Alejandra Louden: FDIC’s Financial Institution Examiner
Latino Leaders in High Tech
Share with us your background, education and initial career positions.
I am originally from Mexico City, Mexico. At nine years old, I moved to Pennsylvania for my parents to pursue a Ph.D. Growing up in an academic environment, I learned early on the importance of education and training. I graduated with a B.S. in International Business from Grove City College in Grove City, PA. I worked in banking, residential lending, and public policy in both in the private and public sector, focusing on minority homeownership as I progressed in my career. I decided to go back to school and obtained an MBA from the George Washington University in Washington D.C. in 2007.
When and why did you join the FDIC? What has the experience been like?
I began my career with the FDIC in 2009 in the heart of the great recession, shortly after graduation. While completing my MBA, I had the opportunity to be part of a fellowship pro-gram through a non-profit organization focusing on exposing Latino students to public policy and gaining hands-on experience. I was working in Freddie Mac’s government relations department at the time the organization was placed into receivership. Due to the regulatory restructure, I was advised to pursue an assignment at the FDIC that aligned with my interests. My experience at FDIC allowed me to get a taste of the Corporation’s mission, and motivated me to pursue a full time opportunity. I was attracted to the FDIC’s mission to pro-mote stability and public confidence while protecting consumers’ rights. In addition, given the financial crisis, the Agency’s challenge of supervising problem institutions and protecting consumers’ deposits was just beginning.
FDIC is a learning organization that focuses on providing extensive training and development opportunities to all employees regardless of tenure. Completing a comprehensive training program and earning my commission prepared me for a rewarding and challenging career. As a bank examiner, I have been a part of and lead teams, learning from others’ expertise along the way. As if bank examination was not dynamic enough, the FDIC also offers rotational programs to work in other divisions of the Corporation. Most recently, volunteering for a teaching ancillary duty led to an extended assignment as an instructor, training other examiners.
What are your most important work and professional values?
Having a strong work ethic is always important to succeed, re-gardless of what one is working on. Embrace change and be adaptable. Be a team player by creating strong working relation-ships. Be accountable to yourself and others. Be motivated to continuously learn.
What is a typical day at the FDIC like, and what aspects of your profession do you enjoy the most?
A “typical” day at the FDIC is very different and our assignments change from month to month. The size and complexity of the institutions we supervise varies greatly and we must keep up with industry changes to adequately assess banking practices. As analysts who evaluate financial institutions, our day to day ranges from holding banker conferences, leading examination teams, training less experienced examiners, and meeting with executive officers and the Board of Directors to discuss examination findings. In addition to the challenging work, I enjoy the camaraderie of the people that we work with and relationships built. Working in teams lends itself to a supporting environment to complete the examinations.
What is the most important piece of advice that was passed on to you? And what is your advice to a future FDIC leader?
One important piece of advice once given to me is to not limit myself with complacency. Encourage and challenge yourself to pursue new roles or job opportunities that may take you out of your comfort zone. Always stretch yourself and continue to grow; reach out to others you admire and discuss their career path. Most importantly, find a mentor that will support you and give you sound advice and guidance.
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