Credit analysts (or credit risk analysts) undertake risk assessment analysis of various types of lending proposals from the
straightforward to the very complex, which can be for amounts in excess of £50 million.
Credit analysis offers a variety of career opportunities within the increasingly diverse financial services sector. Roles and
functions can vary according to the nature of the employer. Credit analysts are employed within a variety of financial
institutions ranging from banks (commercial or investment banking) to credit rating agencies and investment companies.
The role demands a strong combination of interpersonal, analytical and decision-making skills.
Typical Work Activities
The role is very much centred on risk management: risks must be understood and communicated and credit exposures
kept in line with the employer's limit on risk bearing.
Typical work activities will depend on the business of the employer and the specific role, but can include:
• providing quality service to internal customers through undertaking risk assessment analysis of various types of
lending proposals, from the straightforward to the very complex;
• analysing financial information, such as statements, management accounts and cash flow statements;
• developing models of credit information to predict patterns and trends using specialist statistical software;
• assessing the credit worthiness of client companies;
• advising and recommending changes to policy and procedure;
• liaising with other staff within the company, such as account managers and product specialists;
• helping to ensure that procedures comply with sector standards;
• undertaking investigations regarding credit proposals;
• providing consultancy services on credit issues and quality to other internal functions, or perhaps to clients;
• preparing reports on credit proposals;
• developing and improving the quality of credit submissions;
• keeping up to date with issues that may affect credit decisions;
• staying informed about the legal, compliance and market-risk-related issues involved in the approval of credit.
The function can be seen in its broadest sense in the commercial banking sector, where the emphasis is now very much
on business banking. Credit applications are presented to the credit analyst, following a very structured format, and the
credit analyst would then make a decision based on a number of factors, such as:
• the purpose of the application;
• customer credit-worthiness;
• Range of typical starting salaries: £22,000 - £35,000 (salary data collected Sept 05).
• Salaries with three to five years' experience: £35,000 - £50,000 (salary data collected Sept 05).
• Range of typical salaries at senior levels: £55,000 - £80,000 and over (salary data collected Sept 05).
• Salary depends on organisation, level of experience and geographical location. Investment banks will tend to offer
the highest salaries in the range. Excellent benefits packages are commonly offered, eg low interest mortgages,
non-contributory pension, health cover, cheap loans, share options, etc.
• Working hours are typically nine to five, but extra hours may be required depending on workload and the
requirement to meet deadlines. This is more likely to be the case in the investment banking sector.
• The office environment is formal and the work mainly involves desk-based financial analysis and report-writing,
teamwork with other specialists, and frequent internal meetings.
• Self-employment/freelance work is sometimes possible. Opportunities include freelance financial consultancy,
business analysis, and working as a broker.
• Some employers offer career breaks or re-entry schemes. Job sharing and part-time working may be possible, but
very much depend on the nature of the employer.
• Gender balance varies according to the nature of the employer.
• Jobs are quite widely available as there are clearing banks in all regional centres. The City offers the widest career
opportunities given the concentration of financial institutions. However, Scotland is one of the UK's main financial
regions and is a major world fund management centre.
• Business dress is a common requirement given that employment is in the financial sector. Long hours could prove
disruptive and the work stressful, especially in investment banking, an area known for pressurised working
• Travel within a working day is occasional. Absence from home at night and overseas work or travel are
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Whilst degrees that include quantitative elements or provide financial knowledge can be helpful, a strictly finance-based
degree is not a requirement. The following subjects, however, may increase your chances:
• operational research;
A good honours degree plus one to two years' relevant professional experience is usually required. However, the
opportunities for a varied career are immense and employers look for adaptable individuals with a wide range of
transferable skills which, in some cases, are more important than degree subject; many employers are just as keen to
attract applications from graduates with degrees as diverse as music, marine science and geology.
Entry is also possible through graduate training programmes, especially in many large financial institutions who normally
provide training in other areas first, such as business or corporate banking. For entry on to these schemes, employers
look for a good honours degree and a high standard of numeracy combined with excellent interpersonal and
communication skills. Graduates who have completed professional training in other areas, such as accountancy, are also
In general, financial service organisations do not regard an HND as a suitable qualification for their graduate training
schemes. However, there could be exceptions for Diplomates with related work experience (opportunities of this kind are
likely to be better with smaller organisations). A small number have progressed into this area of work without a degree by
completing professional examinations (mainly banking), or through related professional experience.
A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is desirable, particularly for those who possess a non-relevant first degree.
Pre-entry experience in a related professional area, such as accounting, computing, law or banking, can be helpful.
Alternatively, relevant internships or insight programmes undertaken during study, for example with investment banks,
can boost applications. Relevant part-time or temporary work is also useful.
Potential candidates will need to show evidence of the following:
• a reasonable level of numeracy;
• good IT literacy as information technology now plays a part in every aspect of banking;
• excellent interpersonal, team-working and communication skills;
• a high standard of personal integrity and decisiveness, in addition to problem-solving and influencing skills.
Many large financial institutions have interests outside the UK and graduates with language skills are increasingly
encouraged to apply.
The market for this area of work has broadened as building societies and insurance companies have moved into wider
areas of financial services such as banking and investment. Some graduate trainee positions with banks, investment
banks, investment houses and credit rating agencies can lead to the post of credit analyst on completion of training.
From 1 October 2006 it will be illegal to discriminate against candidates on age grounds but, in practice, age may
continue to be used in selection criteria by some employers. Some employers may value older candidates with varied
work experience. For example, there are opportunities for mature professionals joining from related sectors such as
accountancy, law and IT. For more information on equality and diversity in the job market and how to handle
discrimination, see the AGCAS publication A Level Playing Field (www.prospects.ac.uk/links/discrimination).
Training depends on the nature of the employer; the range of opportunities reflects the diversity of organisations that
employ credit analysts.
Relevant professional bodies include:
• Institute of Financial Services (IFS) (www.ifslearning.com);
• Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (CIOBS) (www.ciobs.org.uk);
• Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) (www.fla.org.uk).
For professional qualifications, exemptions are given where appropriate and in-house courses are usually provided.
For those working in the investment banking sector, the qualifications of the Securities and Investment Institute (SII)
(www.securities-institute.org.uk) may be appropriate. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification might also
apply for those working in investment, particularly companies with global interests. This qualification originates from the
US and is offered by the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute (www.cfainstitute.org).
Graduate training schemes will offer a structured route through a company's functions. Once in a credit analysis role,
training usually involves informal training with the support of more experienced colleagues, as well as additional courses
and seminars as required. Some entrants may have already acquired professional training in another area. For example,
those with a professional accountancy background will have completed training with one of the accountancy bodies.
Page 2 of 4 See also AGCAS Sector Briefings for an overview of job sectors - www.prospects.ac.uk/links/sectorbs
Generally, the role offers a wide variety of career development options for all entrants although progression will vary
according to employer. For example, working as a credit analyst in a clearing bank (high street bank) is very much a step
on a career path, with movement possible to and from business banking and corporate banking, and also to other banks,
as well as to other companies in the financial services sector. With experience, some may move into working in
Similarly, graduates who train with other organisations, such as investment banks, foreign banks and investment houses,
could also develop with their employer into more senior positions and possibly move into other functions or other
Those who join companies on graduate training programmes are likely to progress into management positions.
Gaining experience in a number of areas, rather than specialising too early, can benefit career development. Progression
may also require changing employer (and thus relocating) to progress into new and more senior opportunities. Acquiring
specific qualifications post-entry can be a requirement for career progression with some employers.
Those who have moved into the role of credit analyst with professional qualifications, such as qualified accountants, will
have a particularly wide range of possible options.
Typical employers include:
• the banking sector, including clearing banks (high street banks), investment banks, foreign banks and investment
• credit rating agencies, specialist companies providing information relating to credit rating.
Demand for credit analysts has increased due to the conversion of some of the large building societies into banks during
the 90s and the entry of some insurance companies into banking and investment.
Job titles vary and posts might be advertised as credit risk analyst, risk analyst or credit scoring analyst. However, the
nature of the work can vary considerably, largely dependent on the employer. Roles in an investment bank, for instance,
could be very different to those in the commercial banking sector. At the extreme end of the scale, the work may be very
Sources of Vacancies
• Investor's Chronicle (www.investorschronicle.co.uk/public/home.html);
• The Banker (www.thebanker.com);
• The Economist (www.economist.com);
• Financial Times (www.ft.com);
• Financial World (formerly Chartered Banker)
• other national press.
Some recruitment agencies specialise in finance posts, but mainly for those with prior professional experience. They
• eFinancialCareers (www.efinancialcareers.co.uk);
• Jobs in Credit (www.jobsincredit.com).
Direct approaches to employers may work in addition to looking for advertised vacancies. Identify relevant contacts
through the websites of organisations such as the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) (www.fla.org.uk) and the
London Investment Banking Association (LIBA) (www.liba.org.uk).
• Chartered accountant
• Chartered management accountant
• Corporate treasurer
• Financial risk analyst
• Insurance risk surveyor
• Investment banker (corporate finance)
• Investment banker (operations)
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