How to Become a Bank Underwriter in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become a bank underwriter. Learn about job duties, education requirements, licensure and certification requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Accounting & Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Bank Underwriter Do?

Bank underwriters (including those who work with loans) help banks manage lending risks to remain profitable. As an underwriter, they go over the agreements in a loan to make sure that all federal and state regulations are complied with during the loan process. They will also investigate the credit and income history of an applicant to verify information submitted on an application. Bank underwriters will also go over the various kinds of loans that might be available to a potential applicant and help them decide which is the best option.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, master's degree to improve job prospects
Education Field of Study Business administration, accounting, economics, finance
Other Requirements Licensure typically required, internship and certification recommended
Key Responsibilities As a loan underwriter you would evaluate clients' credit worthiness and conduct risk assessments and financial analysis to determine loan eligibility; as an investment banker you may buy and sell stocks to third parties and work with others to determine marketplace demand and pricing
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for all loan officers)*
10% (for all securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)*
Median Salary (2016) $61,699(mortgage loan underwriters)**
$48,395(consumer loan underwriters)**
$89,265(investment bankers)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What is a Bank Underwriter?

A bank underwriter is a financial professional who evaluates clients' credit worthiness, repayment ability and lending risk to determine if a loan should be granted. Individuals working in investment banking buy company bonds and sell them to third parties for profit. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), bank underwriters generally have a bachelor's degree in a business major (www.bls.gov).

Step 1: Learn Bank Underwriter Duties

A bank underwriter may be a type of loan officer whose job is to evaluate the creditworthiness of a client or business. In this position, you may conduct risk assessments and financial analysis by reviewing a borrower's financial statements, salary and employment history to determine their ability to repay a loan. As an underwriter, you may work for an investment firm that buys and sells stocks or bonds on behalf of other companies. In this role, you may meet with clients, traders and securities sales representative to determine marketplace demand and pricing.

Step 2: Earn Your Degree

According to the BLS, most banking underwriters have at least a bachelor's degree in a business administration, accounting, economics or finance. You may also seek jobs this field by completing a liberal arts degree program that consists of business administration courses. If you want to improve your career opportunity, you may want to consider a Master of Business Administration Degree with a concentration in corporate finance or investment banking. A graduate degree program will teach you more about underwriting principles such as fixed income and derivatives, risk management and securities analysis.

Step 3: Seek an Internship

According to the BLS, completing an internship program may be helpful in a career involving investment banking and securities dealing. Many interns work in an analyst position, assisting with loan underwriting, analyzing client needs and monitoring loan agreements.

Step 4: Obtain Your License

As a banking underwriter, you may function as a securities dealer who trades investment products such as stocks and bonds. Trading investment products requires you have a federal license as a registered securities agent at your firm.

Some of the licenses that are common include the Series 7 (general securities representative) and Series 66 (investment advisor) licenses. These exams are offered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Typically, you'll need to complete at least four months of work at your firm to be eligible to take these exams.

Step 5: Gain Certification

There are various certifications offered for bank underwriters. You may want to consider the Certified Risk Professional (CRP) designation offered by the Banking Administration Institute (BAI) and the Certified Residential Underwriter (CRU) credential offered by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

To be eligible for the CRP exam, you must have pertinent work experience and education. Earning the CRU credential requires at least four years of industry experience and completion of the Residential Underwriter Achievement Certificate and Residential Underwriter Professional Certificate prerequisite programs.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Those with a bachelor's degree might look into a career as a financial analyst, where they can provide direct advice to people and businesses when deciding where to make investments. Financial examiners are the fact-checkers of the industry, making sure that all laws are followed when transactions are made. There are also financial managers, who develop financial goals and are in charge of the financial well-being of their organization.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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