“FCA is my first job out of Iowa State University, where I earned a B.S. in finance. Growing up in Iowa, I worked in my family’s shop repairing large farm equipment and also worked for local farmers in the summers and at harvest time. I knew I wanted to go into banking, so when I attended a career fair at Iowa State and talked to two FCA examiners from the Bloomington office, I felt that FCA was a good fit for me. I started right after graduation in May 2006.
“I initially worked in FCA’s Staff Development Division (SDD), where I learned the examination function through formal classroom instruction and on-the-job training. The on-the-job training included participating in various examination activities at associations and banks throughout the United States. While on site, I would examine all facets of the organization, including capital, assets, management, earnings, liquidity, and interest rate sensitivity, with guidance and assistance from my trainer and other experienced examiners. Two years later I moved to another team, where I directly assisted the examiner-in-charge (EIC) in the oversight and examination of one large association. In October 2009, I completed the FCA Commissioning Test and became a commissioned FCA examiner. I now have EIC responsibilities.
“On a typical day in the office, I start up my computer and check for e-mails from my contacts at associations and banks. I complete oversight activities, such as reviewing board minutes, audits, business plans, annual reports, financial statements, and credit reports.
“On a typical day on site, I work from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The on-site work involves either reviewing loans all week or reviewing loans the first couple of days and working on examination sections the remainder of the week. For loan reviews, we pull a sample of loans to review and divide them among different examiners. I find the diversity of loans in Farm Credit System institutions very interesting—dairy, swine, beef, renewable fuels, corn, soybeans, cotton, the list goes on. We talk to loan officers about any concerns we have about certain loans. We classify the loans according to their quality and determine whether our rating agrees with the association’s. We also need to reach conclusions about the adequacy of each program or section and make sure the institution is in compliance with regulations.
“I’ve always considered myself a detail person, but this job has really honed my attention to detail. I’ve improved my writing—you do a lot of writing—and my communication skills have definitely improved. The job of a bank examiner requires constant communication with colleagues, FCA management, association management, and boards of directors.
“Before I accepted the job, I thought the travel aspect would be challenging, but it hasn’t been an issue for me. It’s been pretty easy to deal with, and I enjoy traveling and seeing different areas around the country while meeting people, especially association personnel. Some months you don’t travel at all; other months you travel quite a bit. Whatever it is, your travel is scheduled and you typically know when you’re going on site well in advance. I estimate that 40 to 50 percent of my time so far has involved traveling to training sessions or examinations.
“The benefits at FCA made it one of my top picks for employment as FCA is very competitive in that regard. Work schedules are flexible and provide significant time for family purposes. I’m on a 4-10 schedule, working 10-hour days and having every Friday off. One of the best parts about working for FCA is the staff. There are always staff members available who are willing to help and assist you in order to see you succeed. I can see myself staying with this job for a long time because I truly enjoy what I do.”
- Patrick Fairchild, examiner, Bloomington
- Jennifer Thompson, examiner, Dallas
- Kevin McAdoo, associate examiner, level 3, McLean
- Sarah Kreger, retired certified IT specialist, McLean
- Michael Anderson, program manager, IT/Operations Examination, Denver
- Robert Coleman, Director, Office of Examination, and FCA Chief Examiner, McLean