Chief Lending Officer: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for chief lending officer. Get the facts about job responsibilities, education requirements, training and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Chief Lending Officer?

A chief lending officer oversees other loan officers and works to improve the financial situation of a bank or lending institution. Their duties may include establishing lending policies for the corporation they work for, reviewing loan agreements to ensure they comply with regulations, and supervising a team of employees. They report to top management on the financial health of the institution. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a chief lending officer.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Finance, economics
Key Responsibilities Manage company's loan portfolio; establish lending procedures; hire, train and supervise loan officers
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for all loan officers)*
Median Salary (2017) $173,759**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

What Are a Chief Lending Officer's Primary Responsibilities?

Chief lending officers, or chief loan officers, are within the top tier of management for their company or organization. Therefore, they have significant responsibility to ensure its financial success. While lower-level loan officers typically work directly with the clients - finding potential clients, analyzing their financial situation and determining the correct loan amount or type of loan for those clients - chief lending officers' work usually focuses on the financial situation of the company or organization itself.

As a chief lending officer, you direct and manage the loan portfolio of your bank or company. You establish procedures that promote the successful development of the company's long-term portfolio. In order to meet this central goal, you may be responsible for preparing annual business plans and budgets, as well as overseeing and regulating lending strategies of the company.

There is also a significant amount of managerial responsibility that accompanies such a position. As a chief lending officer, you may be in charge of hiring, training and supervising lower-level loan officers and company employees. Consequently, you may be responsible for tracking the performance of your employees in addition to tracking the performance and progress of your company's financial portfolio.

What Type of Education or Training Do I Need?

Typically, lower-level loan officers need to possess a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent. But chief lending officers often need either a bachelor's or graduate degree in a field related to finance or economics. Bachelor's degree programs in economics typically include courses like macro and microeconomics, foreign economic policy and finance statistics. You need to complete a significant amount of mathematics courses and some general education requirements.

However, employers often value experience over education when hiring individuals for these positions. Job postings for chief lending officer positions in November 2011 asked for substantial years of experience in the field - around five for smaller companies and often more than ten for larger ones. Employers typically look for experience with portfolio management and client relations but may have other requirements depending on the specific chief lending officer job responsibilities for their particular company.

What Salary Could I Earn? reported as of February 2017 that most chief lending officers earned between $140,219 and $215,362 annually. The median salary for these professionals was $173,759.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Those interested in becoming a chief loan officer might also want to consider some related alternative careers which require a similar level of education. For instance, financial analysts provide advice to businesses and individuals on investments such as stocks and bonds. They are required to have a bachelor's degree to gain entry-level positions. Insurance underwriters evaluate insurance applications and determine whether or not to offer insurance coverage. They also require a bachelor's degree. Personal financial advisors work with individuals on financial matters such as college savings, taxes, and retirement savings and are also required to have a bachelor's degree. It's important to keep in mind that all of these careers may require licensure or certification as well.

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