What Factors Affect a Commercial Banker's Salary?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2020
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Commercial bankers are responsible for generating revenue by selling bank products to business clients. Factors such as prior experience and academic credentials typically have an impact on a commercial banker's salary. Additionally, salary levels also depend on in part on the bank's market presence and the size of the banker's loan portfolio. In many instances, bankers receive a base salary and commission, in which case a commercial banker's salary may be subject to fluctuating sales results.

Many banks require applicants for commercial banker jobs to have successfully completed college degree programs in subjects such as finance, economics or business administration. Some banks pay a premium to bankers who have also completed advanced degrees in these same topic areas. Other banks promote personal bankers who have previously dealt with consumer clients into commercial banking roles; the wages of these individuals are sometimes lower than their counterparts who have college degrees.

In many instances, banks have several tiers of commercial bankers. Senior bankers are assigned a portfolio of high net worth clients; these bankers are responsible for maintaining and growing these highly profitable relationships. Junior bankers are responsible for managing the accounts of small business owners and these bankers typically have lower lending and deposit goals than their more seasoned counterparts. Therefore, a commercial banker's salary depends in part on his or her specific job responsibilities.


The wages of bank employees are often tied to the bank's profitability and market presence. A bank with a large number of branches and a significant customer base will typically have more cash on hand to cover its wage bill than a small bank with a limited number of clients. Additionally, as with other employers, banks usually take the local cost-of-living into account when setting wage levels. Therefore, a commercial banker's salary depends in part upon their work location.

Unlike mortgage lenders and investment officers, commercial bankers normally receive a base salary as well as performance based commissions or bonuses. The wages of bankers who are tasked with managing client portfolios are normally tied to the revenue that the portfolio generates. If a bonus amounts to a fixed percentage of the revenue that a loan portfolio generates then the banker with the most profitable loan clients will receive the largest commission payment. Aside from individual sales results, the salaries of commercial bankers are often impacted by the performance of a branch or the bank as a whole. Factors such as declining deposit rates or rising credit card defaults can have an impact on a commercial banker's salary even if the banker has no direct involvement with those products or clients.


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