Loan Officer Jobs
At branches, loan officers may or not specialize in a certain type of loan, depending on the size of the branch and the number of loan applications the branch typically sees.
For smaller branches, loan officers will be expected to originate and process all kinds of loans, from car and home loans, to student loans. At large branches, loan officers may work with just mortgage loans or car loans.
Some loan officers are required to act as sales people, going out and drumming up loans for the bank through interpersonal contacts. These loan officers usually receive most of their salary in commission. For those who stay in the branch and handle loan requests that come through the door or by phone, loan officers receive mainly salary or mostly salary with some commissions.
Loan officers are expected to know all bank and federal lending requirements for each type of loan they handle. They should be able to counsel the borrowers on the right kind of loan that will work for their situations and budgets. Loan officers must collect all pertinent information from the borrower, including income and debt information, employment information, etc. Loan officers need to have an understanding of the bank’s underwriting requirements so that they can tell from an initial review of the applicant’s information whether he or she have the basic requirements necessary to take it to the next step in the loan approval process.
Loan officers may also be required to analyze and verify all of the information on the borrower’s loan application. At some branches and for certain types of loans, loan officers have the authority to approve or deny loan applications. At other branches and for other kinds of loans, the approval must be made through a different level of management.
If you enjoy working with people as well as numbers, and a sales environment, this may be a great career choice for you.
The outlook for loan officer jobs is good and there will be an average growth in the number of jobs between now and 2018. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 10% increase in the number of loan officer jobs by 2018. That does include ALL loan officer positions. Most loan officers are located at branches, but some loan officers work at phone centers.
Most loan officers are only required to have a high school diploma or GED. If the loan officer will be specializing in commercial loans, the loan officer will likely be required to have a bachelor’s degree in business or accounting. Commercial loan officers must have an understanding of standard business accounting processes and spreadsheets.
Loan officers usually receive more extensive on the job training than tellers or customer service reps.
If you are interested in specializing in mortgage loans, recent federal legislation requires that all mortgage loan officers must be licensed. To obtain this license, mortgage loan officers will need to take at least 20 hours of coursework, pass a written exam, pass a background check, and have no felony convictions. Then mortgage loan officers are required to take continuing education courses to maintain their licenses. There are currently no specific licensing requirements for other loan officers.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Since many loan officers are acting in a sales capacity, loan officers will need to have an outgoing personality, be comfortable talking to a variety of people, and have good communication skills. Since loan officers may handle several loans at once in varying stages of completeness, they should also have excellent organizational skills.
As mentioned earlier, loan officers will need to be very familiar with the bank’s loan policies, as well as federal lending regulations. Loan officers should also have good math skills and be able to use all standard office equipment and computers. Some banks look for salesmanship skills and strong customer service skills in their loan officers.
Average Loan Officer Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual wages of loan officers are $54,700. The middle 50% earned between $39,710 and $76,860. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,850, while the top 10 percent earned more than $106,360. Keep in mind many loan officers earn commission, so some of these earnings may reflect the loan officer’s salesmanship rather than salaries. Here’s the latest salary information:
Potential Career Paths
There are several career paths for capable loan officers. Some may be promoted to larger branches of their banks or to managerial positions. Some loan officers may get promoted to supervise other loan officers and clerical staff.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the loan officers that are most likely to get promoted are the ones who invest in their careers by obtaining additional education and training. Different banking associations and private schools offer courses and programs for people interested in lending and for experienced loan officers who want to keep their skills up to date. One example is the Bank Administration Institute, an affiliate of the American Banker’s Association, which offers the Loan Review Certificate Program for people who review and approve loans.
Another example is The Mortgage Bankers Association, which offers the Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) certificate to loan officers in real estate finance. The association offers three CMB designations: residential, commerce, and master to candidates who have three years of experience, earn educational credits, and pass an exam.