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

Duties

Financial examiners typically do the following:

  • Monitor the financial condition of banks and other financial institutions
  • Review balance sheets, operating income and expense accounts, and loan documentation to confirm institution 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 the organization
  • 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.

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Work Environment

Financial examiners held about 60,900 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of financial examiners were as follows:

Credit intermediation and related activities 41%
Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities 14
Federal government 11
Management of companies and enterprises 10
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.

Education

Financial examiners typically need a bachelor’s degree. Although a specific major is usually not required, examiners generally need some coursework in accounting, finance, economics, or a related field. Examiners working for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) typically must have at least 6 semester hours in accounting.

Training

Once hired, financial examiners receive on-the-job training. Entry-level workers begin under the supervision of senior examiners, as they learn their job duties. The length of this training varies, but typically lasts over 1 year.

Advancement

After a few years of experience, financial examiners can advance to a senior examiner position. Senior examiners handle more complex cases, and can lead and direct examination teams. Requirements for these positions vary by employer but often a master’s degree in either accounting or business administration, or becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), makes jobseekers more competitive.

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.

Pay

The median annual wage for financial examiners was $81,090 in May 2019. 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 $43,500, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $158,200.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for financial examiners in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government $121,060
Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities 90,120
Management of companies and enterprises 55,550
Credit intermediation and related activities 74,830
State government, excluding education and hospitals 73.040

Most financial examiners work full time.

Job Outlook

Employment of financial examiners is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth for financial examiners will vary by industry group. Financial examiners will be in demand as financial institutions seek help with federal regulatory compliance.

Demand for these workers has risen in the financial industry because of the need for financial institutions to effectively comply with federal regulation. More financial institutions are hiring financial examiners to help navigate the regulatory environment and reduce the cost of compliance. Financial examiners’ employment is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028 in the finance and insurance industry.

At the federal level, the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau(CFPB) has increased employment of financial examiners in recent years. However, changes to this agency and overall budget constraints in the federal government may limit employment growth. Employment of financial examiners in the federal government is projected to show little or no change from 2018 to 2028.

Job Prospects

Financial examiners should face competition for jobs. Those with previous work experience in banking, insurance, or accounting, for example having worked as accountants and auditors or financial analysts, should have the best prospects.

For More Information

For more information about financial examiners, visit

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

 

FAQ

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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