What Does a Financial Examiner Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

Financial Examiner

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Financial examiners ensure that banks and financial institutions comply with the laws and regulations that govern them and also see that financial and real estate transactions adhere to those rules. 

Financial Examiner Duties & Responsibilities

This job generally requires the ability to do the following:

  • Perform risk-focused financial examinations to determine solvency and compliance of banks and other financial institutions
  • Confirm institution assets and liabilities by reviewing balance sheets, accounts, and loan documentation
  • Recommend corrective actions as needed
  • Provide knowledge and guidance of laws, rules, and regulations
  • Establish guidelines that comply with new regulations
  • Draft reports and communicate results of analysis to clients in a clear, non-technical manner
  • Write correspondence to regulated entity personnel to obtain documents and explain determinations

    They may work in either risk assessment or consumer compliance.

    A financial examiner who specializes in risk assessment is responsible for the stability of the financial system, making certain that financial institutions offer safe loans and have cash available to cover unexpected losses.

    Consumer compliance work involves seeing that lending practices are fair to borrowers. They keep banks and other financial institutions from discriminating against them based on ethnicity, gender, or other factors, and from using​ predatory lending practices. 

    Financial Examiner Salary

    A financial examiner's salary can vary depending on location, experience, and employer.

    • Median Annual Salary: $80,180
    • Top 10% Annual Salary: $154,590
    • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $42,150

    Education Requirements & Qualifications

    • Education: Financial examiners must earn a bachelor's degree with coursework in accounting, finance, and economics. Some financial examiner jobs, including those with the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), an independent agency of United States federal government, require at least six semester hours in accounting.
    • Certification: A financial examiner may apply for certification from the Society of Financial Examiners (SOFE). While not all employers require this credential, many will only hire a job candidate who has one of three designations this organization offers: Accredited Financial Examiner, Certified Financial Examiner, and Automated Examination Specialist. To become certified you will have to pass a series of tests administered by SOFE.
    • Experience and Advancement: Entry-level employees receive on-the-job training from senior colleagues. After gaining several years' worth of experience, and earning a master's degree in accounting or business administration, or becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you may advance to the position of senior examiner.

    Financial Examiner Skills & Competencies

    These are the skills needed to succeed in a career as a financial examiner:

    • Reading comprehension: Excellent reading comprehension skills are needed to understand the many documents encountered on the job daily.
    • Attention to detail: It is essential to focus on all the elements of the financial statements and other material for review.
    • Writing skills: It's important to explain findings very clearly in written reports.
    • Analytical skills: The job involves analyzing data to determine the health of financial institutions.

    Job Outlook

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in this field will grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the 7% average for all occupations. Demand for financial examiners may rise or fall based on changes in federal regulations.

    Work Environment

    Financial examiners usually work in offices, and they often have to travel to inspect banks onsite.

    Work Schedule

    Financial examiners typically work full time during the regular business work week.

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