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A bank examiner has the task of making sure that properly chartered banks are operating legally, ethically, and within the requirements that made it possible for the bank to begin operations in the first place. In the United States, he or she is employed by the Federal Reserve Bank and is sworn to uphold the standards set by that institution. Here are some examples of the types of investigation that a bank examiner will do into the bank operations of any chartered banking institution operating within the United States.
One of the first things that a bank examiner is concerned with is the compliance of the bank with the requirements set by the Federal Reserve in regard to assets. Generally, a bank must have a minimum amount of assets in hand in order to begin operations. He or she will seek to verify that a bank is maintaining at least that minimum amount, thus ensuring that the bank is strong enough to meet the demands for the types of financial transactions that the entity offers to customers.
Second, the bank examiner will look into the general banking services and banking operations associated with member banks. One of these procedures involves reviewing the lending policies that are in place for the bank. Another would be to make sure that debits and credits are posted to customer accounts within guidelines that are set by both the bank and by the Federal Reserve. The purpose behind the monitoring of bank activities is to make sure that any type of task that is performed within the bank meets the federal guidelines that provide the basis for the charter and operation of banks in the United States. Any policy or procedure that, in the opinion of the examiner, is not squarely in keeping with federal policies will result in notification to amend the policy, or face the potential loss of recognition by the Federal Reserve System.
Third, each bank examiner is associated with one of the regional Federal Reserve Banks that are found around the country. Along with monitoring the functions of member banks, the examiner is also responsible for monitoring the activities of the reserve bank that he or she is connected with. This ensures that the system of federally operated reserve banks are always in compliance with governmental regulations, and that the banks remain in a position to evaluate member banks and assist them in making changes if necessary.
Typically, a bank examiner will have an extensive background in the field of finance and accounting. This background often includes a number of years of work experience, as well as solid educational credentials. Because of the high level of responsibility associated with the position, it often takes years before obtaining a position in this career field. The position requirements are strenuous, ensuring that only the most qualified of persons are able to earn the title of bank examiner.