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What Financial Examiners Do About this section

Financial examiners
Financial examiners working in consumer compliance monitor lending activity to ensure that borrowers are treated fairly.

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.

Duties

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 About this section

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

Financial examiners held about 70,800 jobs in 2020. 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 15
Federal government 10
Management of companies and enterprises 9
State government, excluding education and hospitals 7

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

Work Schedules

Most financial examiners work full time.

How to Become a Financial Examiner About this section

Financial examiners
Professional certification, although not required, indicates competency for financial examiners who have it.

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 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.

Training

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.

Advancement

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).

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Financial examiners need 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 minutiae when reviewing balance sheets in order to identify risky assets.

Math skills. Financial examiners must do calculations and monitor balance sheets to ensure that a financial institution has available cash.

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 About this section

Financial Examiners

Median annual wages, May 2021

Financial examiners

$81,410

Financial specialists

$77,300

Total, all occupations

$45,760

 

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 About this section

Financial Examiners

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Financial examiners

18%

Total, all occupations

8%

Financial specialists

5%

 

Employment of financial examiners is projected to grow 18 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 6,900 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.

Employment

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.

At the federal level, budget constraints may limit employment growth in agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Employment projections data for financial examiners, 2020-30
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Financial examiners

13-2061 70,800 83,500 18 12,700 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

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)

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Financial Examiners

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