A mortgage loan officer works for a bank or other lending institution, finding individuals and businesses interested in securing or refinancing mortgages on homes and other real estate.
In addition to helping with the application process, mortgage loan officers calculate creditworthiness and the probability of repayment; they also gather information to offer advice to those who may have difficulty qualifying for financing.
Duties of a mortgage loan officer include interviewing clients, communicating with them regarding potential mortgage possibilities, matching clients with lenders, and helping them fill out the applicable paperwork and figure out workable repayment plans.
Previous experience in banking, lending, or sales is a plus to employers, but not always required.
Mortgage loan officers usually must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, although an associate or bachelor’s degree in finance, economics or a related subject may be beneficial or even required by some employers.
Relevant coursework includes classes such as accounting, finance, mathematics, banking, real estate, and business ethics. Strong computer skills are also helpful as use of automated underwriting software is becoming the norm.
Mortgage loan officers usually receive on-the-job training and must be licensed according to recent federal legislation, which requires passing a written exam, at least 20 hours of coursework, and a background check. Continuing education requirements also apply.
Acquiring certification as a Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) through the Mortgage Bankers Association can further boost both employment and salary potential.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wages of loan officers were $54,700 (based on a $26.30 hourly wage) in 2008 with the middle 50% earning between $39,710 and $76,860.
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts job growth for loan officers will be about as fast as average, but good job opportunities should exist for mortgage loan officers in particular.
Those with a bachelor’s degree and/or experience in banking, lending, or sales should have the best employment chances.
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics