Will CFA designation help in commercial banking?

Hi all,

I’m a new grad from university and accepted an offer from a commercial bank. The position is Financial Analyst and I’ll be part of a rotational program that will give me exposure to different aspects of the bank. I don’t know the exact job duties yet. So my question is, will passing CFA exams help me progress within a commercial bank?


sorry, won’t help one bit. you’re screwed.

It will be helpful if it helps you understand cash flows, interest rates, or other things that are relevant to commercial banking.

Hmm. Interesting. I thought CFA would be more helpful since the job title is financial analyst… The employer is Capital One, if it matters. Do they have any business line where holding a charter would be beneficial? Or, do they have any business line where the experience would qualify for the 4 years of work experience requirement?

Well, “financial analyst” is a very generic title. It can mean anything, CFA-related or not. I’m sure Capital One has some jobs that qualify for CFA experience. However, I wouldn’t advise you to make the CFA your life goal. Pursue the job that is the best fit for you, and then do the CFA if it still makes sense.

The CFA program is a great background for any person working in finance to have regardless. Some jobs you won’t use it at all (bank teller) and some jobs you will.

I would think the CFA will help in general terms. The real issue is whether it is overkill in terms of the effort vs. the reward if you are simply going to use it in commercial banking.

Thanks for the replies. I did some googling and apparently the position “Financial Analyst” covers duties like budgeting (I thought this would be an accounting job) to securities research. Still doesn’t help me though… On another note, if the fees of the CFA curriculum is eligible for reimbursement, is that an indicator that the employer values and encourages pursuing the designation?

googling finance analyst won’t do anything. Any job remotely related to finance can be labeled that job title these days

Depends on the type of lending you’re doing. When I was still an examiner, I met a gentlemen who was in charge of lending to ultra high net worth individuals. The collateral consisted mostly of equity and fixed income securities, but there were some other interesting things too (e.g, fine art, personal aircraft). Regardless, I could see how some of the fixed income / real estate material could be applicable.

Can someone answer this question: If a company reimburses the fees of the CFA curriculum, does that mean pursuing the designation will be a plus for advancement in the company? Thanks


Well, doing the CFA won’t hurt your advancement in that company. So, as long as there is some non-zero probability that the CFA will help, that is still positive expected value, assuming that the time cost is not overbearing. The fact that the company pays for your exams is not enough to determine that they will give you opportunities to do CFA-ish work, or that they will promote you based on your credential.

From what I’ve seen at another bank, a CFA can be used in place of an MBA for career advancement. You know what also helps? Credit experience. Get that on your resume, then move as quickly as possible to something more profitable. Treasury is a good spot or anything sales related.

Can you clarify on what is credit experience? I have a friend who works as a treasury analyst in a pension fund, and he mostly analyzes portfolio risk exposure to macroeconomic conditions. Is that something I should be aiming for? Thanks a bunch for all the replies

i worked in commercial credit and can tell you that CFA is very good for preparing you for this job. it really helps especially the accuonting section. I found that lots of those who worked with me were somewhat outdated in their understanding of financial statements, and this is the area in which I stood out since I learned so much from CFA studies.

typical entry level credit experience = analyst who spreads financial statements, calculates ratios and presents results for decision makers. You’ll likely start monitoring existing transactions and then move up to analyzing new ones and finally reccomending whether to approve a deal and with what covenants. Pretty much every commercial banking product has this role in some variation. It is not exclusive to loans or working for client managers. I work with but was never a credit analyst so someone please correct me if I’m wrong. edit: Treasury analyst at a pension fund is different from credit analyst at a commercial bank.

I did a similar rotational program at GE Capital after completing my undergrad. I then later went and did specialized underwriting in the healthcare space at a commercial bank. The most important thing you can do to advance your career in commercial lending is to complete a formal bank credit training program. I did this and learned quite a bit. In addition, it has made the FRA portion of the CFA notably easier. I know work for an institutional investment firm and am a Level II candidate. Although it is a slight career change, i would say that completing a credit training program helped me considerably. A CFA will help in commercial banking, but try not to be short sighted. Things in your life will likely change, and having a CFA will give you additional education. For starters, however, make sure Cap One has a credit training program and enroll in it asap (if they don’t make you anyway). good luck

Good point about the credit training program. These can be a good way to move within the company. My bank tries very hard to find jobs for people who complete this program - I guess they want to show that the program is a “success”. Sometimes you have to work a couple of years before you get into the program though.