Financial examiners ensure that banks and other 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 examiners 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 borrowers based on race, ethnicity, gender, or other factors and from using predatory lending practices.
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 and other accounting documents.
- Recommend corrective actions.
- Provide information and guidance on laws, rules, and regulations.
- Establish guidelines that comply with new regulations.
- Draft reports and communicate the results of their analysis to clients in a clear manner.
- Write correspondence to regulated-entity personnel to obtain documents and explain determinations.
Financial examiners work for banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions and for state or federal government agencies. Their jobs are important in keeping financial institutions fiscally sound and protecting consumers from harmful lending practices.
Financial Examiner Salary
A financial examiner's salary can vary depending on location, experience, and employer. Hourly figures are based on a 40-hour workweek.
- Median Annual Salary: $80,180 ($38.55/hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $154,590 ($74.32/hour)
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $42,150 ($20.26/hour)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018
Education, Training, & Certification
Financial examiners must have a four-year college degree and are often required to be certified.
- Education: Financial examiners must earn a bachelor's degree with coursework in accounting, finance, and economics. Some financial examiner jobs, including those with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 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 hire a job candidate only if they have one of the three designations SOFE offers: Accredited Financial Examiner, Certified Financial Examiner, and Automated Examination Specialist. To become certified, candidates must 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 of experience and earning a master's degree in accounting or business administration or becoming a certified public accountant, financial examiners can advance to a senior examiner position.
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 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.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in this field will grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for financial examiners may rise or fall based on changes in federal regulations.
Financial examiners usually work in offices, and they often travel to inspect bank records on-site.
Financial examiners typically work full-time during regular business hours.
How to Get the Job
WRITE A TARGETED RESUME AND COVER LETTER
Create a resume that plays up your strengths and sets you apart from other candidates. Write a cover letter specific to the job; don't send a generic one that shows you didn't take the time to consider the unique aspects of a given job.
REHEARSE COMMONLY ASKED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Human resources representatives and hiring managers often ask the same types of questions when conducting interviews. To prepare for your interview, learn what those questions are and practice the best responses to them.
Comparing Similar Jobs
People who are interested in becoming financial examiners may also be interested in the following careers, which are listed with their median annual salary:
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018