How Can I Become a Mortgage Loan Officer?
Research what it takes to become a mortgage loan officer. Learn about job duties, education requirements, job outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you.
What Is a Mortgage Loan Officer?
Mortgage loan officers are lending officers who help clients borrow the funds to buy real estate. They meet with prospective borrowers and closely analyze their finances. This includes looking at their financial history, their credit, their income, and their employment status. In general, they try to establish whether the individuals are trustworthy and will be able to pay back the loan regularly. They then create loan offers based on this information. Mortgage loan officers often work closely with real estate agents, as agents may refer the home buyers they are working with to specific banks and loan officers. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.
|Education Required||Bachelor's degree|
|Key Skills||Help individuals apply for a loan, assist with paperwork process, determine best lending solutions, investigate borrower's background for creditworthiness|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||8% (for all loan officers)*|
|Median Salary (2019)||$46,492**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com
What Does the Job of a Mortgage Loan Officer Entail?
Since many people don't have the financial means to pay for big-ticket items like cars, homes, businesses and commercial property without borrowing money, loan officers help aid the lending process. As a mortgage loan officer, you'll help clients obtain funding for real estate transactions. Whether working for a lending firm or bank, you'll locate individuals who need help applying for a loan and help them through the paperwork process. A lot of your working hours will be spent traveling to the homes and offices of clients to fill out the necessary forms.
Each client you'll serve will have different credit and income situations, so you'll need to know which lending solutions will work best for them. You'll also often need to perform some investigative work to determine if clients can be trusted to pay back the approved loans. Some places have loan collection officers to work with clients who default on their loans. However, depending on whom you work for, you may have the responsibility of contacting customers who don't meet their financial commitments.
What Can I Do to Get a Job?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you'll need a minimum of a high school diploma to get employed in the field. Obtaining a bachelor's degree in majors such as finance and economics may help, but it's not necessary and won't guarantee employment. Often, loan officers receive training from the company that hired them and can move up to the position from lower-level jobs. Previous experience in related positions, such as customer service reps and tellers, may open some doors.
As a mortgage loan officer, the BLS reports that you'll need to be licensed. This process involves passing a written test and background check. Requirements also typically include obtaining 20 hours of coursework and being free of felony convictions. Additionally, you'll need to keep your license current by completing continuing education courses.
How Can I Advance My Career?
With experience and consistent display of expertise, you'll be able to become a manager or advance to larger companies. Obtaining industry education and certification will usually aid your advancement goals too. You can acquire both from numerous schools and associations, such as the American Banker's Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association. Eventually, you may be able to supervise your own staff of clerical workers and loan officers.
What Does the Job Outlook Look Like?
The lending field is often directly tied to the financial climate of the economy, so job availability and income potential tend to fluctuate up and down. Still, the BLS expected average growth with an eight percent employment increase for all loan officers from 2018-2028.
In regards to salary, the same fluctuation applies, but loan officers are able to semi-control their salary by the amount of loans they complete. However, salary amounts are still often lower when the economy is struggling. Nonetheless, according to the BLS, the median annual wage for all loan officers was $63,040 as of May 2018. According to Payscale.com, the median annual salary specifically for mortgage loan officers was $46,492 as of November 2019.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
If you are interested in the world of real estate, you could also pursue a job as a real estate agent, which requires a high school diploma. These professionals must also complete some real estate coursework and obtain licensure. Their duties include helping clients buy, sell and rent homes and businesses. They may work independently or with a larger real estate company. Another option is a job as an insurance underwriter, which also requires a bachelor's degree. This job involves checking out applicants' backgrounds in order to establish whether or not they qualify for insurance. An insurance underwriter can work in a number of fields, like home insurance, health insurance, car insurance, and life insurance.