If you have an analytical bent of mind and are interested in pursuing a career in the financial services sector, you can consider the position of a credit officer or credit manager. Credit managers are responsible for monitoring the risk exposure of their employers posed by the creditworthiness of customers availing of loan products from the company. Depending on their seniority, they could either be personally scrutinizing the credit profiles of customers at the application stage or even thereafter or leading a team of credit analysts with the responsibility of approving or rejecting loan applications. As the American economy recovers from the recession and customers look to acquire more homes, cars, and other assets with credit, it is expected that there will be more demand for credit managers. A brief guide on how you can become a credit manager:
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
Since the job profile of a credit manager is quite complex, virtually every employer will insist on applicants having a four-year bachelor’s degree preferably in finance but they will generally also be willing to look at related subjects like economics, mathematics, statistics, business administration, insurance, etc. As is usual in any employment situation, the reputation of the college you are getting the degree from will be a differentiator with the top-tier AACSB accredited business schools being the most preferred by employers. Your resume will get a big boost if you manage to do an internship with an established financial institution because that will allow you to put into practice what you have learned about financial analysis, including credit assessment, financial ratio analysis, and risk management.
Obtain Experience in Credit Analysis
To rise to the position of a credit manager, you will need to start at an entry-level position, typically that of a credit analyst. After you get hired, you will normally be familiarized by your employer with a combination of classroom lectures and on-the-job training, especially on how to handle the financial software used for credit analysis. Credit analysis is conducted not only by banks and credit unions but also by private finance companies like https://www.libertylending.com/, car dealerships, and mortgage brokerages. Typically, after getting a thorough exposure in credit analysis and risk assessment for about five to six years, you will find yourself ready for advancing to the position of a credit manager where you will be typically overseeing a team of credit analysts. According to https://www.indeed.com, the average salary of a credit manager in America is $56,273 per year.
Consider Obtaining a Post-Graduate Qualification
If you are ambitious and want to rise rapidly in the profession, you could think about adding a master’s degree to your academic qualifications. More employers are willing to look at people who have the determination to acquire more qualifications and who can be nurtured for taking care of increased responsibilities. You no longer have to leave your job to acquire an MBA because today you have the option of doing it part-time or even online or a speeded-up executive MBA course for working professionals. You will get the maximum benefit by majoring in specializations like finance, banking, risk management, etc. You can also take a look at the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree that some of the more advanced colleges are also offering.
Get A CFA Certification
Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst is purely optional; however, it can serve as a differentiating factor when your employer is looking at people who can be given more responsibilities. The prestigious CFA certification, offered by the Chartered Financial Institute, is aimed at analysts and managers with developed expertise of credit analysis. To apply for the certification, you need to have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of four years of work experience and adhere to the CFA Code of Ethics. You will also need to pass three tough examinations, each of which requires a minimum of 300 hours of study.
Qualities Required Of a Successful Credit Manager
To enjoy a successful career in credit analysis and risk assessment, a credit manager needs to have several qualities:
Analytical skills: Credit manager must feel at home perusing credit reports and personal and company financial reports. The ability to make sense out of the huge amount of information and spot aberrations is the hallmark of a good credit manager. It is the ability to see the patterns beyond the numbers and to investigate the relevant sources of information for a better insight to find out the real situation that separates a truly outstanding credit manager from an average one.
Advanced number-crunching skills: The modern-day credit analyst has innumerable data sources that he will need to investigate and understand so that he can form an understanding into the credit profile of the customer. Successful analysts will need to have great skill in processing data through computers so the ability to handle large and complex spreadsheets and other specialized analytical software is paramount.
Result-orientation: The credit analyst is the person who stands between the customer and the company and it is his approval or rejection that is vital to the process. Analysts who are too conservative will end up losing lucrative opportunities for the employer while if he is careless or cannot assess the risk properly, he will have exposed his company to the possibility of default and financial loss. A good credit manager is expected to understand what his customer wants and then work together with him so that he attains the necessary eligibility for the applied loan products. He also has to have very good communication and negotiation skills to be able to work with customers who have defaulted or are heading towards default.
Credit managers play a very critical role in companies and organizations that advance money to customers. He has the responsibility of analyzing all the information and taking the ultimate decision to qualify the applicant for the loan. He is also tasked with continuously monitoring the status of existing customers so that the chances of default are minimized. In cases of default, he has to exercise all his powers of communication and negotiation to save his employer from potential loss. The career path of qualified and proficient credit managers can be extremely rewarding.