For professionals looking to take the credit analyst career path, they need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business, finance or accounting, or at least an associated degree and relevant experience in a financial institution. Credit analysts work in the credit department of a bank or other financial institution, and their main role is to assess the creditworthiness of potential borrowers.
They also review the financial performance of the bank’s existing borrowers to assess their progress in meeting debt obligations, i.e., interest and principal payments. In most institutions, credit analysts work directly with individual and corporate borrowers. In other institutions, credit analysts are required to work hand-in-hand with loan officers or sales agents who deal with customers directly.
A credit analyst is required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business, finance or accounting, or at least an associated degree and relevant experience in a financial institution.
The entry-level position for a credit analyst is a junior credit analyst, and they can rise to the level of a credit manager or senior credit analyst.
Credit analysts work in banks, credit card companies, and credit rating agencies.
Credit Analyst Educational Qualifications
When recruiting a credit analyst, most financial institutions consider candidates who have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree in a quantitative field such as accounting, finance, economics, commerce, or other related fields. The disciplines cover key credit analysis courses such as financial statement analysis, money and banking, ratio analysis, business law, principles of lending, etc.
Employers may also consider candidates with an associate degree and qualifying experience in a financial institution. An associate or a bachelor’s degree is required for entry-level positions, while significant relevant work experience may be required for placement into senior positions in the credit department. Most companies offer on-the-job training for entry-level positions to make the transition easy for recent graduates.
Some financial institutions may also require candidates to have specific industry certifications. Credit analysis certifications equip students with specific skills and industry knowledge to help them perform their responsibilities effectively. An example of a popular industry certification is the Credit Risk Certification (CRC) that is offered by the Risk Management Association. The CRC is offered to credit professionals with at least three years of relevant experience in a bank or other financial institution. Industry certification may be required for senior credit analyst positions.
Credit Analyst Skills
A recruiter may require the following skills from potential candidates for the position of a credit analyst:
1. Attention to detail
Credit analysis involves reviewing multiple documents such as financial statements, credit reports, and loan documentation, and the credit analyst is required to analyze every piece of data in the documents. Any errors, omissions, and signs of fraud must be detected early enough before the loan goes to the approval stage. The analyst must also verify the authenticity of the financial data provided.
2. Financial analysis
A credit analyst should have good financial analysis skills. They should be able to read and analyze financial reports to assess the financial stability of a potential borrower. For example, the analyst should be able to create a financial model of a merger, acquisition, or any other transaction to determine the impact of a change in one variable on the final returns.
3. Financial software
Most of the credit analysis work is performed using financial software such as Microsoft Excel. A credit analyst should be comfortable using such tools to perform financial analysis and use the information obtained to make decisions.
4. Good communication skills
The role of a credit analyst requires constant communication with the client or credit analysis team. A credit analyst should have good written and oral communication skills to be able to communicate decisions to all the parties involved. The analyst should have good report-writing skills to compile periodic reports to be submitted to the senior credit analyst, top management, and investors.
5. Multitasking skills
One of the skills that employers want to see in a potential employee is the ability to multitask so that they can do more for less. A credit analyst should be able to balance competing demands in order to meet the needs of different clients without lagging behind on one project. They should be able to rotate their time and energy from one project to another while addressing the most pressing demands first.
Career Paths for a Credit Analyst
The junior credit analyst position is the entry-level post for students who recently graduated in a qualifying discipline such as accounting, commerce, or economics. Hiring managers may also consider candidates with an associate degree and relevant experience in a financial institution.
A credit analyst with an associate degree may be assigned responsibilities that deal with consumer evaluation, while responsibilities that involve business credit evaluation are assigned to analysts with a bachelor’s degree since the latter requires a greater understanding of credit functions.
Credit analysts who have accumulated several years of experience and have impressed their supervisors may be elevated to the position of a senior credit analyst. The more senior position comes with greater responsibilities. They may be tasked with supervising a team of junior credit analysts, managing the analytical department, and making critical decisions for the credit department.
CFI is the official provider of the global Commercial Banking & Credit Analyst (CBCA)™ certification program, designed to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst. To keep advancing your career, the additional resources below will be useful: