TAKE IT TO THE BANK
Robert Buchanan is a 2006 finance graduate of Missouri State University. He works as a bank examiner for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a bureau of the U.S. Treasury. The OCC, which regulates all national banks, is little known by most Americans but plays an important role in keeping our national banking system safe and sound. National banks are chartered at the federal level and by law the name of each national bank must contain the word “national,” or be followed by “N.A.” which stands for “national association.”
Rob calls Springfield his hometown and currently lives there, in spite of being officially assigned to the OCC’s Joplin office. As a bank examiner, Rob spends far more time working in a bank than in his office, so living close to a sizeable airport is more important than living close to the office. Rob is careful to point out the difference between an auditor and an examiner. Rob explained that the role of examiners is to “assess the bank’s financial condition, analyze the bank’s assets (primarily loans) to determine the riskiness of those assets, assess the adequacy of the bank’s risk management systems, evaluate bank management, and ensure the bank has sufficient capital, earnings, and liquidity.”
When asked how his MSU education prepared him for his current role, Rob responds that his training at MSU taught him how to research and find answers to questions he encounters in his job. “The OCC presents new challenges every day, which often lead to exciting new experiences and opportunities to learn. Throughout college, as I was faced with new challenges, I learned how to analyze situations and develop solutions. The technical knowledge that MSU provided me was a great foundation for the new challenges that I face now.” When asked which MSU professors influenced him the most during his time on campus, Rob names Dr. Ed Chang and Dr. Walt Nelson.
The OCC is not Rob’s first banking assignment. Rob actually worked during his last two years at MSU in a national bank in Springfield prior to becoming an OCC employee, after working his freshman and sophomore years in his family’s cabinet shop. Rob did not have much time to engage in student activities on campus because of his need to work to earn his tuition, but he did manage to spend a semester abroad studying in Germany. Rob says that “the life skills I learned while I was there will be something I will always cherish.”
Upon graduation from MSU, Rob transitioned into a compliance and loan review position with a local national bank, where he became familiar with the OCC during a bank examination. Rob became intrigued by the work of the OCC and started researching the agency on the internet. He found a job posting for an entry-level bank examiner on the OCC website and applied. After an initial phone interview and a week of intensive interviews and testing in Denver, the OCC offered Rob the position.
When asked about his advice to current FGB students, Rob says that students should work hard and make things happen for themselves. Students should not expect anyone to make their careers happen for them. Rob also stresses the importance of being thankful for the many blessings of life, no matter how small they might seem.
Rob’s job keeps him on the road quite a bit, but when he is home, he enjoys spending time with his wife of five years, Jennifer Buchanan, also an alum of the MSU College of Business Administration, and their dog Zoey, a weimaraner. Rob enjoys running and finished his first marathon last year. He and his wife also enjoy relaxing at the lake. When time permits Rob to read on topics unrelated to banking, he prefers to read books on Christianity and theology.