Financial examiners ensure that banks, securities firms and other financial institutions comply with applicable laws and regulations. They are often employed by financial and insurance firms, as well as by federal and state government agencies.
Financial examiners conduct complex examinations. They develop, present and discuss their findings, and make recommendations for corrective actions. These professionals also typically evaluate board and management oversight of an organization’s compliance programs, and develop and implement supervision strategies for regulated entities.
Duties may include reviewing balance sheets, income and expense accounts, and loan documentation. Some financial examiners may be involved in training and supervising other examiners. In addition, examiners are tasked with reviewing new regulations and laws, and establishing guidelines for procedures and policies.
Financial examiners may focus on helping borrowers avoid predatory loans. Others work in risk scoping, evaluating the health of financial institutions, and ensuring the safety of their loans and their ability to handle unexpected losses.
Specific duties for financial examiners may include:
- Reviewing lending, deposit and other transactions to ensure compliance
- Identifying potentially unfair, deceptive, abusive or discriminatory acts or practices
- Preparing reports on an institution’s safety and soundness
- Examining minutes from meetings of managers and boards of directors
- Checking internal control procedures by verifying and inspecting cash reserves, assigned collateral and bank-owned securities
Job Outlook and Salary Range for Financial Examiners
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of financial examiners is projected to grow by 10% nationwide through 2024, which is faster than the average rate for all occupations. Demand should be driven by implementation of new financial regulations. In addition, the creation of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2010 has led to the need for more financial examiners.
According to a BLS survey, financial examiners earned a 2016 median annual wage of $79,280, with the top 10% earning more than $148,390. Average wages were higher for federal employees.
As with any occupation, educational qualifications and work experience will affect employment opportunities and salary potential. Local market conditions generally are also a factor.
Education and Training for Financial Examiners
Financial examiners must typically hold a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting or a related field. Some employers may prefer candidates with professional certifications, such as the Certified Treasury Professional, Accredited Financial Examiner, Certified Financial Examiner or Automated Examination Specialist.
Core competencies for financial examiners include math, writing and analytical skills. They must also be detail-oriented.
Entry-level financial examiners often undergo on-the-job training to learn basic job duties and the employer’s policies and procedures. With experience, financial examiners may have the opportunity to advance to a senior examiner or compliance officer position, the BLS notes. Advanced positions may require additional education, such as a master’s degree, professional certification or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.
Military Occupational Specializations
Skills required of financial examiners in the civilian job market are also utilized in certain military occupational roles:
- U.S. Army roles include financial management technician and financial manager.
- In the U.S. Navy, roles include finance and accounting.
- U.S. Marine Corps roles include financial management officer.
- U.S. Air Force roles include cost analysis officer and financial management officer.