What Are the Different Departments of a Bank?

Photo Courtesy: simonkr/Getty Images

The average bank has a variety of different departments that all work together to provide services to individual customers and businesses alike. While most customers are familiar with the retail banking department, which is what typically serves as the “face” of the bank, it can be confusing to know whom to ask for help when it comes to other types of financial transactions. Learn more about the different departments of banks to get an overview of the services each provides.

Retail Banking Services and Functions

The retail division of a bank consists of a group of employees who interact directly with customers. These range from tellers and customer service representatives to loan officers and branch managers. The retail bank division is likely the first place you’ll find yourself whenever you walk through the average bank’s doors. It’s also where you’ll find help with:

Photo Courtesy: Alina555/Getty Images
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Marketing and community relations
  • Personal loans
  • Credit cards
  • Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
  • Some types of insurance

Commercial and Business Banking Options

Whereas retail banking is aimed at providing services to individuals, commercial banking is catered towards businesses. Often, many mid-size and larger banks have both retail and commercial branches that operate under the same roof. That said, not every local bank branch or credit union may have a commercial business department, though most can accept commercial deposits.

Photo Courtesy: SDI Productions/E+/Getty Images

Commercial banking departments work with a wide variety of companies, from local businesses to large corporations. Some of the services that fall under commercial banking include:

  • Business loans
  • Startup loans
  • Lines of credit
  • Equipment lending
  • Employer services
  • Commercial real estate

Banks that offer services to businesses are where you’re likely to find finance professionals like cash-management analysts, treasury analysts, business bankers and business banking associates. A bank’s cash-management division generally works with business clients to manage short-term investment strategies, liquidity and cash flow. The employees here often handle:

  • Accounts receivable management
  • ACH setup and processing
  • Risk management
  • Payroll services
  • Controlled disbursements

Loan Servicing Departments

The loan servicing department of a bank takes care of communications with borrowers at any point in their loan journey — from managing the initial application process to assisting borrowers once loan funds have been disbursed. Common loan service jobs include mortgage service specialists, consumer loan servicing specialists, commercial loan administrators and escrow-servicing analysts.

Photo Courtesy: PhotoAlto/Eric Audras/Getty Images

As an overall department, loan servicing takes care of things like:

  • Assisting with filling out and processing applications
  • Collecting payments
  • Helping borrowers set up repayment plans or loan consolidations
  • Advising and working with borrowers whose loans have defaulted
  • Answering billing questions

Wealth Management and Investing Assistance

A bank’s wealth-management department is sometimes also known as “private banking” or “private wealth management.” This department is usually geared towards a bank’s high-net-worth clientele and offers personalized financial services. Not all banks have wealth-management departments, so you may have to do a bit of research to see which larger banks near you do.

Photo Courtesy: Drazen/Getty Images

Within the average wealth-management department, you’ll find financial advisors, wealth advisors, trust officers, private banking associates and management associates. They generally offer services such as:

  • Estate planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Retirement planning
  • Legal and tax strategies
  • Trust management

Many larger banks have also now developed their own investment banking divisions to work with larger enterprise clients. Again, this is not a department that you’ll find in every local bank; it’s generally exclusive to larger banking institutions. Sometimes investment banks are even institutions all their own.

An investment bank or banking branch is made up of business bankers, commercial banking representatives and business documentation analysts. Together they work to help clients with investments and their related financial tasks like:

  • Risk management
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Restructuring
  • Strategic advisory
  • Divestitures
  • Prime brokerage services

Deposit Operations

The deposit operations branch of a bank is responsible for overseeing a wide range of important information that a bank depends on to stay afloat. This branch’s employees are known as deposit operations specialists, and they usually work behind the scenes to take care of tasks such as:

Photo Courtesy: adamkaz/Getty Images
  • Entering deposits into the bank’s database
  • Documenting new account information
  • Generating reports of monthly deposits
  • Verifying customer signatures
  • Verifying the accuracy of deposits against account balances

Electronic Banking Divisions

A bank’s electronic payment department consists of employees who monitor and maintain the systems that facilitate the bank’s electronic financial transactions. Additionally, providing security is also a large part of the electronic banking department’s job, as they need to ensure that the bank is protected from fraud, hacking and other electronic crimes.

Photo Courtesy: Oscar Wong/Getty Images

Some of the positions that are common in an electronic banking division include electronic banking specialists, payment operations analysts, processing/proof specialists, security analysts and fraud-detection experts. They oversee a large variety of electronic systems and processes, including:

  • Electronic bill payments
  • ATMs
  • Electronic deposits
  • Electronic transfers
  • The bank’s online/mobile banking system

Mortgage Banking

When it comes to mortgage banking, you may either be able to work through a mortgage department at your regular bank or go to a bank that specifically handles mortgages and property loans.

Photo Courtesy: manusapon kasosod/Moment/Getty Images

A variety of employees work in this department, including mortgage loan officers, loan servicing specialists, underwriters and mortgage analysts. Their jobs collectively help borrowers secure mortgage loans. Among their responsibilities are:

  • Assessing a potential borrower’s eligibility
  • Processing a mortgage application after collecting the required information and documents
  • Inspecting a borrower’s credit reports and other information to determine whether the bank should approve or deny a loan
  • Processing mortgage payments
  • Answering questions that a borrower has throughout the course of their loan