Loan Underwriter Career Outlook

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in loan underwriting. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and job growth information. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Loan Underwriter?

Loan underwriters assess the feasibility of loans in a number of different markets. They might work in the mortgage, commercial or consumer loan markets and are generally employed by a bank or other lending institution. Each of these fields involves analyzing the potential risks regarding lending to certain individuals or businesses. To do this, underwriters collect and analyze their clients' credit and financial data to determine their ability to repay a loan. Underwriters then might write the conditions for the loan and present the reasoning behind their final decision to their superiors. The table below gives an overview of three different types of loan underwriters: mortgage underwriters, commercial underwriters and consumer underwriters.

Mortgage Underwriter Commercial Underwriter Consumer Underwriter
Degree Required Bachelor's Bachelor's Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Business or finance Business or finance Business or finance
Key Responsibilities Ensure loan applicants are creditworthy, determine validity of loans for real estate transactions Ensure loan applicants are creditworthy, determine validity of loans for business transactions Assess applications for credit cards and personal loans
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for all loan officers 8% for all loan officers 8% for all loan officers
Median Salary (2015)** $61,981 $74,537 $48,524

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

What Is the Function of a Loan Underwriter?

Loan underwriters determine the creditworthiness of loan applicants based on many factors. According to December 2011 job listings on CareerBuilder.com, considerations include credit rating, credit history, income and whether the loan is secured by collateral. As a loan underwriter you would tend to work in one of three areas. The mortgage underwriter is concerned with real estate transactions, while a commercial underwriter considers business loan applications, which may also involve the acquisition of real estate, as well as equipment purchasing or providing the funding for operational expansion. As a consumer underwriter you could assess applications for credit cards and home equity, automobile and personal loans.

What Is the Employment Outlook?

A loan underwriter is a type of loan officer who specializes, not only in establishing loan applicant creditworthiness, but also in the validity of a loan. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), loan officer jobs are expected to grow 8% between 2014 and 2024. As reported by the BLS, you can expect employment to be affected by the health of the economy and how it influences potential customers for loans. Changes in interest rates are a factor as well, with low rates usually leading to an increase in loan applications. Other issues that can impact employment in this field include population growth and the need to replace workers who retire or change careers.

If you are knowledgeable in the use of computer technology, such as underwriting software, you can increase your chances for employment. Many loans are now processed over the Internet.

What Kind of a Salary Can I Earn?

As a loan underwriter, you may tend to be hired by commercial banks, credit unions, savings institutions and other similar institutions. According to PayScale.com, the median salary for mortgage underwriters was $61,981 in January 2017. During that same time, commercial underwriters earned a median salary of $74,537, and consumer underwriters earned a median salary of $48,524.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you're interested in similar jobs that require a bachelor's degree, there are several alternative careers you may be interested in. Financial analysts advise companies and individuals about making investments, such as in stocks or bonds. Insurance underwriters are similar to loan underwriters except they work in the insurance industry and decide whether or not to provide insurance to clients. Tax examiners work for governments to process tax returns and ensure payments from citizens and small businesses.

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