What Is a Branch Manager?
A branch manager is an executive who is in charge of a particular location, or branch office, of a bank or other financial services company; he or she is responsible for all of the functions of that branch office—including hiring employees, overseeing the approval of loans and lines of credit (LOC), marketing, building a rapport with the community to attract business, assisting with customer relations, and ensuring that the branch meets its goals and objectives in a timely manner.
Understanding the Role of a Branch Manager
Beyond the numbers
Branch managers usually have undergraduate degrees in finance, accounting, or related fields. Some financial institutions will look at a branch manager job candidate with a non-finance-related bachelor's degree as long as he or she has a master's degree in a finance-related field. Because branch managers' responsibilities include developing and maintaining good relationships with customers and employees, they should possess strong sales, people-management, and customer-service skills. Other attributes required of a branch manager are diligence, strong analytical skills, and the ability to prioritize, multitask, and focus on detail.
Demanding, and highly visible
A financial institution's executives place great confidence in the company's branch managers; expecting them to run their locations as their own businesses. Branch managers are responsible for virtually all functions of their branch—including growing that location's customer base and elevating the community's perception of the company's brand. As such, branch managers are expected to be proactive about networking to bring in new business and increase revenue. A new branch manager might join the local chamber of commerce and attend business and networking events, where one often can meet influential community members. For example, a branch manager might meet a local hospital administrator and work out a deal to provide the branch's services to the hospital's employees.
Previous experience matters
Financial institutions hiring for branch manager positions look for candidates with both prior financial experience and proven leadership experience; they also seek candidates with a track record of increasing the number of a bank's accounts, and hiring banks expect branch managers to be deeply knowledgeable about banking-industry regulations. Once hired, branch managers have the freedom to choose their teams, but they also must be able to ensure their teams' success.