Major banks are considered a good career path because of the diverse job opportunities available in this industry. Working at major banks is one of the best ways to ensure job security and stability in a banking career. In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of working with major banks, who can go for them, the top jobs available, and the companies hiring.
Pros and cons of major banks as a career path
Working in the banking industry has advantages and disadvantages to be aware of before making this career choice.
Pros of working in major banks
- Job security. Whether you're looking for an entry-level opportunity or just want to change careers, major banks provide a great opportunity to maintain a steady income. There is a wide range of needs within major banks, meaning many opportunities to get a job in this field.
- Competitive salaries. Bank jobs generally come with good compensation. With a banking job, you can be sure of a steady source of income with high salaries. Depending on the job, you can earn upward of $30,000 in an entry-level role. Many higher-level jobs provide salaries of over $150,000.
- Career advancement opportunities. Major banks often have clear paths for promotion since these large organizations have different departments where employees can gain experience in multiple aspects of the business. And since the banking industry and financial markets are always changing, there are always new projects and challenges to help you grow your career.
Cons of working in major banks
- Highly competitive work environment. The banking industry attracts many talented and ambitious job seekers competing for positions. And since the industry demands a high level of skills, qualifications, and experience, that competition can be tough.
- Extended working hours. Since banks often work in global markets, some require long hours working in time zones outside of a typical nine-to-five. Banks can also have strict deadlines and high-pressure situations requiring additional hours to meet client demands.
- High pressure. Working with large sums of money can be stressful. It’s a huge responsibility that comes with considerable pressure to always be accurate.
Who should consider a career in major banks?
Despite their cons, major banks have exciting advantages that make the stress worth it. However, working in a major bank is easier if you are interested in finance. It becomes possible to cope with the competition and long working hours when dealing with something that interests you.
Key skills for a career in major banks
Here are some of the skills that can make for a successful career in the banking sector:
- Problem-solving. Working in major banks requires you to think fast and solve problems as they come, so you must hone your critical thinking and analytical skills. You may need to help solve customers’ problems or handle complex financial issues on a daily basis.
- Communication and interpersonal skills. Given you may have to work with others in a team and communicate with company stakeholders, good people skills and a knack for clear communication will go a long way.
- Willingness to learn new things. The banking industry is constantly evolving, and employees must adapt to changes in technology, regulations, and market trends. Banks also tend to offer services in related fields, such as investment banking, wealth management, and corporate finance, so being open to learning new skills might be necessary to advance your career.
- Knowledge/interest in accounting and finance. Understanding accounting and financial services principles is crucial to accurately handle funds and maintain financial records. This skill set will allow you to effectively communicate and collaborate with your clients, colleagues, and company stakeholders in the banking industry, which is typical of most banking jobs.
Top major banks jobs right now
Many job opportunities are available in major banks, ranging from entry-level positions to executive positions. Each of these career options has different requirements, depending on the skills needed to do the job well.
1. Bank teller
A bank teller operates in all banking sectors, including retail and commercial. Their primary role is to cash customer checks and assist with funds withdrawals and deposits. The bank teller answers the customer's questions and provides assistance regarding their accounts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), bank tellers typically earn between $28,000 and $46,000 annually.
The bank teller directly works with customers most of the time, so they must have good people skills to aid in customer relations.
2. Loan officer
A loan officer's job is to assist customers in finding and qualifying for loans through underwriting. They research different loan options available to customers and handle the loan application paperwork and processing.
This role’s median annual salary is $63,000. A loan officer's job requires them to assess their clients’ financial situations and decide if it would be feasible to approve loans for them. They need a basic understanding of finance and accounting, as well as critical thinking and data analysis skills.
Accountants earn a median salary of $78,000. They are in charge of bookkeeping within most organizations and banks, so they need a deep knowledge of finance and accounting. This is one of those jobs that cut across most sectors, but it’s a significant aspect of the banking sector.
Accountants review financial documents to ensure they are complete and compare figures to find errors. Accountants also handle tax reports to ensure organizations’ compliance with local and federal laws. They need a good understanding of finance to explain financial terms and processes to their clients and company stakeholders. They must also translate complicated financial statements, making communication a key skill for this role.
4. Portfolio manager
With a median yearly salary of $131,000, the primary job of a portfolio manager is to manage and organize a client's portfolio of investments and assets.
A portfolio manager must also conduct research to choose sound investments for their clients to add to their portfolios. They analyze potential risks, create investment strategies, conduct risk management, and offer client consultations when they want to make new investment decisions. The portfolio manager monitors investment changes and informs clients on economic conditions affecting the value of their assets and investments in real time.
An auditor reviews financial and tax records to ensure reporting accuracy and to confirm companies adhere to financial rules and regulations. They earn around $79,000 per year. Some auditors work as external contractors, but some companies also have auditors on their payroll. They often handle financial reporting and documentation, advising companies on how to streamline these processes.
An underwriter's job mainly involves risk management and assessment in written contracts. They’ll often conduct a financial analysis for investment banks to determine risks in contracts, business arrangements, or potential investments. Overall, an underwriter is likely to earn around $83,000 per year.
Some people hire underwriting assistants to determine whether their company is eligible for certain loans or insurance. An underwriting assistant role can be a great entry-level job option for those interested in finance. Their duties include data entry, fact-checking, analysis, and administrative responsibilities.
7. Budget analyst
A budget analyst oversees clients’ budgetary requirements, making this a financial manager role of sorts. They help clients create budgets and financial reports while ensuring they’re prepared to face potential financial challenges.
They might create budgets for different departments within a company and help employees monitor their spending according to budgetary requirements. Many budget analysts earn around $88,000 per year.
8. Investment banker
Investment bankers work in corporate finance, often focusing on mergers and acquisitions, checking contracts, and helping clients make good choices. They also help clients find investment opportunities and handle their overall investments. This role is best for people who like finance and love working with numbers and solving problems. They need good attention to detail, the ability to understand complex financial information, and knowledge of market trends. It's also important to be good at communicating and working with others, as they often help clients and work in teams. They earn close to $84,000 a year, on average.
9. Chief financial officer
Also called a CFO, this person oversees an organization's finances. In major banks, the CFO takes care of financial operations and develops budgeting and investment strategies to ensure the institution’s longevity. The CFO directs all other financial stakeholders in the bank to ensure their operations do not contradict. They also oversee and manage financial decisions, cash flow, and how these things affect a bank's operations. This role requires at least a bachelor’s degree. A new CFO could earn up to $90,000 per year, while one with a few years of experience can earn well over $100,000.
Top 6 banks to work for
Those looking to start a career in the banking sector have many major banks to choose from. We’ve narrowed it down to the top six.
1. JPMorgan Chase
This bank dates back to before 1800 and has gone by several names before becoming JPMorgan Chase in 2004. Chase has assets worth over $3.3 trillion and caters to more than 60 million households in the U.S. It also has over 16,000 ATMs and is accessible online.
2. Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the top banks in the United States, dating back to 1904 and remaining at the top of the banking sector ever since. It is famous for its impressive wealth management portfolio and is currently the biggest banking company in America. It is also one of the biggest in the world: In 2022, its assets totaled about $2.4 trillion, with over 212,000 employees worldwide. Bank of America offers ATM services, investment consultations, and other common banking services.
Citigroup has its headquarters in New York City, where it holds a place as one of the largest commercial banks in North America. It is the largest bank worldwide, with $1.71 trillion in assets in 2022.
Citigroup has over 2,000 branches in all 50 states, with international offices all over the globe. Citigroup doesn't have a credit card business of its own. Instead, it partners with other financial institutions for these services, including mortgage businesses.
4. Wells Fargo
This financial services company was founded in 1852 and is now headquartered in San Francisco, California. It offers a wide range of products and services in the United States and internationally through commercial banking, consumer banking and lending, corporate and investment banking, and wealth and investment management. Wells Fargo had around 27,000 employees in 2021.
5. U.S. Bancorp
Founded in 1929, U.S. Bancorp's assets rank among the five largest banks in America today. It has 41 branches operating in 15 states and Washington, D.C. It offers checking accounts, cash management accounts, mortgage services, and home loans. U.S. Bancorp currently employs around 70,000 people.
6. Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs is an international firm created in 1869 and based in New York City. It offers banking and investment management services. By 2022, Goldman Sachs had $501.92 billion worth of assets. Its clients include corporations, families, and people needing investment assistance. Goldman Sachs has career opportunities in investment banking, sales and trading, asset management, risk management, research, and much more.
Land your dream job at a major bank
Major banks control most of the financial operations that take place both nationally and globally. They have a diverse customer base that requires different kinds of services. Working with a major bank could be an excellent way to kickstart your banking career, leading to some of the best-paying jobs in the industry.
Though they may pose challenges at first, there are many career opportunities in the banking sector. Major banks have competitive salaries and networking opportunities that compensate for the demands of the financial industry. Join Handshake today and see which major banks are looking for you!