Investment, Banking Wide Open Fields
Employee-Executive Ratios Are Now at Five to One
From Shylock to Scrooge McDuck, banker, through the years, have rarely achieved kind reputations. Even the lives of great philanthropists have been shaded by charges of "sharpness" and "monopoly." Actually however, bankers and the institutions they represent have achieved the respect and confidence of their communities, shedding completely the insidious stereotype of the villainous mortgage forecloser of the melodramas.
This trust has built up steadily with the expansion of financial centers in the United States. In the last 50 years, for instance, the number of banks has increased almost three-fold. Paralleling this surge are equally swollen opportunities for employees, including college-graduate trainees for executive post.
Such executives elect are in particular demand now; in the last 20 years, an ever-decreasing number of young men (and, to be sure, women) have entered the banking and finance field, obviously because of the depression and the war. Thus, banks themselves predict a great influx of younger administrators because of the scarcity of competition for the lucrative jobs day by day being vacated by the retirement of older men. And banks, staid and traditional as they may appear to be, are taking a progressive and competitive concern in their hiring programs. What, then, do these companies offer?
Banking as an industry breaks down into four separate divisions, al offering a substantial number of official posts to new college graduates. Commercial banks handle checks and checking accounts, and loan out money for short terms to business men. As depositors in these banks, over one hundred million Americans now issue personal checks, circulating over one and three-quarter trillion dollars per year. Income garnered from small loans keeps most commercial banks in the black as far as operating expenses and dividends are concerned.
Trust bankers are specialists in supervising funds belonging to persons or corporations, frequently managing funds or estates in accordance with trust agreements. A trust banker must exercise prudence and precision in his investments to be sure of sending his client's children through college or of keeping the client comfortable for his years of retirement.
Savings banks, which are mostly concentrated in the states of Massachusetts and New York, rarely accept checking accounts. They provide a safe place for personal savings, and often feature savings bank life insurance and trust facilities.
Most specialized of the whole group are investment bankers, who are concerned with producing large sums of money for corporations needing capital funds. The notes for the money granted out are then sold as stocks and bonds on regular markets, making investment banking a doubled barreled sort of profit gaining.
All of these banks offer two types of employment, executive and clerical. Officials are hired in a ration of one to every five other workers, a very favorable figure from the point of view of the young aspirant for a high position.
At the present time, the ranks of bank workers number only about 400,000. What with the increases in branch banking, consumer credit, and government savings bonds, bank staffs will have to expand IBM machines or not.
This seems doubly certain because of the mounting wealth, productive capacity, population, and because of the increasing complexity of business. Economists say that small business and consumer credit will particularly feel the expansion. any unemployment stemming from depression and the concomitant closing of banks will probably be negligible because of government reform measures.
Luxury-lovers will admit that banking can easily offer as much as any profession in the comfort afforded. Most larger banks, like Prudential, have the strength of Gibraltar, and consequently their employees can be certain of their weekly sustenance. Bankers also have reveled prestige in most American communities and, provided that they work in a reputable establishment, are likely to be in with the "accepted" set of citizens. Especially attractive are hours and conditions.
The usual schedules working week is 40 hours. However, many cities in the vicinity of New York City have 37 1/2 hour bank weeks and some require even less work. On the other hand, this work is often irregular, especially in small banks. On some days there may be overtime work until well pat the accepted bankers' bedtime; other days may demand only six hours in the way of duty.
It is well-known that banks have liberal provisions for holidays. Most establishments observe from 9 to 12 paid times off in a year. IN contrast, manufacturing industries usually grant only six or seven paid holidays. Besides this, all banks offer regular vacations, usually two weeks in length.
Banking is generally carried on in clean, well-lighted, and well-ventilated offices. For the most part, it does not require much physical effort.
High Starting Pay
Although the bank official is sometimes visualized leading his lavishly-clad wife down to a thermally controlled swimming pool, by and large these men receive only moderate compensation for their work. But is true that men entering banking upon completion of their studies make more in their first few years than men in any other field, excluding the professions. Still, a starting executive stipend of only 22,000 is hardly what the uninitiated would consider to be the average young banker's yearly income.
Actually, $3,000 is more of a minimum salary for this type of position. A maximum figure runs near $4,500, with the usual income somewhere in the vicinity of $3,500. Incidentally, West Coat banks pay out more money to their staffs than banks in any other area in the country. Institutions in the south and Middle Atlantic are the mot close-fisted, having payrolls considerably smaller than the national average. Small banks pay executives loan than one-fourth the amount they would receive working for the largest banks; small towns, however, have much lower cost-of-living indexes than these of New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Salaries increase comfortably as one goes up the banking ladder. Department managers and senior supervisors received fro in $4,500 to $7,000; junior officers, from %5,000 to $9,500; second vice-presidents, from $8,000 to $15,000; vice-presidents, form $15,000 to $30,000; and senior vice-presidents, $50,000 or more.
Most college graduates obtaining jobs in banks are taken on as executives in training. After this, advancement is neither guaranteed nor left to chance. Individual workers must assume responsibility for showing initiative and ability in their fields. They must indicate definite interest in the better positions. Personnel departments maintain confidential, individual desires on which final choice for promotions are made.
Banking experience has often proved a practical training for work in investment institutions and in the United States Government.
When bankers are asked about requirements for their profession, they are rumored to reply; "A successful banker is composed of about one-fifth accountant, two-fifths lawyer, three-fifths--double size. any smaller person may be a pawn broker or a promoter, but not a banker." This is more than self-flattery; for it indicates the high standards placed on the successful banker.
As a man, a banker must obviously be as trustworthy as the ideal Eagle Scout. Equally important is a warm personality coupled with an understanding of people; for banking is a service profession.
All forms of bank work require accuracy and carefulness; but intelligence imagination, and judgment are equally important. And the banks must be able to apply these qualities to the making of decisions. What with most of the problems and questions which come to the banker's desk demanding definite answers, indecisiveness has no place in the banker's make-up.
Authorities agree that there are certain programs of formal preparation which the aspiring banking tycoon should follow, whether his bank he located on Wall Street or on Main Street. A large portion of the potential banker's college program should be devoted to the liberal arts. Whereas some concentration in economics is advisable, most banks claim that the principles of banking and business are best learned by practical experience. Although these banks give a very slight preference to Economics concentrators or to men with a Master of Business Administration degree, all accepted applicants, whether experienced or tyro, undergo bank training programs.
The specific nature of these programs depends on the nature of the bank and on the position for which the new employee is training. Most large banks have a more or less formalized training program, which varies in length from six months to two years.
After a two week orientation period the new man spend two months in the various departments to acquaint himself with the workings of the bank. A month at a branch office completes the program; and the candidate, with the aid of the training program director, is ready to choose his special field. Examinations every four to six weeks and written reports on each department help the bank rate the employee's interest and understanding.
Is small banks the training is much less formalized. The college graduate is usually required to work through various departments of the bank until he has gained the necessary experience and know-how to fill a responsible position.
Most banks are switching to the educational plan since it gives the trainee a thorough grounding in all aspects of the banking business and helps find the trainee's interests and capabilities in order to determine a permanent assignment which will be best from the point of view of his long-run development into an executive of the bank.
For those who have poise, personality, and education many of the larger banks offer special executive training courses. These are offered to inexperienced people with college degrees, but often the college man is shifted all around the "back office: and closely checked by an older employee, during his first weeks of employment.
One week to two months in spent, in the most common form of training program, in each of the divisions of the bank instructing the executive candidate in the finest details of the running the establishment. A month in the mail, bookkeeping, statement, and credit departments shows the "flow" of business form receipt to payment.
The second month introduces the employee to the departments of notes, where he learns the issuance and collection of customers' notes, tellers, money collection, where mortgage and loan payments are directed, and money transfer, where checks from other banks are sorted for the clearing house.
Four months of intensive training in the foreign exchange, trust and stock transfer departments, two more months in the credit division, six weeks in the branch offices, two weeks with the comptroller, and one or two weeks in each of the investment divisions and the man is ready for promotion.
Note that the investment divisions are saved until the very end of the training program. Investment banking today has become such a specialized part of the industry that it is now considered a separate field. No less important than commercial banking, investment banking supports our city, state, and national government as well as our industries.
A wide variety of talent and training is required to carryon the operations of buying or underwriting, and there is a fairly wide field of work for those desiring to specialize. Accounting, however, is a prerequisite for all jobs Once securities have been bought, it becomes the duty of the selling staff to sell them through various financial clearing houses and stock exchanges. In practice, the buying and selling staffs are often interlocking.
The vast amount of legal work connected with originating and distributing securities open up a broad field of opportunity for skillful corporation lawyers. In face, many of the leading figures in investment banking began as lawyers. The transit and country departments handle the transactions with other U. S. banks; coupon collection takes care of sending notices of payments due on notes; the candidate spends two weeks in each of these