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Personal Banker vs. Financial Advisor: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

When it comes to financial planning and advice, there are a few different professional paths you can take. Two common roles are that of a personal banker and financial advisor. Though these positions share some similarities, there are several key differences between them.

In this article, we discuss the differences between a personal banker and financial advisor, and we provide additional financial professions you may be interested in pursuing.

What is a Personal Banker?

Personal Bankers are responsible for providing customer service and support to clients of a financial institution. They help clients open new accounts, process transactions, and provide information about products and services offered by the bank. They also resolve customer complaints and refer clients to other departments within the bank for more complex issues. Personal Bankers typically work at a teller window, but may also work in an office setting. They typically work regular business hours, but may also work evenings and weekends to accommodate their clients’ schedules.

What is a Financial Advisor?

Financial Advisors provide guidance to clients regarding a wide range of financial matters, such as investments, taxes, retirement planning and insurance. They assess their clients’ financial needs and risk tolerance, then make recommendations accordingly. Financial Advisors may also provide estate planning services and help clients with budgeting and cash flow management. They often work with clients on an ongoing basis, providing updates and making adjustments to their financial plans as needed. Financial Advisors typically work for banks, investment firms or insurance companies, although some may also work independently.

Personal Banker vs. Financial Advisor

Here are the main differences between a personal banker and a financial advisor.

Job Duties

Financial advisors and personal bankers perform some of their job duties in similar ways, such as meeting with clients to discuss financial goals and advising them on the best banking or investment options. However, their other job responsibilities differ because of the different types of clients they serve. Personal bankers work with customers who seek assistance with basic banking services, such as checking and savings accounts. In contrast, financial advisors meet with clients to assess their overall financial situations and advise them on various financial decisions.

The daily job duties of a personal banker may include things like assisting customers with transactions, resolving issues with their accounts and providing general customer service support. In contrast, a financial advisor’s typical tasks involve conducting financial assessments, creating financial plans for clients, advising clients on investments and recommending financial products that could benefit them.

Job Requirements

Personal bankers typically need at least a high school diploma to enter the field, though many employers prefer candidates who have some college experience. Some personal bankers also pursue certifications through organizations like the American Bankers Association (ABA). These certifications can teach personal bankers how to better serve their customers and advance their careers.

Financial advisors usually need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the field. Many financial advisors also pursue certifications, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation offered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. These certifications can help financial advisors learn more about investment strategies and other topics they might need to know on the job.

Work Environment

Personal bankers work in a variety of environments, depending on the type of bank they work for. Some personal bankers work in retail banks that have branches in local communities. Others work in private banking departments at large financial institutions. Personal bankers may also travel to meet with clients and attend events like community fairs or sporting events.

Financial advisors typically work in an office environment where they can meet with clients and provide advice about their investments. They may also travel to meet with clients who live far away from them. Financial advisors often work long hours during busy seasons when many people are looking to invest.


Both personal bankers and financial advisors need to have excellent customer service skills. They will be working with clients one-on-one to discuss their financial needs and goals, so being able to build rapport and establish trust is essential. Personal bankers also need to have strong sales skills as they will be responsible for cross-selling products and services to customers.

Financial advisors need to have in-depth knowledge about a wide range of financial topics, including investment strategies, risk management and tax laws. They also need to be able to understand and explain complex financial concepts to their clients. Financial advisors typically need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field. Personal bankers can get by with just a high school diploma, although many employers prefer candidates who have some college experience.


Personal bankers earn an average salary of $46,367 per year, while financial advisors earn an average salary of $77,048 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the location of the job, the size of the company and the level of experience the professional has.


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