Banking Can Be a Great Duty Station for Ex-Military
If you’re a military veteran, the skills you picked up working for Uncle Sam are in demand in the banking industry. Commercial banks, mortgage bankers and credit unions all actively recruit veterans looking to make the switch into finance.
Whether the niche is commercial banking, mortgage banking or affinity financial services, you’ll find employers seeking vets’ solid leadership skills, integrity and proven ability to work under pressure.
“Banks and mortgage companies welcome vets, because they like the strategic skills and people who’ve built and directed teams and executed plans,” says Ann Louise Drake, a banking recruiter and chairman of Drake Executive Resources. “They’ve been serving their country, so when they go into a role in a banking organization they have strong customer-service standards. People from the military know how to troubleshoot problems and find resolutions.”
Bank of America has military personnel working across business lines around the globe. These vets head major regional sales forces, integrate massive technology projects and lead the sales process in industry-dominating businesses, says David Head, the bank’s staffing executive responsible for military recruiting.
“We have opportunities [for former service members] in technology, corporate security, finance, asset management, human resources, public policy, corporate communications, retail banking and so much more,” Head says.
Even personnel who went straight into the service from high school will find openings at Bank of America. “We have jobs in technology, operations and sales where military individuals who may not have degrees could excel,” Head says.
If you’re bilingual and mortgage banking appeals to you, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America’s Welcome Home program provides tuition-free, Internet-based training that prepares Spanish-speaking members of the armed forces for post-service careers in residential and commercial lending, says Brook Ostrander, the association’s manager of classroom-based training.
About 500 people are currently in the program, studying for positions in mortgage sales, origination, underwriting, servicing, collections, or commercial and multifamily lending. The program is open to honorably discharged bilingual (English/Spanish) veterans and military service members, including members of the Reserves and National Guard, and their family members.
Partners in the Welcome Home program include Freddie Mac, BB&T, CitiMortgage, GMAC Financial Services and US Bank Home Mortgage<.
Credit Unions and Service Organizations
If you want to work in the nonprofit sector of finance, consider a career at a credit union. Navy Federal Credit Union, known for staffing its 117 branches around the globe with military spouses, is developing a hiring initiative focused on former military service members.
“We are particularly interested in hiring junior officers leaving the military with great leadership skills,” says Jeanne Robinson, manager for selection and career development. “We’re developing a yearlong program where they will rotate to financial services, collections, a call center, mortgages and branch offices.” At the end of the rotation, the junior officers will select a permanent position.
USAA, a Fortune 200 financial-services company that sells insurance, financial planning and banking products to 6 million US military members, also recruits former military personnel and their family members.
“The focus of this company is the military and military family members,” says John DiPiero, senior advisor for people services and military recruiting. “Because of that, we want our employees to have a good understanding of the military lifestyle and military family.”
USAA recruits at job fairs run by military organizations such as Monster’s sister site, Military.com, as well as at career fairs sponsored by the service branches. To become one of the 5,700 new employees USAA hires each year, good leadership and time-management skills, efficiency and an understanding of the military lifestyle are definite pluses. About 60 percent of those hired work as member service representatives after a 12-week training course that adds company knowledge to new employees’ military skill set.