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How to Become a Bank Manager

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How to Become a Bank Manager. A bank manager is responsible for all aspects of a branch bank: managing the banking team, increasing sales of financial products like loans; and attracting new customers. Salaries range from $40,000 to $80,000 per year, depending on the location. It’s a good job, but it’s not for everybody. To be successful, you’ll need to combine people skills with financial know-how. And to get the job, you’ll need to first acquire the appropriate skills and experience, establish yourself in the banking industry, and build a professional network.

Deciding to Become a Bank Manager

Know what a bank manager does. 

The main tasks of a manager are: 1) to promote the bank in the community in order to attract business; 2) to hire and train personnel; 3) to set sales and lending goals; 4) to pass on information from higher ups (regional managers or vice presidents) such as lending standards or particular products to be marketed; and 5) to report the branch’s performance to higher ups. CVTips offers this as a typical daily schedule for a bank manager:

  • 8AM: Daily staff and management meeting.
  • 8:30AM: Office correspondence and administration.
  • 9AM Meeting with local business regarding loan.
  • 9:12AM: IT systems problems.
  • 10AM: Customer complaint meeting with clients.
  • 10:30AM: Office correspondence and administration.
  • 10:45AM: Mortgage rescheduling meeting.
  • 11:30AM: Auditors committee meeting regarding major delinquent accounts.
  • 1PM: Lunch.
  • 1:10PM Client demands to see the manager.
  • 2PM Meeting with debt collection agency manager.
  • 3-5PM: Loans approvals with six clients.
  • 5-6PM: Office correspondence and administration.

Consider if you have the personality to be an effective bank manager. 

To be a good bank manager, you will need to be adept with numbers and finance, but even more importantly a “people person”, since the main job of a manager is to promote and sustain positive relationships with customers and staff.

Be aware of the career path for bank managers.

The average bank manager make about $50,000 a year, with beginning managers making closer to $40,000, though these number do vary by region. The next career step is to become a vice president and branch manager, then a regional manager.

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  • A vice president and bank manager makes an average of $67,000 annually.
  • Regional managers make $106,000 per year on average.
  • Regional presidents, in charge of all branches in a given area, make an average of $176,000 annually.

Obtaining the Necessary Qualifications and Skills

Get a college degree.

A degree in finance, accounting, business administration or a related field is required at almost all banks. While in college, you will want to complete courses in business, finance, economics, accounting, marketing, and communications in order to best position yourself for the job. Attractive candidates will also have an MBA in finance or accounting; indeed, some banks require them

Complete extra course work.

Doing specialized course work covering various regulations or aspects of banking can improve your chances of being hired as a manager and lead to faster promotion. You can complete coursework through professional banking associations:

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  • The Banking Administration Institute offers online courses covering particular regulations, as well as certificates in auditing, risk assessment (reviewing and approving loans), and anti-money laundering.
  • The Mortgage Bankers Association offers classroom and online courses covering all aspects of residential and commercial mortgage lending, as well as certificates in residential underwriting, loan origination and servicing, and commercial servicing, and the prestigious Certified Mortgage Banker designation.
  • The American Bankers Association, which caters in particular to small hometown banks, offers online courses leading to a branch manager certificate

Work in a bank.

To become a manager, you will typically need at least 2 years of experience, and preferably 5. You can start in college with internships or part-time jobs to gain experience. Many future managers begin working as loan officers or in accounting before moving up to assistant manager, then manager.

Acquire the necessary skills.

Because bank managers are in charge of all aspects of a bank, they will need a broad set of skill and knowledge.

  • Detailed knowledge of the financial and banking sector, particularly in the areas of personal loans, commercial loans, and mortgages.
  • Knowledge of the latest rules and laws governing the banking sector.
  • An understanding of marketing and sales techniques.
  • The interpersonal skills needed to hire, train, and manage employees.
  • The ability to deal with customers with tact and confidentiality.

Getting the Job

Work your way up through the ranks.

Bank manager is not an entry-level job. One of the most common paths is to work your way up through multiple jobs at a branch, giving you a feel for how the bank operates. Any position within a bank can eventually lead to your becoming a manager, though being a leader in loan generation will put you in a particularly good place to apply for the job.

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  • Keep track of your career successes and how you benefit the company, as these will come in handy when asking your boss for a promotion later on.

Enter a manager training program.

Many banks have training programs for students just out of college or for people transitioning from another career. These programs typically provide training and place you in a given track within the bank, such as finance and accounting, corporate banking, retail banking, or mortgage banking. Continuing education is provided and after a few years, you can apply for a management position.

Network with other bankers. 

If you don’t want to wait until the manager of your bank retires, you’ll want to network with other bankers in your area, particularly those in our same company if you work for a large bank. That way, when a position comes up, the people doing the hiring will think of you.

  • Join a professional network like the Career Banker Association or the Bank Administration Institute.
  • Use career development courses to learn, but also to make contacts.
  • Attend civic events like the opera, speeches, or balls.
  • Tap into your alumni network and attend alumni events.
  • Choose an important local non-profit to get involved with and use it as a means to connect with both the community and possible contacts.

Get the most out of your network.

Simply handing out and gathering up business cards at these functions isn’t enough. To get the most out of your contacts, you’ll have to cultivate them:

  • Keep a list. Make a spreadsheet with the contact info of people you respect and would want to work with professionally in the future. Depth is more important than breadth. Save these spots for people who want to help you as much as you want to help them.
  • Schedule follow-up. Put entries in your calendar reminding you to follow up with contacts every two or three months. Ask them how they are doing, and if you can help out in any way. Being helpful is the best way to cultivate contacts.
  • Stay in touch in other ways. Pass along blogs or news stories you think your contacts would like. Connect to them on LinkedIn and keep track of their status. If they are promoted, congratulate them. If they are laid off, offer support. If you have a recreational activity in common, send them articles about it. Thank them if you take their advice and it helps

Keep an eye on the job banks.

Ideally, your network will alert you of any jobs opening up, but to make sure you have all your bases covered, you should also check the job banks regularly or set up an alert to notify you when jobs of interest come up. The best job banks can be found on sites that cater specifically to the banking industry, like American Bankers Association or the Bank Administration Institute.

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