Is Major Banks a Good Career Path Long Term?

The world of banking is massive. From helping people to open basic savings accounts to dealing personal loans in commercial banking and working alongside with investment bankers, there is a wide breadth of jobs and careers in major banks.

major banks career path

If you want to know is major banks a good career path, this is the perfect article for you. The answer is that major banks can provide you with an excellent career, thanks to the wide range of positions and the security they can provide. Major banks have a wide variety of functions from commercial to retail banking, corporate banking, and personal banking. This gives those looking for a career in this sector plenty of options to choose from.  No matter what skill or educational level you have right now, there could be a range of positions ready to assist you in growing your savings and paving the way towards financial independence that you could take on.

Here we look into what the major financial institutions are, which are the best banks to work for, and how much you can expect to earn depending on the position. So is major banks a good career path? Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy our detailed guide to why, and why not.

What Are Major Banks?

When you hear the term ‘major banks’ it is worth noting that we are not referring here to all banking institutions or financial institutions, like investment banking. The term ‘major’ usually refers to those banks in the U.S. banking sector with the most amount of assets or large size of their market capitalization or cap. This is why we have the likes of JP Morgan, Chase, and Bank of America considered major banks, given the trillions of dollars at which they are valued.

What Do Major Banks Do?

For the most part, the phrase ‘major banks’ refers to those banks that take care of retail, commercial, and corporate finance. Many smaller banks will only care for one or two of these important financial services, like investment banks. This is also different than financial institution like hedge funds, credit unions, personal bankers, wealth management, etc Ultimately the major banks wish to provide financial advice to offer their

Career Options Within Major Banks

Given the range of financial services on offer, there is no need to worry about how many jobs are available in major banks. Not only are there numerous positions, but banks love to move skilled people into better positions, leaving space for newcomers. It is worth noting that while there are positions, the applicant level is very high. If you do wish to work within a major investment bank, these are some of the potential positions that you could hold.

Bank Teller

Bank tellers assist customers with financial transactions by cashing checks, making withdrawals, and depositing money in both the retail financial sector and commercial banking sector. Bank tellers are also specialists at resolving any account disputes and attending to complaints and comments made by customers.

Loan Officer

As the name suggests, loan officers will assess loan applications that have been submitted by both businesses and individuals. To assess whether or not a loan should be given, the loan officer will look through credit history, current financial situation, and any potential collateral. Loan officers will work directly with underwriters and financial managers to decide whether or not a customer should be recommended for a loan.

Underwriting Assistant

Once a loan officer has recommended a particular client for a loan, the underwriter will take a deep dive into their eligibility. Much of the work here consists of data entry tasks and the collection of information. This role is very much considered administrative, although there are leadership positions within underwriting.

Portfolio Manager

Major banks look to excel in all services, especially in corporate finance and investment management. Portfolio managers, you will be working for some of the most valuable clients. This could be individuals, businesses, or even private equity firms. Your role as portfolio manager will entail looking into diversification strategies and investment opportunities, financial records, and managing relationships to ensure that investors continue to use the bank’s services.

Investment Banker

Yet another corporate position in the banking industry is that of an investment banker, a prized position in any major bank. Within this role, you could be working on important mergers and acquisitions, trading in securities, give investment advice or working alongside corporate clients as their financial manager and helping them to find new and exciting investment opportunities.

Chief Financial Officer

Major banks have numerous levels of CFOs, (chief financial officer), who will oversee the entire operation of the bank or an arm of the financial institution. This is the top of the tree in the banking system and there is a great amount of responsibility on a CFO’s shoulders. This is a position that incorporates leadership, strategizing financial planning, budgeting, planning, and other important skills as a financial manager. It’s a long road in this career path, but once you make it there, the salary surely does reflect it.

What You Need For a Career Within a Major Bank

Owing to the range of positions that banks can offer, there is no set qualification for each position. When it comes to banking jobs, you will need a bachelor’s degree, at least to get started in a good position. If you are looking at the very best banks to work for, the higher your level of education, the better your chance of beating the competition and gilding your career path . There are entry-level positions such as a bank teller, that you may be able to get with just a high school diploma.

If you plan to work in fields such as accountancy, underwriting, loans, or investment positions, you will have the best chance if you have studied a subject within economics. This could be specific to the role, or more general studies such as finance, or business administration, or general economics.

In terms of how many jobs are available in major banks, you will find numerous options if you are well-qualified. The key is to get your foot in the door, and then use the bank’s structure to seek further qualifications and promotions and enhance your career path. Those who are prepared to travel for a new role will have more success than those who are not.

What Certifications Could you Study For?

If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, you could instead opt to earn a certification in specific fields, that can help you to gain a better job at a major bank. Here are some examples of the certificates available. from

  • Financial Risk Manager
  • Financial Analysts
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Chartered Financial Analyst
  • Investment Banker
  • Portfolio Managers
  • Mortgage Loan Originator

These certificates can be gained before you enter the banking world, or during your time in an entry-level position, to support future career growth.

What Skills You Will Need

Beyond the knowledge that you will need to work within a major bank, there are some fundamental skills that will also help you to find success. These include the following:

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Perseverance
  • Attention to details
  • Ability to adapt
  • Ability to cope under pressure
  • Problem-solving

This is an essential skill set no matter which area of major banking you decide on for your career. The bigger and more important the position that you want, the stronger you will have to be with each of these skills.

How Much Money Can You Make?

Major banks jobs pay well, in all positions. They do this to keep the talent they have and to make the hard work required more rewarding. The best-paying jobs in most major banks are Chief Financial Officers and commission-based positions like Investment Managers, which are some of the top careers in the financial industry.

At the lower level, a bank teller can count on salaries of $34,930 on average, which is a solid salary for anyone who only has a high school diploma. You’ll be helping people with basic banking industry things like depositing into checking and savings accounts, doing financial statements, etc.

Another entry-level position of loan officer has an average wage of $80,570. This requires a degree but is still considered a very generous salary for this level of education.

Once you get into positions such as portfolio manager and investment banker, this is often determined by experience and ability. Both positions, however, could comfortably demand salaries upwards of $150k, plus benefits.

Pros and Cons

If you are wondering ‘is commercial banks a good career choice’? They most certainly are. With this being said, working in a major bank does have pros and cons, so let’s take a look at exactly what they are.


  • Opportunities for growth
  • Great personal and financial rewards
  • Job Security

Is career in major banks a good career path? This is in fact, one of the biggest benefits of working in a major bank. This is very much an industry that wants you to succeed and has the framework in place to allow you to do so.

Beyond the clear growth opportunities, it is the rewards that banks offer which make this a desirable career path. As mentioned, salaries in this area of finance are very high, and there are personal rewards added on top of this. Favorable mortgage rates, commissions, and bonuses are part and parcel of working in a major bank.

Lastly, there is job security for bank clients, something major banks pride themselves on. If you have the talent and the work ethic, you have a job for life if you want it.


  • Competition for jobs
  • High-pressure industry
  • Lengthy working hours

No banking job is without its drawbacks, and one of the biggest is job competition. Is commercial banks a good career? Of course, but you need to secure a job first. Even those within the banking industry have spoken about the difficulty of finding internal positions, because of the fierce competition.

Another disadvantage of working for major banks jobs versus smaller banks is the level of pressure. These are multi-trillion dollar companies and with that comes pressure, at all levels.

And finally, if you want to succeed in this career, you should be prepared to put in the hours. Many of these hours are not going to be paid for, and they can take a toll on your personal life. If you are aiming to climb the ladder in financial management, this is something you must be prepared for.

Summary of Working in Major Banks

Despite the negatives that we have detailed here, a career in major banking is considered a very good one. Major banks offer you to display all of your skills and talents, and you will be rewarded well for it. Although the work is hard, job satisfaction is very high and many major banks offer good compensation and benefits. There is a ladder to climb and most end up as investment bankers or higher up on a corporate wrung.

If you have the skills and the qualifications and you want to know is major banks and investment services are a good career path for you to choose, the answer is a resounding yes.