful you need to build a strong networking group and you can not do that if you are not outgoing. 3) Being a strong communicator through both verbal and written communication is important. It is necessary to get your point across in an convincing and persuasive way" (Bank Lender; 2011)
"Put In The Hours To Succeed...
Stay late and get in early. It may be obvious advise but people do not do it. I cannot stress enough that you have to work hard. You have been babied all your life by your parents, teachers and friends. You will only have yourself if you want to make a lot of money. Learn to work with others as a team. I have to please a lot of different people to get a deal done. Be happy, you cannot sell unless you love life." (Banking; 2011)
"Rejection Is Common...
When pursuing a job in banking be sure that you are comfortable with rejection. Sometimes it takes ten people saying no before someone says yes. If considering a career as a banker because you like finance and working with numbers, think again. This career is all about sales and will not satisfy you if you are more interested in the actual financial operations. Before considering a career as a banker work as many sales jobs as possible. This will give you a chance to see if you really enjoy this type of work." (Banker; 2011)
"Take Heavy Load Of Accounting And Finance Courses...
Anyone who wants to work in banking should take as many accounting and finance classes as they can. They may not seem useful when you are at the bottom of the work ladder, but if you can understand the basics, you won't need to ask for help often and if you are seen as a capable person, you will rise up the ladder quickly. Another tip would be to trust your instincts when assisting customers in the bank. If you believe that someone is lying, slow down and make sure that you're following all the rules and aren't making any exceptions for a reason like, "He's cute." A third piece of advice is don't be afraid to start as a part time employee as companies prefer to hire from within. If you think the only jobs available are beneath you, you will be searching for a job for a long time." (Bank Teller; 2011)
"You Can Eventually Make A Good Living...
Becoming a loan officer is a process and a commitment. You first need to get licensed which requires learning the business. Many companies will help train you if they feel you could be successful. Success takes time and you have to be willing and able to live with a moderate and inconsistent income when you get started. This is true for most commission based occupations. However, if you enjoy what you do and consistently put in the effort then you can earn a very nice income once you develop your business. The mortgage business is also cyclical which means that there are times when it is busy and times when it is slow. Managing your time effectively during both situations is very important." (Mortgage Loan Officer; 2011)
"Take Advantage Of Bank Management Training...
A career in banking can be rewarding. A business degree is a good place to start. Several banks, including the one I work for, have management training programs where you have an opportunity to work in all areas of banking. This is a great overview and allows you to choose the area you feel will be the best fit for you. Once you begin working for the bank, there is an opportunity to broaden your knowledge of banking by taking courses through the bank." (Loan Servicing Specialist; 2010)
"Trusts And Investments Classes...
1. Take a course (or courses) in trusts and investments offered through either the Cannon School or the American Bankers Association, since this work is very specialized. 2. Ask questions! No matter how long you've been in the business there are new things to learn every day. The laws are constantly changing and the work is very dynamic. 3. Consider getting a Certified Financial Planner's license. 4. Be willing to start as an administrative assistant or in the operations department to gather a working knowledge of the business." (Vice President & Trust Officer; 2010)
"Courses To Take...
Get as much education as you can. All types of accounting courses, customer service, leadership, and problem solving courses are a good place to begin. Any finance courses would also be beneficial." (Vice-President; 2009)
"Learn To Communicate Clearly...
I would take accounting courses. Work in a store and learn how to count money and give change correctly. Try volunteering or working in a place that has a lot of different people such as a department store or convenience store. You will learn to deal with people in all situations. You want to be able to speak clearly and use correct grammar. Also take writing courses as you will probably need to compose letters occasionally and you want to be able to write clearly and concisely." (Assistant Branch Manager /Local Bank; 2009)