This sector contains all our credit jobs. Credit professionals are often referred to as ‘credit risk managers’ ‘credit analysts’ or ‘credit officers’, while some banks simply use a seniority level followed by the key word – e.g ‘vice president, credit’. Whatever the title, over the course of their credit careers they are essentially tasked with reviewing credit applications from the bank’s clients (e.g. corporations wanting to borrow money) or from financial institutions who are the firm’s counterparties.

Credit risk is the risk of loss of principle if a borrower defaults on a loan repayment obligation. It arises whenever an individual or company expects to use future income to pay a current debt. Credit risk analysts and professionals help to mitigate this risk by preparing credit proposals and credit reviews, which provide the business with independent assessments about the financial standing of prospective and existing borrowers.

Credit analysts collaborate with the lending team to ensure that credit proposals or extensions are approved or declined in accordance with both the firm’s internal credit policies and local regulations. Most lenders use their own models (credit scorecards) to rank potential and existing customers according to risk. Factors such as operating experience, management expertise, asset quality, and leverage and liquidity ratios are taken into account.

The aim is to ensure high credit quality through the structuring, sanctioning, monitoring and control of credit applications, as well as ongoing maintenance of credit standards. It is also the job of credit analysts to perform regular reviews of clients whose credit portfolios require close monitoring. This helps to ensure that any deterioration is quickly recognised and that credit risk is mitigated.

Credit professionals, especially senior ones, maintain close working relationships with the business and must understand their portfolio and risk capabilities. They must also stay up to date with financial analysis and the risk profiles of their assigned sectors, borrowers and counterparties throughout their credit careers. Ultimately, they must balance the desire of front-office sales staff to expand the business, with the need to lend prudently and make sound credit decisions.

There are credit risk issues within different types of transactions – including corporate banking, project finance, structured trade and syndications. And it’s not only banks that recruit credit professionals. Private equity firms, for example, use them to manage the credit risk of counterparties and investment-related service providers.

Credit jobs can also be quite specific, such as roles which focus only on counterparty risk and involve due diligence visits to financial institutions to collect credit information. Financial records are analysed on excel spreadsheets so that the bank has a realistic assumption of future operating performance.