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Commercial banks provide banking services to businesses and individuals to help them maintain a smooth running of their finances from day-to-day. Banks do this in a number of ways, most notably by providing loans, but also by offering more niche services such as credit cards and leasing services. While those working in smaller commercial banks may oversee a number, if not all, of the commercial services, in most cases you will work within just one niche area. Fortunately, you'll still gain a generalized experience of commerce, so it should be possible to move around within commercial banking without needing to amend your existing skillset too heavily.
In recent years, working in a commercial bank and working in an investment bank has largely become one and the same. Following the termination of the Glass-Steagall Act, the lines between both fields has become somewhat blurred. Today, it's not unexpected to hear of individuals being employed within investment banks and dealing with deposits and lendings, or those within commercial banking to get involved in share issues. For graduates, this is a good thing, as your experience isn't expected to be quite so specific, opening the door to greater opportunities and making it easier to get a job within the industry.
If you're working within loans, you'll need to be able to handle the math, as you not only need to keep your clients happy, but also make money for the bank. Providing loans focuses on using existing deposits, so you'll need to ensure that the difference between the interest rates create a healthy profit. This means offering clients a lower interest rate for their savings, but charging a higher rate for loans. Care is also required to make sure that loans are only made after considering of the clients ability to repay – the client’s credit status.
If you're not working within loans, you may be working within payments. This might include approving credit card applications, supplying physical products such as credit cards and check books to clients, and making wire transfers on behalf of your client to businesses around the world. This is one way of providing security for the client - by reducing the need for them to carry large sums of cash to make transactions.
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