Bureau of Labor Statistics

Financial Examiners

financial examiners image
Financial examiners ensure compliance with laws governing financial institutions and transactions.
Quick Facts: Financial Examiners
2020 Median Pay $81,430 per year
$39.15 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, 2019 66,900
Job Outlook, 2019-29 7% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 4,900

Summary

What Financial Examiners Do

Financial examiners ensure compliance with laws that govern institutions handling monetary transactions.

Work Environment

Most financial examiners work for the finance and insurance industry, the federal government, or state governments. Most financial examiners work full time.

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.

Pay

The median annual wage for financial examiners was $81,430 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of financial examiners is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Financial examiners will be in demand as financial institutions seek help with federal regulatory compliance.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for financial examiners.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of financial examiners with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about financial examiners by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Financial Examiners Do

Financial examiners
Financial examiners working in consumer compliance monitor lending activity to ensure that borrowers are treated fairly.

Financial examiners ensure compliance with laws that govern institutions handling monetary transactions. They review balance sheets, evaluate the risk level of loans, and assess bank management.

Duties

Financial examiners typically do the following:

  • Monitor the condition of banks and other financial institutions
  • Review balance sheets, operating income and expense accounts, and loan documentation to confirm an institution's 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 an institution
  • 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

Financial examiners
Financial examiners typically work in offices. They frequently have to travel to inspect a bank onsite.

Financial examiners held about 66,900 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of financial examiners were as follows:

Credit intermediation and related activities 41%
Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities 16
Federal government 11
Management of companies and enterprises 9
State government, excluding education and hospitals 7

Financial examiners typically work in offices. They frequently have to travel to inspect a bank onsite.

Work Schedules

Most financial examiners work full time.

How to Become a Financial Examiner

Financial examiners
Professional certification, although not required, indicates competency for financial examiners who have it.

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, business, finance, or a related field.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although it is not required, professional certification indicates competencies for financial examiners who have it. The Society of Financial Examiners (SOFE) offers the Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE) and the Certified Financial Examiner (CFE) designations. Both may be earned after completing extensive requirements and passing a series of examinations. Continuing education is required to maintain these designations.

Some financial examiners become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). CPAs are licensed by their state’s Board of Accountancy. Becoming a CPA requires passing a national exam and meeting other state requirements.

Training

Once hired, financial examiners receive on-the-job training. Entry-level workers learn their job duties while supervised by senior examiners. The length of training varies but typically lasts more than 1 year.

Advancement

After a few years of experience, financial examiners may advance to a senior examiner position. Senior examiners handle more complex cases and may lead examination teams. Requirements for these positions vary, but employers often prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in either accounting or business administration or who are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Financial examiners need 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 minutiae when reviewing balance sheets in order to identify risky assets.

Math skills. Financial examiners must do calculations and monitor balance sheets to ensure that a financial institution has available cash.

Writing skills. Financial examiners regularly write reports on the safety and soundness of financial institutions. They must be able to explain technical information clearly.

Pay

Financial Examiners

Median annual wages, May 2020

Financial examiners

$81,430

Financial specialists

$73,840

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for financial examiners was $81,430 in May 2020. 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 $43,890, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $159,120.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for financial examiners in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government $124,070
Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities 92,930
Management of companies and enterprises 87,810
State government, excluding education and hospitals 74,500
Credit intermediation and related activities 72,560

Most financial examiners work full time.

Job Outlook

Financial Examiners

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Financial examiners

7%

Total, all occupations

4%

Financial specialists

4%

 

Employment of financial examiners is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, 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 8 percent from 2019 to 2029 in the finance and insurance industry.

At the federal level, the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has increased employment of financial examiners in recent years. However, changes to this agency and overall budget constraints in the federal government may limit employment growth. Employment of financial examiners in the federal government is projected to decline 4 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Job Prospects

About 4,900 openings for financial examiners are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Jobseekers with 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, 2019-29

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Financial examiners

SOC Code13-2061
Employment, 201966,900
Projected Employment, 202971,800
Percent Change, 2019-297
Numeric Change, 2019-294,900
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of financial examiners.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Accountants and auditors

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Financial analysts

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Loan officers

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Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents

Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

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Bachelor's degree $55,640
Management analysts

Management Analysts

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Bachelor's degree $87,660
Personal financial advisors

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Private detectives and investigators

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Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 9, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Examiners,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-examiners.htm (visited June 10, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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