Credit Manager

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Credit Manager

Education and Training: College

Salary: Median—$72,329 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

When a credit card company or other business loans money or issues a credit card to a customer, they must ensure to some degree that the customer will be able to repay the loan/credit with interest some time in the future. Most businesses check that the customer has ample income and pays bills in full and on time. The person who makes the final decision to extend or deny credit is the credit manager.

Consumer credit managers direct the credit operations of retail stores and credit bureaus. The size of the operation determines each manager's duties. In small offices, such as those found in car dealerships, credit managers help customers fill out credit applications. They then check the references listed on the form and decide whether or not credit should be granted. Managers also handle customer complaints and look into late payments. In large credit offices, such as those found in financial institutions that issue credit cards, credit checkers perform all of these jobs except that of making the final credit decision. Managers are also responsible for hiring and supervising credit checkers and other workers in their departments. They may help to determine the minimum qualifications for who can receive credit.

Commercial credit managers make decisions that affect the credit and credit standing of a business firm. Managers do in-depth research regarding the credit record of businesses before coming to their decisions, because commercial credit applications generally involve thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Managers review the credit application thoroughly and speak with company officials. Managers also contact credit information agencies, sometimes called credit bureaus, that have reports on the firm. In addition, managers may talk to bank officers who handle the firm's accounts.

Education and Training Requirements

Although not all credit managers have a college degree, employers prefer applicants with college training. Business school experience is helpful, as are college courses in accounting, finance, economics, and business administration. Requirements vary with individual companies. One firm may choose to promote a good worker who does not have a college degree, whereas another company may look for applicants who have college training in a specific field. Management trainees in retail stores or credit unions usually must have prior work experience in the credit field.

New credit managers are trained on the job. They learn the company's credit policies and how to search out credit information. In addition to on-the-job training, courses are available. There are college and home-study courses and follow-up training programs designed to keep managers up to date on new developments in credit processing procedures. Credit managers with the appropriate levels of training and experience may qualify for professional certification.

Getting the Job

Prospective credit managers can apply directly to credit institutions for which they would like to work. Retailers, manufacturers, and sales offices also employ credit workers. A college placement office may be able to help a graduating student find a job. Both state and private employment agencies list jobs in the credit field. Newspaper classified ads and Internet job sites may also offer job leads.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Consumer credit managers can advance to positions of increased supervisory responsibility in their department or company. Professional certification may help in advancement. Highly qualified commercial credit managers sometimes advance to positions in general management in their firms.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of credit managers was projected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014. The need for managers will generally grow as fast as the population and the economy grow. Advances in telecommunications, the computerization of customer records, and automated credit checking systems may negatively impact the need for credit managers. Nevertheless, openings will occur to replace experienced credit managers who retire or leave their jobs for other reasons.

Working Conditions

Consumer credit managers spend their working time in the office. Commercial credit managers who service commercial accounts may visit business offices or plants to interview current and prospective clients. Credit managers must have good judgment and consideration. Because the financial responsibilities are significant, they often work under pressure. Credit managers normally work forty hours per week. Commercial credit managers usually work longer and less regular hours than consumer credit managers.

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings depend on experience and education and on the size of the employing firm. estimated that the median annual salary of credit managers was $72,329 in 2006.

Where to Go for More Information

American Financial Services Association
919 18th St. NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 296-5544

Credit Professionals International
525B N. Laclede Station Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63119
(314) 961-0031

Credit managers can expect paid vacations and holidays. They also receive health and life insurance and retirement benefits. In addition, some companies offer their employees profit sharing plans, cash bonuses, and the opportunity to purchase stock in the firm.