The Next Generation of Commercial Bankers

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Cadence Bank partnered with Texas Southern University to provide funding and internships to students interested in a commercial banking career.

A skilled and diverse workforce is crucial to the long-term growth of the commercial banking industry. However, without having prior exposure to the roles and responsibilities of a commercial banker, it can be difficult for new college graduates to break into this career.

In efforts to broaden the career opportunities available to young adults from minority communities, Texas Southern University (TSU)’s Jesse H. Jones School of Business launched a program focused on preparing college students for a career in banking. This initiative is called the Future Bankers Leadership Program (FBLP).

Based in Houston, TSU is one of the largest historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the U.S. In 2021, Cadence Bank announced a $500,000 commitment to the school, with $250,000 going toward the FBLP endowment and another $250,000 going toward operations and scholarship funding for students enrolled in the program.

TSU’s Future Bankers Leadership Program perfectly complements Cadence Bank’s strategies for building a more diverse workforce, including being intentional in its hiring processes and where it sources talent.

The idea behind TSU’s Future Bankers Leadership Program

The first group of students were admitted to the FBLP in the fall semester of 2021—but the program was in the works long before then.

“The Future Bankers Leadership Program came about after many conversations we had with our faculty, our Business Advisory Council and the Texas Bankers Association,” says Muriel Funches, executive director of advancement at the Jesse H. Jones School of Business.

“The Texas Bankers Association in particular was instrumental in working with us from a curriculum standpoint and helping us make connections with banking partners such as Cadence Bank.”

It’s important to note that if finance and accounting degree programs do not attract a diverse group of students, this lack of representation may not be felt in the industry until years later. In launching the FBLP, TSU is developing a pipeline of diverse talent that will make a long-lasting impact on the future of banking.

A career-focused curriculum

The Future Bankers Leadership Program is open to juniors and seniors in all majors at TSU, and results in a concentration for business majors and a banking minor for all majors outside of the business school.

To complete the program, students need to take three courses in commercial banking and participate in professional engagement activities. The banking courses included in the FBLP cover topics such as how commercial banks are managed, the commercial lending process, and how to sell financial products and services.

In addition, students are provided with soft skills training, networking opportunities, resume assistance and mock interviews to prepare them for that initial step into the professional world. “We have a robust alumni chapter from the JHJ School that can provide career support,” says Funches.

In the future, TSU plans to expand their banking curriculum to include specialized courses on financial technology, banking compliance and governance. They also want to develop a certificate program that encourages students from other majors to explore a career in the banking industry.

Equipping students with industry certification

Typically, prospective banking professionals need to go through credit training after they graduate. But with TSU’s FBLP, students can pursue certification as part of their degree program.

The FBLP curriculum is closely tied to the Risk Management Association Credit Essentials Certificate (RMA CEC), a common credential required for credit and lending professionals. After completing the first semester of the newly established FBLP, students who sat for the RMA CEC exam achieved an impressive 100% pass rate, which speaks to the quality of the program’s curriculum and the dedication of the students. Getting certified in credit essentials puts these students a step ahead of other college graduates and may allow them to join the industry more quickly.

Real-world banking experience

As part of their partnership with TSU, Cadence Bank offers summer internships to three FBLP students each year. These internships are offered to students who are less than a year away from graduating.

“The credit essentials course that students take while they’re in the program helps prepare them for the tasks and duties they’ll encounter during their internship,” says Funches.

The internship begins in June and lasts for eight weeks. During the internship, students are exposed to different departments of the bank. For example, they may be involved in underwriting and servicing commercial loans, wealth management, energy, alternative investments, or private banking. This gives the students experience working in a variety of positions so they can learn how the different groups operate and what interests them.

After the internship concludes, the students are invited to apply for a full-time or part-time position with Cadence Bank.

Supporting a diverse talent pipeline

Cadence Bank’s partnership with TSU supports the long-term health of the commercial banking industry. Programs like this will likely become the norm for the industry as more and more banks seek to expand their talent pipeline and diversify their workforce.

Cadence Bank is proud to support the Future Bankers Leadership Program and looks forward to seeing the impact the initiative has on Texas’s commercial banking workforce. To learn more about how we’re helping people, companies and communities prosper, visit our Stories page.


This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.

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