How Do You Become a Loan Officer?

An individual who is interested in a career in finance may choose to become a loan officer. Loan officers are financial employees who work in banks and lending institutions and help consumers obtain loans for homes, cars and other personal needs. Becoming a loan officer requires education, training and work experience. Here are the steps necessary to become a loan officer as well as some information on the career.

Education Requirements

To become a loan officer, an individual should have a bachelor’s degree in finance or business. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, the individual will also receive on-the-job training to become familiar with how things work in that specific financial institution. In some cases, a candidate may be hired as a loan officer without the bachelor’s degree if he or she has work experience in banking, finance, sales or customer service.

Loan officers must be able to read balance sheets, financial statements and possess some general business accounting skills. Even once they’re hired, they may be required to attend mandatory company-sponsored training. To be the best possible loan officer, the candidate should be detail-oriented and have the initiative to seek out new customers. They must also possess good interpersonal, decision-making and communication skills.

Licensure

Loan officers assist customers in obtaining not just consumer loans but also mortgage loans. However, before the individual can work as a mortgage loan officer, he or she must have a Mortgage Loan Originator license. To be eligible for the license, the candidate must complete at least 20 hours of related courses, pass an examination and meet all additional eligibility requirements. States differ in their licensing requirements, but most states require the license to be renewed annually. An individual who wants to become a loan officer should check with the state in which he or she wishes to work as a loan officer.

Certification is not required to become a loan officer, but certification is a way to demonstrate knowledge and commitment to the field. There are many schools, organizations and banking associations that offer not just certifications but training programs as well. Mortgage Bankers Association and American Bankers Association both offer certification for loan officers.

Types of Loan Officers

Once an individual decides to become a loan officer, he or she can decide what type of loan officer is most appealing. There are different types of loan officers.

  • Commercial Loan Officers – They work with customers buying businesses.
  • Mortgage Loan Officers – They work with mortgage loans to help people buy homes.
  • Consumer Loan Officers – They work with loans like personal loans, auto loans or student loans
  • Loan Collection Officers – They contact borrowers who are in default of their loans and work out payment plans.
  • Loan Underwriters – They go over a customer’s financial information to determine if he or she is a good credit risk.

Career Outlook

Economic growth and the improvement in the housing market have increased the number of consumers getting loans and mortgages, which puts loan officers in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that loan officers would experience a job growth of 11 percent during the 2016-2026 decade. As of May 2017, loan officers earned annual wages ranging from $32,670 to $135,590 with the average wage at $77,920.

Related Resource: Top 35 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Finance 2018

As the economy continues to improve, loan officers can expect to be busy helping people fulfill their dreams. An individual who chooses to become a loan officer will be in a position to help consumers buy the things they need while working in a rewarding and exciting career.