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Financial Examiner: Career Information and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a financial examiner. Get an overview of the various job duties as well as details about employment outlook and educational requirements.

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A financial examiner protects consumers from fraud by making sure that transactions are taking place as documented at financial institutions like banks. While most financial examiners hold a bachelor's degree, some employers will allow individuals with associate's degrees to hold the position as long as they also have specialized experience.

Essential Information

Financial examiners protect consumer interests by ensuring that everything is in compliance at financial institutions. These professionals may help with changes required by new governmental rules and regulations and may be in charge of recommending changes. Because job titles for financial examiners vary quite widely, so do educational requirements.

Required Education Bachelor's degree or an associate's degree with specialized experience
Other Requirements Optional certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 10%*
Average Salary (2015) $88,310 annually*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Job Duties

Because money put into a financial institution almost never just stays where it was put, financial examiners are needed by securities firms, credit unions, banks, insurance companies and other places where money is invested and deposited. All of these types of institutions take the money that people deposit and use it for a number of other things that earn them more money. A financial examiner comes in regularly to look over all of the financial statements, ledgers, account reports and other paperwork to ensure that when the customers who deposited the money come calling for it, it will be there for them to take out.

If a financial examiner doesn't feel that all the proof he or she needs has been supplied by the institution, further information is requested. Financial examiners often meet with people of all sorts within the bank or other institution, including lawyers, accountants and directors. When a company decides that it wants to take a significant action, such as buying or merging with another company, examiners read over the paperwork to see what the effect on the consumer will be.

Rules and regulations are in a constant state of flux, so when a law changes and financial institutions must change their policies, financial examiners provide assistance. Examiners must often recommend changes themselves. Overall, these individuals help protect consumer interests by ensuring that everything is kept in order at financial institutions.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that financial examiners earned average salaries of $88,310 as of May 2015. Employment of these professionals was projected to rise 10% during the 2014-2024 decade, the BLS noted, which was a faster-than-average rate. During this time, new government regulations were expected to drive employment growth.

Educational Requirements

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, financial examiners can be found in many different job titles. Some of them include compliance analyst or officer, internal auditor, finance director or as officers for specific acts. Two examples are the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) creating CRA officers and the Bank Secrecy Act-Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) officers (www.onetcenter.org).

The educational requirements for these positions can vary quite widely but in most government cases the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that these individuals need either a bachelor's degree in a financial area or an associate's degree with specialized experience in their specific areas. Additional knowledge of rules and regulations may be necessary for those working in some positions such as BSA/AML or CRA officer (www.bls.gov).

Certification in this field is possible through the Society of Financial Examiners (SOFE); titles include Accredited Financial Examiner, Automated Examination Specialists and Certified Financial Examiner (www.sofe.org). The credential is based upon one's education and experience along with successful completion of an exam.

Financial examiners are on the side of the customer, or consumer. They sift through the complexities of banking transactions to ensure those businesses are being compliant. A bachelor's degree is typically the necessary education to enter this fast-growing field.

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