“One thing I really like about this job is that there isn’t a typical day. About the only thing we do on a daily basis is check our e-mail. Otherwise, we work on different assignments ranging from general oversight to specific projects, so there is no monotony.
“I started at FCA in June 2006, a month after I graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in finance. My family owns a small cattle operation and a pecan orchard, and since I was leaning toward a career in banking, FCA seemed to be a good fit. You don’t need to have a farming background, though; one person who started the same time as I did had no farming experience.
“One of the most appealing parts of this job is the amount of information you learn practically as soon as you step through the door. You get the big picture of the System and the association you are assigned to. When you go on site, you look at loans every time, but your assignments change each time so you can get broad experience in all the examination areas.
“While on site, examiners analyze the five Cs of credit—character, condition, capital, collateral, and capacity—to classify loans. We make sure loans are classified correctly by the association so it is aware of and addressing the risk in its loan portfolio. We also analyze the portfolio to see if it is diversified and not concentrated too much in any one segment.
“We look at several aspects of the operation to ensure the association is operating in a safe and sound manner and adhering to FCA regulations. Then we write up our findings from our off-site and on-site oversight activities. The examiner in charge analyzes our reports and uses the information to generate a report of examination for that institution to present to its board of directors.
“When I’m in the office, I analyze allowance for loan loss, review board minutes, perform quarterly oversights—there’s such a wide variety of projects. As a level 1 examiner, I mostly work on my assigned association, but I also get assignments for other associations to gain more experience.
“All new hires are assigned a mentor; however, anyone in the office can be used as a mentor. My coworkers have been very helpful and are great resources. If they don’t know an answer, they will find it for you.
“My travel requirement has been below 50 percent, but it can reach that threshold in the first two or three years because you are traveling for both training and on-site examinations. It fluctuates after that, depending on which examination team you are assigned to. But I’m enjoying the travel; it’s an opportunity to see a lot of different places. I finish work at 5 and then go out to dinner with my team members to neat little restaurants that you won’t find anywhere else.
“We work hard during the day but try to enjoy the different travel locations after work, too. For instance, my first trip with FCA was to a team meeting in the McLean [metro Washington, D.C.] office. After work, a large group of us participated in a softball game and went sightseeing in Washington to see the monuments, the Capitol, and the White House. In Dallas, some of us enjoyed a Dallas Stars hockey game after attending a training course in the field office there.
“For a training on fundamentals of appraisal review, we visited farms outside of Austin, and during an on-site exam in Lubbock, we visited a cotton gin. That was a great experience for most of the team who had never been to a cotton gin before, and especially for those who didn’t have a farming background.
“I’ve really enjoyed working at FCA. Being a Government job, it has great benefits. And from a professional standpoint, I’ve definitely learned a lot from the very beginning.”
- 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, FCA Chief Examiner, McLean