Personal bankers must be personable, reliable and organized. They also must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Not all employers require a formal education, but many prefer personal bankers to have college-level coursework. An associate's degree in finance or economics can usually meet the educational needs of a personal banker or loan officer. Licensure is only required for personal bankers who perform mortgage lending duties and voluntary certification is available from the American Bankers Association (ABA).
Associate of Science in Finance and Banking
An associate's degree in finance and banking is an ideal degree for personal banking professionals. A 2-year finance associate's degree program teaches students accounting methods, principles of economics and business finance operations. Students learn to examine business and personal finances with strategic financial and accounting analyses. Common finance and banking courses include:
- Financial accounting
- Macroeconomics and microeconomics
- Business law
- Managerial accounting
- Financial management
- Investments and insurance
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that financial analysts made a mean annual wage of $95,320 as of May 2015. From 2014-2024, the employment for these analysts is expected to grow 12%, which is faster than average. Personal financial advisers, as of May 2015, made a mean annual wage of $118,050. The employment for this career from 2014-2024 is expected to grow 30%, according to the BLS.
Most personal bankers are not required to be licensed or certified. However, personal bankers and loan officers that deal with mortgage loans and real estate lending must obtain federal licensure. To become a licensed mortgage loan officer, personal bankers must complete 20 hours of coursework, pass a comprehensive banking exam and complete a thorough background check. To remain licensed, mortgage loan officers must complete occasional continuing education courses in finance and banking. The ABA offers several voluntary certifications through its Institute of Certified Bankers (ICB). The ICB offers certification for mortgage and commercial lending, retail bank management, risk management and wealth management. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) certifies qualified mortgage bankers and loan officers as Certified Mortgage Bankers (CMBs) after bankers obtain three years of experience, complete banking coursework and pass a banking and finance exam.
The ABA offers numerous workshops, seminars, training sessions and forums each year. The ABA offers in-bank training workshops, as well as networking and informational conferences for personal bankers, loan offices and bank managers. Conferences usually have a specific focus, such as risk management, financial marketing and human resources management. The ABA provides flexible online training programs and courses.
Personal bankers must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Because personal bankers work directly with clients, they must be able to organize and present financial information with clarity and accuracy. Improved technology in the banking industry requires personal bankers to be comfortable with Microsoft Office programs and various lending and insurance programs. Personal bankers must also have solid communications skills in order to persuade clients to make sound financial decisions.
Students interested in a career in finance may want to consider an Associate of Science in Finance and Banking program. This program combines accounting, economics, and business finance to prepare students for their future careers.