Financial Examiner

Career Information

Financial Examiner
A financial examiner studies a spread sheet. Tim Hawley / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

A financial examiner ensures that banks and financial institutions comply with the laws and regulations that govern them and also sees that financial and real estate transactions adhere to those rules. He or she may work in either risk scoping or consumer compliance.

A financial examiner who specializes in risk scoping 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.

Quick Facts

  • Financial examiners' median annual salary was $79,280 in 2016.
  • In 2014, a little over 38,000 people worked in this occupation.
  • The largest employers were the Federal government, depository credit intermediation companies, state governments, and finance and insurance companies.
  • Most jobs were full-time.
  • The job outlook for this occupation is very good.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts, employment will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2024.

Roles and Responsibilities

These are some typical job duties taken from online ads for financial examiner positions found on Indeed.com:

  • "Perform risk focused financial examinations to determine solvency and compliance to statutes on behalf of Risk and Regulatory Consulting clients"
  • "Ensure the integrity of the regulatory system"
  • "Recommend corrective actions"
  • "Provide knowledge and guidance of insurance laws, rules, and 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, information and to explain determinations"

    How to Become a Financial Examiner

    If you would like to become a financial examiner, you need will to earn a bachelor's degree with coursework in accounting, finance, and economics. Some 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. Employers provide on-the-job training to entry-level workers.

    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.

    What Soft Skills Do You Need to Succeed in This Career?

    • Reading Comprehension: Excellent reading comprehension skills will allow you to understand the many documents you will encounter daily.
    • Attention to Detail: It is essential to focus on all the elements of the financial statements and other material you review.
    • Writing Skills: You will have to be able to explain things very clearly in written reports.
    • Analytical Skills: These are essential as you will have to analyze data to determine the health of financial institutions.

    How to Advance in This Occupation

    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. In this job, you will train entry-level workers.

    What Will Employers Expect From You?

    Here are some requirements from actual job announcements found on Indeed.com:

    • "Adapt to a changing work environment"
    • "Ability to travel in-state and out-of-state, for extended overnight periods"
    • "Ability to participate in presentations discussing examination findings"
    • "Ability to use independent judgment, and explain reasoning"
    • "Ability to work individually or in small project teams"

    Is This Occupation a Good Fit for You?

    Related Occupations

     DescriptionMedian Annual Wage (2016)Minimum Required Education/Training
    Tax ExaminerChecks individuals' or businesses' taxes documents to make sure they are filed properly$52,060Bachelor's Degree in Accounting or a Related Field
    AccountantMakes sure a company's, organization's, or individual's financial statements are accurate $68,150Bachelor's Degree in Accounting or a Related Field
    Loan OfficerHelps individuals and businesses obtain loans from banks and other financial institutions$63,650Bachelor's Degree in Finance, Economics, or a Related Field

    Sources:

    Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 (visited August 16, 2017).
    Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online (visited August 16, 2017).