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Certified Trust Examiner (CTE) 

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

  • Satisfactory completion of one the following courses 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), or other recognized professional training program, or
      • A bachelor’s degree in a trust-focused university program
  • Must have participated in the examination of at least one non-complex trust institution, including discussions with management, and the analysis and writing of the examination findings. (Please provide details of the size and type of accounts of the trust institution examined in the application information.)
  • Must have a minimum of one year of trust examination experience. Equivalent industry experience may be substituted on a case-by-case basis.
  • 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 organization to the examination process by:

  • Effectively adheres to examination procedures and policies
  • Effectively organizes assignments
  • Ensures pre-examination planning and requests are successfully completed in a timely manner, and
  • Organizes and effectively documents workpapers according to prescribed procedures.

CONCEPTUAL - Provides effective and accurate evaluation of the operational activities of financial institutions by:

  • Effectively follows established examination procedures to collect and analyze data, and
  • Develops correct conclusions from collected data.

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

HUMAN RELATIONS - Works effectively with others to achieve common goals.


  • Effectively and clearly communicates with financial institution personnel to obtain information;
  • Effectively and clearly communicates examination findings to supervisory personnel; and
  • Effectively prepares written comments that 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. An abbreviated application form is available for those applicants requesting consideration under equivalent certification criteria.

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