Bank Examiners


Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are interested in entering this profession, you should begin laying a solid college prep foundation during high school. Take math courses, such as algebra and geometry, statistics, and business courses. Also, take as many computer science courses as you can. You will be using computers throughout your career, and the more comfortable you are with this tool the better. You should also take English classes to develop good writing and communication skills. Researching, compiling reports, and presenting your findings will be a large part of your job as a bank examiner.

Postsecondary Training

After high school, the next step on your road to becoming a bank examiner is to get a college degree. Typical majors for this field include accounting, economics, business administration, commercial or banking law, or other business-related subjects. Once you have graduated from college, you may choose to work immediately for a regulatory agency or you may gain applied business experience by working, for example, for a financial institution. Either option is acceptable, though more and more regulatory agencies are actively recruiting candidates who have some business experience. Another possibility is to complete your education while working at the same time through such programs as the OCC's Financial Management Internship Program (see the Web site Remember, though, that whatever route you pick, you won't become a full-fledged bank examiner overnight. Those who begin their careers working for a regulatory agency generally start as assistant or associate examiners. If you enter the field after gaining business experience, you may start at a higher-level position, but it will still take some time and training to become a bank examiner.

Regulatory agencies provide rigorous training for their bank examiners. Assistant bank examiners must take a series of courses and tests during their first several years as employees of a regulatory agency. They also gain on-the-job experience by working on examination teams. To become a bank examiner, you will need five or more years of experience in auditing or examining financial institutions. In addition, candidates with the best potential for advancement have experience with evaluating computer risk management in financial institutions. That is, they have a great deal of knowledge about assessing the security and flexibility of a financial institution's computer system.

Other Education or Training

Government agencies and state and local finance and banking associations offer a variety of continuing education opportunities. For example, BAI, an organization for financial professionals, also offers a number of courses that can help individuals prepare for careers as examiners. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Some employers require their employees to have or give promotion preference to employees with industry certifications, such as certified financial analyst (offered by the CFA Institute), certified fraud examiner (offered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners), or certified information systems auditor (offered by ISACA). Others, such as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, require applicants to have a certified public accountant certificate.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Five or more years of experience in auditing or examining financial institutions is required to become a bank examiner.

Successful bank examiners are committed to lifelong learning. Even after you have reached the position of bank examiner, it will be important to stay on top of new information technology developments, laws and regulations, and changes in the field. Also, you should be able to work well with others since you will be working with teams of examiners as well as interacting with professionals at the financial institutions being examined. Be prepared to travel as part of your job; often you will be sent from one financial institution to another to perform examinations. Finally, if you enjoy detailed and analytical work with numbers, this may be the field for you.