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Looking for where the money is?

Reprint From Column in Palm Beach Post, Toby Chabon Berger

Looking for where the money is? Take this short true or false quiz to discover if your personal assets, interests, values, and skills add up to a career in banking or finance. True or False Choices:

·      You like to read about banking and finance issues.

·      You want to work with numbers and people.

·      You are seeking a career that gives you opportunities for growth and expansion in many different areas.

·      You like the color green.

If your answers were all true, then a career in banking and finance can produce a wealth of opportunities. Banking and finance careers encompass a wide array of jobs with many different tasks and responsibilities. However they all need to have or acquire good communication skills, use of technology, the ability to analyze issues as a basis for making decisions, good judgment, ethics, and understanding of the global economy.

You have probably noticed that banker’s hours are no longer 9 to 3 p.m. with weekends off. You may be using drive through services and ATM’s instead of cashing checks and you may even be paying bills on line. Technology and Mergers and acquisition in the banking industries has indeed changed the nature of jobs in banking.  But, that doesn’t diminish the need for people.

Keith James, Senior Vice President and area executive of Palm Beach County for Colonial Bank, is enthusiastic about banking and what it can offer to fresh out of school, to career changers, and to those who are returning to the work force. Raymond knows this first hand. He began right out of college as an assistant manager of a small branch bank and has “survived” several mergers and been promoted. After …..years in the business, he attributes his success to being able to step up and take on larger responsibilities. As for technology doing away with jobs in the banking industry, Raymond says, “people are still the brick and mortar of the banking industry. Technology is just an alternate business channel.”

Bank tellers, the typical entry-level position, for high school graduates provide a springboard to higher paying jobs. With initiative, a positive attitude, good interpersonal skills, and the ability to learn, many promotions to the management side exist for those who want to succeed in the industry.

“There are also many sides to the banking business. Retail banking, commercial lending, trust departments and international banking can be very rewarding depending on the career path that you choose,” Raymond said.

Suzanne Holmes, Vice President, Relationship Manager, Wachovia Wealth Management, Palm Beach, started her career as an administrative assistant in a small regional bank in Miami She credits her promotions to continuous learning and will finish the course work to become a Certified Financial Planner in July. Suzanne says, “The financial sector is a strong one where there will always be job openings and career growth.

Banking and some financial services often offer flexible schedules, work/family friendly environments, and good benefits. In general,  the greater  the responsibilities, the higher the salary. Experience, length of service, and, especially, the location and size of the institution influence income and benefits. In addition to typical benefits given in many industries, equity sharing and performance-based pay have become a part of compensation packages for some banking employees.

Barbara Ryan, Express Personnel Services in West Palm Beach says, “Entry level positions are good training for people interested in the banking and finance industries. Banking knowledge and experience often leads to higher level positions within the banking industry itself or become a stepping stone to many other areas in the business industry.” Whether Ryan is interviewing applicants for an entry level or a six figure positions, she, places importance on positive attitudes appropriate appearance, and good communications skills.

“Associated careers of banking include accounting, the securities industries, entrepreneurship and financial operations in a variety of business, government and not for profit areas, says Michelle Veil, CPA, Vice President of Finance for the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin County. Veil who has held many different kinds of positions in the finance industry agrees with others in the banking and finance industry that good organizational skills, the ability to multitask, and excellent communications skills are a prerequisite for any position.

Banking offers internal and external management training and advanced specialization certification courses in the banking industry for novices and more experienced staff alike. Holmes says, “our institution, like so many of the other large banks, offer tuition reimbursement for degree programs.”

The combined effects of technology, deregulation, mergers, and population growth will continue to shape the mix of occupations in the banking and finance industries. Growth in professional, managerial, and sales jobs is expected. Raymond says, “our bank is hiring at the present time and job opportunities will continue to exist as banks open more branch offices and extend hours to meet population growth.”

Employment of customer service representatives is also expected to increase as banks hire more workers to staff phone centers and sell banking products to branch customers.

Now that banking is able to offer a variety of financial and insurance products, there is a demand for people to sell new services and products in the securities and financial services.

Achieving success in the banking and finance industry does not require a magic wand, but rather a desire


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