Loan Underwriter Certification and Career Training

Loan underwriters determine the creditworthiness of loan applicants using their knowledge of banking principles and the science of statistical analysis. Find out about degrees available as well as licensure and certifications available. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

The degree level needed to become an underwriter varies by employer. However, all loan officers must be licensed. Additional certification options are available as well.

Training Most employers require on-the-job training
Licensing All mortgage loan officers must be licensed to work; exams may vary by state
Certification Credential options include Certified Residential Underwriter, Certified in Commercial Underwriting and Processing, Certified Mortgage Underwriter and Certified Master Mortgage Underwriter

What Does a Loan Underwriter Do?

As a loan underwriter, you research the information contained on a loan application to verify that the applicant is a good risk for a loan. To do so, you may use a computer algorithm or a manual formula. You may underwrite personal mortgage or commercial loans and may work for a financial institution such as a bank, credit union or mortgage company.

What Degree Do I Need?

To work as a loan underwriter you need a minimum of a high school diploma. You will likely also need to complete on-the-job training.

To work as a commercial loan officer, however, you need at least a bachelor's degree in finance, economics or related field. In a finance bachelor's degree program, you study principles of accounting, organization management, bank policy and risk management.

Do I Need to Be Licensed?

You must be licensed to work as a mortgage loan officer. The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry offers the Mortgage Loan Originator license. Specific licensure requirements are established by each state, but, generally, to become licensed you must pass national and state exams, complete 20 hours of instruction that includes information on ethics and laws related to the field, pass a background check and submit to a credit check. To maintain your license, you are required to complete 8 hours of continuing education.

What Certifications Are Available?

To specialize in residential underwriting, you can become a Certified Residential Underwriter (CRU). You must complete three levels of experience to become a CRU. The first level requires one year of experience, the second level two years and the third level four years of experience.

The National Association of Mortgage Underwriters (NAMU) offers multiple underwriting certifications, including the Certified Mortgage Underwriter, Certified Master Mortgage Underwriter or Certified in Commercial Underwriting and Processing. With the exception of the commercial underwriting and processing certification, an award of each of the certifications is based on membership in NAMU and the number of years of experience you have. To obtain the Certified in Commercial Underwriting and Processing designation, you must pass an exam.

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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