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There are many different jobs within banks and credit unions. Tellers are usually the first point of contact in the bank. They greet you, welcoming you into the branch, and take care of business and personal transactions. A personal banker can usually perform the duties of a teller, but he or she also opens and maintains deposit and loan accounts for clients.
What is a Personal Banker?
A personal banker handles maintenance for clients. Let’s say you need to request a stop payment on a book of checks that you’ve misplaced. A personal banker can help you with that transaction.
Other duties include (but are not limited to):
- Opening checking and savings accounts
- Identifying cross-selling opportunities with each and every client and prospective client
- Submitting consumer loan applications (auto loans, personal loans, home equity loans, CD-secured loans, etc)
- Closing and funding consumer loans
- Referring existing clients to business partners, such as merchant services, mortgage, and financial advisors to strengthen the relationship within the bank
- Cold calling existing clients to offer promotions or upgrades to their banking products
The personal banker is one of the most important jobs within the bank, yet it might surprise you to find out how little they earn.
Personal Banker Salary
According to GlassDoor, the average personal banker salary in the United States is just $40,040 per year. This amounts to just $19.25 per hour. Most financial institutions offer much less starting out.
When I left Wells Fargo 10 years ago to start my real estate business, I was making $36,275 per year plus bonuses, averaging $40k per year.
As you can see, there has been no growth of income in the industry in the last decade. But don’t let that deter you.
Personal Banker Bonuses and Commission
Bankers are responsible for selling products and services to clients. The more a banker can grow a branch’s portfolio, the more profitable the bank is.
Commissions, or bonuses, are earned based on each bank or credit union’s incentive plan.
Some banks award based on number of new accounts, profit points (earned for each product or service sold), and referrals to business partners.
Others offer a flat commission for a sale. A bank might offer $25 per credit card sold during the month of March, for instance.
There is an incentive cap, though, so income is still limited.
What is a Licensed Personal Banker?
Some banks are starting to license their personal bankers. They pay all of the fees for their bankers to become licensed to sell fixed annuities in life insurance.
My husband began his banking career years ago, and Wells Fargo put him through licensing which grew his career immensely. He obtained the FINRA Series 6, Series 63, Series 26, Life, Retirement, and P&C licenses and now works for a large insurance company as an internal wholesaler.
How to Become a Licensed Banker
Becoming licensed as a personal banker is a great way to strengthen your resume and grow your career in the long-term. You must have a sponsor in order to become licensed to sell investment products, such as life insurance, annuities, mutual funds, etc.
If you are currently employed at a financial institution, ask if they are open to sponsoring you to obtain your licenses. Many banks will only pay for life licenses for bankers because they have financial advisors (with much more experience and FINRA series 7 license) to take care of private wealth clients.
Any licensing you can get will strengthen your resume and grow your knowledge and expertise in the financial industry.
Don’t Expect an Increase for Cost of Living or Inflation
In 2021, Panera Bread is paying $15 per hour, plus tips, to 16-year olds. Ten years ago, that number was closer to $7/ hour. So why are financial institutions and other professional organizations failing to increase pay with cost of living and inflation?
Banks and credit unions are certainly profitable, so it isn’t about money. Loans are plentiful. If you get hired for a personal banker position, ask for at least $40,000/year. Cite the Glassdoor article referenced above and note that with your experience and skills, you will grow the branch’s portfolio, but note that the personal banker job is a stepping stone to future professional development and career growth.
Personal Banker Career Path
The personal banker career path can go many different directions. Here are a few examples:
- Personal Banker
- Small Business Banker
- Assistant Branch Manager
- Branch Manager
- AVP – Lending
- Credit Analyst
- Commercial Banker
- Private Wealth
- Indirect Lending (Auto Dealerships)
Are you looking into the personal banker career path? What questions do you have? I’d love to help support you!
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