Financial examiners ensure compliance with laws that govern institutions handling monetary transactions. They review balance sheets, evaluate the risk level of loans, and assess bank management.


Financial examiners typically do the following:

  • Monitor the condition of banks and other financial institutions
  • Review balance sheets, operating income and expense accounts, and loan documentation to confirm an institution's assets and liabilities
  • Prepare reports that detail an institution’s safety and soundness
  • Examine the minutes of meetings of managers and directors
  • Train other examiners in the financial examination process
  • Review and analyze new regulations and policies to determine their impact on an institution
  • Establish guidelines for procedures and policies that comply with new and revised regulations

Financial examiners typically work in one of two main areas: risk assessment or consumer compliance.

Those working in risk assessment evaluate the health of financial institutions. Their role is to ensure that banks and other financial institutions offer safe loans and that they have enough cash on hand to manage unexpected losses. These procedures help ensure that the financial system as a whole remains stable. These examiners also evaluate the performance of bank managers.

Financial examiners working in consumer compliance monitor lending activity to ensure that borrowers are treated fairly. They ensure that banks extend loans that borrowers are likely to be able to pay back. They help borrowers avoid “predatory loans”—loans that may generate profit for banks through high interest payments but may be costly to borrowers and damage their credit scores. Examiners also ensure that banks do not discriminate against borrowers based on race, ethnicity, or other characteristics.

Work Environment

Financial examiners held about 62,800 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of financial examiners were as follows:

Credit intermediation and related activities 42%
Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities         14
Federal government 11
Management of companies and enterprises 9
State government, excluding education and hospitals 8

Financial examiners typically work in offices. They frequently have to travel to inspect a bank onsite.

Work Schedules

Most financial examiners work full time.

Education and Training

Financial examiners typically need a bachelor’s degree that includes some coursework in accounting. Entry-level examiners are trained on the job by senior examiners.


Financial examiners typically need a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation. A degree in business or a related field is common. Coursework should include accounting, finance, or related subjects.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although it is not required, professional certification indicates competencies for financial examiners who have it. The Society of Financial Examiners (SOFE) offers the Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE) and the Certified Financial Examiner (CFE) designations. Both may be earned after completing extensive requirements and passing a series of examinations. Continuing education is required to maintain these designations.

Some financial examiners become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). CPAs are licensed by their state’s Board of Accountancy. Becoming a CPA requires passing a national exam and meeting other state requirements.


Once hired, financial examiners receive on-the-job training. Entry-level workers learn their job duties while supervised by senior examiners. The length of training varies but typically lasts more than 1 year.


After a few years of experience, financial examiners may advance to a senior examiner position. Senior examiners handle more complex cases and may lead examination teams. Requirements for these positions vary, but employers often prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in either accounting or business administration or who are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).

Personality and Interests

Financial examiners typically have an interest in the Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a financial examiner, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Financial examiners should also possess the following specific qualities:

Analytical skills. Financial examiners need strong analytical skills to evaluate how well the managers of financial institutions are handling risk and whether the individual loans the institution makes are safe.

Detail oriented. Financial examiners must pay close attention to details when reviewing balance sheets to identify risky assets.

Math skills. Financial examiners need good basic math skills to monitor balance sheets and see if the bank’s or other financial institution’s available cash is dangerously low.

Writing skills. Financial examiners regularly write reports on the safety and soundness of financial institutions. They must be able to explain technical information clearly.


The median annual wage for financial examiners was $81,410 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,830, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $160,850.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for financial examiners in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government $125,840
Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities         101,770
Management of companies and enterprises 90,010
State government, excluding education and hospitals 81,220
Credit intermediation and related activities 77,030

Most financial examiners work full time.

Job Outlook

Employment of financial examiners is projected to grow 21 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 6,800 openings for financial examiners are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. 


Demand for these workers has risen, particularly in the financial industry, because of the need for banking institutions to comply with federal regulation. More of these institutions are hiring financial examiners to help navigate the regulatory environment and reduce the cost of compliance. Financial examiners also will continue to be needed at the federal level to enforce regulations.

For More Information

For more information about financial examiners, visit

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

For more information about the certification, visit

Society of Financial Examiners

For more information about the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license, the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and other designations, visit

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)




Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. On this site, you can take the Career Personality Profiler assessment, the Holland Code assessment, or the Photo Career Quiz.

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