Financial Examiners


Quick Facts: Financial Examiners
2017 Median Pay $81,690 per year 
$39.28 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Long-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2016 52,500
Job Outlook, 2016-26 10% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 5,100

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Financial Examiners Career, Salary, and Education Information

What Financial Examiners Do

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.

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Financial Examiners

 

Duties of Financial Examiners

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.


Work Environment for Financial Examiners

Financial examiners held about 52,500 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of financial examiners were as follows:

Credit intermediation and related activities: 33%

Federal government: 14%

Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities: 11%

Management of companies and enterprises: 11%

State government, excluding education and hospitals: 8%

Work Schedules

Most financial examiners worked full time in 2016.


How to Become a Financial Examiner

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.

Important 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 in order to identify risky assets.

Math skills. Financial examiners need good 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.


salaries for Financial Examiners

The median annual wage for financial examiners was $81,690 in May 2017. 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 $47,400, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $153,850.

 

In May 2017, the median annual wages for financial examiners in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government: $118,040

Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities: $90,800

Management of companies and enterprises: $82,360

Credit intermediation and related activities: $76,300

State government, excluding education and hospitals: $68,990


Job Outlook for financial examiners

Employment of financial examiners is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, 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 11 percent from 2016 to 2026 in the finance and insurance industry.

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.

Employment projections data for Financial Examiners, 2016-2026:

Employment, 2016: 52,500

Projected Employment, 2026: 57,600

Change, 2016-2026: +10%, +5,100


Careers Related to financial examiners

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records. They ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. Accountants and auditors assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently.

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.

Loan Officers

Loan officers evaluate, authorize, or recommend approval of loan applications for people and businesses.

Management Analysts

Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.

Personal Financial Advisors

Personal financial advisors provide advice on investments, insurance, mortgages, college savings, estate planning, taxes, and retirement to help individuals manage their finances.

Private Detectives and Investigators

Private detectives and investigators search for information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They offer many services, such as verifying people’s backgrounds and statements, finding missing persons, and investigating computer crimes.

Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents determine how much is owed in taxes and collect tax from individuals and businesses on behalf of federal, state, and local governments. They review tax returns, conduct audits, identify taxes owed, and collect overdue tax payments.

OccupationENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION2017 MEDIAN PAY
Accountants and AuditorsBachelor's degree$69,350
Budget AnalystsBachelor's degree$75,240
Financial AnalystsBachelor's degree$84,300
Loan OfficersBachelor's degree$64,660
Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue AgentsBachelor's degree$53,130
Management AnalystsBachelor's degree$82,450
Personal Financial AdvisorsBachelor's degree$90,640
Private Detectives and InvestigatorsHigh school diploma or equivalent$50,700

Citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Examiners,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-examiners.htm