FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Most experts agree that these are not great times to be looking for employment in the banking industry. Bank valuations are down, the number of banks is declining, loans are down, mortgages are down, and many banks are shedding some of their less-profitable branches.
So why is it that so many people are enrolling in St. Petersburg College’s four-year banking degree program?
Generally, enrollments at SPC are up across the board, a not-unusual state of affairs in a down economy. If people have trouble finding employment, many of them decide to use the time to bolster their education.
The enrollment in SPC’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Banking program has grown has grown gradually and consistently since its inception in fall 2006. So why is there so much interest in banking education at a time when the banking industry overall is in anything but growth mode? Dr. Irv DeGraw, Associate Professor of Finance and Banking at SPC, says there are at least three reasons for the expansion in enrollment.
“Students recognize the program will prepare them for real careers in the financial services industry and in government, and that it provides a first-hand opportunity to interact closely with leading financial executives,” he said. “The program also provides first-hand exposure to leading edge professional developments in the industry and in regulatory agencies.”
Kenneth P. Cherven, President and CEO of First Community Bank of America and chairman of SPC’s Banking Advisory Board, said the banking industry is in transition, and students are developing new skills to compete in the banking environment of the future.
“SPC’s banking degree program is state-of-the-art,” Cherven said. “It is a well-designed, unique program that is 100% online, and it has an active Advisory Board made up of local bank CEOs.”
Shri Goyal, Dean of SPC’s College of Technology and Management, pointed out that SPC’s banking degree program is about more than banking. Graduates leave the program qualified to work as bank managers, asset managers, credit analysts, financial analysts, financial planners, private wealth managers or as many other specialists.
“Students see value in our program because they understand opportunities extend far beyond what is happening at any given moment in time,” Goyal said.
While banks may be pulling back on the reins right now, Goyal said, banking industry managers know there are never enough well-trained people available for careers in banking. That’s why the banking industry in Florida has been so supportive of SPC’s banking degree program.
Goyal said he expects SPC’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Banking program to continue to grow at a healthy rate.