Credit analysts assess a customer's credit report and determine the financial risk involved with a loan. At minimum, an associate's degree and work experience are required, though a bachelor's degree is typically preferred by employers.
The work of credit analysts is crucial to the success of banks and other financial institutions. These professionals help financial institutions minimize debt risk and maximize income by determining the risk involved in authorizing loans or credit lines.
Credit analysts might find work with an associate's degree in a business field and some related work experience, although employers typically prefer a bachelor's degree. Additionally, a master's degree might make a credit analyst more competitive in the job market. Depending on one's employer, industry certification through the Risk Management Association (RMA) might be required.
|Required Education||Associate's degree in business field with related work experience; bachelor's degree preferred; master's degree for improved job prospects|
|Certification||Voluntary industry certification through the RMA|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6%|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$69,680|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Employers usually prefer that credit analysts have a bachelor's degree, though in some cases an associate's degree combined with related work experience is acceptable. Majors that can prepare one for a career as a credit analyst include finance, accounting, economics, business and statistics. Earning a master's degree in one of these areas can help credit analysts stand out from the competition when seeking employment.
Some employers also require industry certification, such as the RMA-Credit Risk Certified (CRC) designation offered by the Risk Management Association (RMA). To qualify for this certification, a credit analyst must have at least five years of experience working in loan review; he or she must also participate in continuing education, pass an examination and become a member of RMA.
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Credit analysts analyze a customer's credit history and financial statements to determine the risk of handing out loans to the customer or extending the customer's line of credit. They also might check credit references and the customer's credit rating and review loan documentation. They are responsible for using the information that they find to establish a customer's credit limits. Other job duties of a credit analyst may be responsible for might include using statistical software to predict credit trends, informing customers of payment policies, resolving customer disputes, maintaining credit and collection files, suggesting quality improvements in credit policies and procedures, billing customers and making collection calls.
Credit analysts should be skilled in communications, customer service, writing and mathematics, as well as spreadsheet accounting and database programs. They should also have strong problem-solving, analytic, organizational, research and decision-making skills. Credit analysts should be able to work both independently and as part of a team. They should also have knowledge of financial institution operations, policies and procedures, and credit systems. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals in this field made a median salary of $69,680 in May 2015, and employment was expected to grow 6% from 2014-2024, which was about average.
At the heart of their job, credit analysts assess risk. They must possess strong mathematics, risk assessment and communication skills, along with a postsecondary degree. While one could land a job with an associate's degree and relevant experience, the more advanced degree one holds, the more likely they are to obtain employment.