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Certified Senior Trust Examiner (CSTE) 

Candidates for the CSTE designation must provide evidence of all of the following:

  • Satisfactory completion of at least two of the following course offerings or an equivalent (courses submitted for equivalency will be considered on a case-by-case basis):
    • A school covering the fundamentals of fiduciary activities or a comparable Federal Agency Trust School, including the CSBS Trust Examiner School or the ABA National Trust School, or
    • Advanced trust training at the Cannon Financial Institute or Campbell University (NC), other recognized professional training program, or
    • A postgraduate university degree in a program focused on trust management and compliance 
  • Must have participated in at least five examinations of complex trust operations. (Please provide details of the size and type of accounts of the trust departments and/or trust institutions examined in the application information.)
  • Must have a minimum of five years of trust examination experience. Equivalent industry experience may be substituted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Must have completed 40 hours of relevant  trust education courses over the three-year period immediately preceding the date of application.
  • Attestation of successful job performance and mastery of appropriate job-related skills by a superior within the candidate's organization. All attestations shall be considered final once signed. A defined response form that outlines the necessary and appropriate skills will support attestation as to a candidate's skill. A high degree of reliance is placed on the attestation forms provided by the applicant's supervisor when granting certification. For that reason, the individual signing the form should be familiar with the applicant's experience, performance, and skills/abilities, and should be confident that the applicant meets all the requirements as noted on the form.

The attestation form addresses the following categories:

TECHNICAL - Provides effective leadership and organization to the examination process:

  • Effectively supervises personnel to ensure adherence to examination procedures and policies
  • Provides effective training
  • Monitors progress of assigned personnel to ensure accurate and timely completion of work
  • Effectively organizes and delegates assignments
  • Supervises, organizes, and effectively documents workpapers according to prescribed procedures
  • Effectively supervises and oversees the entire trust examination process

CONCEPTUAL - Provides effective and accurate evaluation of the overall activities of the Trust area:

  • Effectively follows established examination procedures to collect and analyze data
  • Develops correct conclusions from collected data
  • Effectively reviews reports for accuracy, content, conclusions, and proper grammar
  • Effectively evaluates and adjusts scope of trust examination as each situation requires

LEGAL/COMPLIANCE - Effectively demonstrates knowledge of policies, procedures, laws, rules and regulations.


  • Effectively conducts meetings with management and the boards of directors of financial institutions and of independent trust companies
  • Effectively coordinates examination planning and execution with other state and federal supervisory authorities as needed


  • Effectively and clearly communicates assignments to assisting personnel
  • Effectively and clearly communicates with financial institution personnel to obtain information
  • Effectively and clearly communicates examination findings to financial institution or independent trust institution and to supervisory personnel
  • Effectively prepares written comments which are accurate, grammatically correct, logically arranged, and factually support any conclusions drawn

Trust Recertification

Every three years, participants will be required to provide evidence of the successful completion of a minimum of 40 continuing education hours (CEH); at least seven CEHs must be completed each year. Examples of qualifying programs and activities are listed below. Other programs and activities submitted will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • Courses/Seminars
    • CSBS Trust Forum
    • FFIEC Asset Management Forum
    • FIRMA National Training Conference
    • Trust Advisors Forum (Campbell University)
    • Other programs approved on a case-by-case basis
  • Commercial Training Providers
    • Courses and seminars such as those provided by the Cannon Financial Institute or Northwestern University Trust School or other nationally recognized training qualify for continuing education credits depending upon the nature and content of the course.
    • One CEH is awarded for each hour of "in-class" training in a course or seminar. Evidence regarding applicability of course content to trust examinations and length of the seminar must be provided to obtain credit when applying for re-certification.
  • Other CE Credit Options
    • Nontraditional credit for speaking, authoring, teaching, etc. count toward CEHs.

Trust Acceptance of Equivalent Certification

Individuals who have attained certification from other agencies (federal or state) and/or associations in related skills may apply for consideration of equivalent certification in the Program.