Exam Tips

Do not consider your exam a one-time event. It is a process that includes:


  • Prepare documentation and reports from the examiner’s list. Organize the documentation with tabs and if possible answer the checklist at the front of each tab.
  • Conduct a pre-exam phone call with the supervisory examiner requesting a list of attendees and hot buttons they will be looking at.
  • Prepare your staff for questions and coach them on answers.
  • Prepare your board for any foreseeable issues.
  • Prepare documentation for existing issues they may hit on.
  • Review last exam recommendations and DOR points and make sure they have been addressed and that the regulator is in agreement that they have been addressed.
  • Review examiner checklists relative to the point the examiner will hit on.
  • Review the last 12 months of NCUA letters to credit unions as these typically will give you an idea of the agency’s focus.
  • Review the last 12 months of GAO material loss reviews as these typically will give you an idea where the agency has been criticized. These WILL be areas they will be focused upon.
  • Prepare your office and those that will be interacting with the examination staff. Clutter breeds curiosity.


  • If you are prepared there should be no reason to be nervous. They will dig in if you are not confident that you have prepared well.
  • Be open about existing issues during the pre-examination meeting and open with a spirit of cooperation. In a sense, you should have all the examiner finds before they get there.
  • Make them comfortable and do not be argumentative. You do not have to agree with everything they say but pose your disagreements with fact and little if no emotion.
  • Always ask what will be on the list of recommendations or DOR’s and keep track of these items.
  • Take notes on all discussions and make sure all proposed recommendations are based on regulation or safety and soundness.

Follow Up

  • Respond to all recommendations a week before they are due or sooner if possible.
  • Pose your responses with facts including all documentation.
  • Create a project list of each recommendation and make someone responsible with defined goals. Make this spreadsheet part of your monthly board report.
  • Prepare you board of directors for exiting the conference if a member’s input is requested and review findings thoroughly.
  • Complete a forensic on the examination process with the executive team and begin preparing for the next exam.