How to Become a Bank Branch Manager: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a bank branch manager. Learn about the job duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career as a bank branch manager.

Do I Want to Be a Bank Branch Manager?

Bank branch managers oversee the daily operations of a financial institution's satellite offices. These individuals supervise branch workers, including tellers and loan officers, evaluate loan applications and oversee the flow of cash and financial instruments. They also make sure that security and cash-handling procedures are followed.

A branch manager reports to the company's home office on the activities of the branch and may serve as the company's representative in the local business community. These professionals often work in comfortable office settings and maintain a full-time schedule.

Job Requirements

These managers typically need to earn a bachelor's degree in a banking-related major like business administration, finance or accounting. At least five years of prior experience is usually a requirement to work as a bank branch manager. Certification isn't necessary, but may be helpful when finding work. The following table outlines the common requirements to become a bank branch manager.

Common Requirements
Degree Level Bachelor's degree*
Degree Field Accounting, business administration, finance*
Licensure and/or Certification CPA or CFA certifications are optional, but may improve career opportunities
Experience At least five years of experience in financial services***; previous experience as a loan officer, financial analyst or assistant branch manager***
Key Skills Strong accounting, customer service and communication skills**; good judgment and decision-making ability**, involvement in community affairs**, time management**
Computer Skills Accounting software, Microsoft Office***
Technical Skills 10-key calculator**
Additional Requirements Understanding of federal and state regulations regarding financial reporting, extended working hours**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net OnLine, *** job postings (October 2012).

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Individuals interested in becoming bank branch managers need to possess a bachelor's degree in business administration, accounting, finance or a related major, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some employers may require a master's degree. Some universities offer a business administration degree that allows concentrations in areas such as accounting and finance, management and marketing or information systems and operations management.

Step 2: Gain Banking Experience

Commercial banks offer different types of banking services including retail consumer banking, wholesale banking, corporate banking and institutional banking. Retail consumer banking is geared toward personal financial services for individuals and families and is the most familiar type of banking. Because banking experience is a key requirement, individuals at retail banks usually begin their careers as bank tellers, loan officers or mortgage officers before seeking advancement to assistant branch manager or branch manager positions.

Branch manager job postings on in October 2012 showed employers sought applicants with leadership and supervisory experience, a background in community involvement, good knowledge of state and federal banking regulations, an understanding of investment and loan products and excellent customer service skills. Budgeting, organizational and training skills were also desired.

Step 3: Consider a Graduate Degree

Bank branch managers seeking promotion may want pursue a master's degree in finance, economics or a related field of study. These programs allow students to focus on more theoretical studies and research in specializations such as financial analysis and management, risk management or economics. They may also learn more about team management, data analysis, information systems management and strategic management.

A graduate degree may help bank branch managers advance to positions such as regional manager or regional vice president. A regional manager or vice president oversees a group of branch offices for a bank and serves as the executive in charge of growing assets for that group of branches.

Step 4: Seek Professional Credentials

While not required to work as a bank branch manager, earning a professional credential demonstrates your knowledge and skills in certain fields within banking. For example, an individual with a strong accounting background and qualified experience may consider becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Each state administers a CPA exam.

Another professional credential is the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification. The CFP credential, offered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, confirms your expertise in helping people solve their financial problems and meet their financial goals, which often include retirement planning.

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