Mortgage Loan Officer Basics: What You Need to Know


Mortgage Loan Officer Basics

A mortgage loan officer is a person who looks at loan applications and makes a recommendation to approve or deny them. You are the person sitting between the borrower and the company offering a mortgage loan. Another job title that represents the same role is mortgage loan originator.

This career allows you to encounter new situations every day at work as you find the best mortgage loans for a given borrower. Mortgage brokers, banks, credit unions and other types of lenders employ mortgage loan officers.

Job Duties

Your primary job duty is underwriting loans. Basically, you collect the necessary documentation from the borrower and make sure that it’s legitimate information. Once you verify it, you evaluate the financial situation of the applicant to determine their creditworthiness and whether they should get the loan.

A few things that you’re looking at include their experience with credit, whether they’re delinquent on their current loan obligations if they’ve gone through bankruptcy, and their debt-to-income ratio. All of these details factor into whether you feel that they’re a suitable borrower for the financial institution that you work with.

You have many other tasks that fill up your day as well. This position is client-facing, so you will interact directly with the borrower to find out more about their situation. You also follow-up on leads, ensure that all loan documentation is in compliance with state and federal guidelines, address questions and concerns from both the borrower and the lender, and educate borrowers on the loan process.

Desirable Skill Sets

A sales background is an excellent asset to have in this position, but you also need to balance that with customer service skills. You’re the go-to contact for the borrower and the lender, and it’s important that you maintain good relationships with both. In some cases, you are responsible for developing a lead pipeline, so you should be comfortable with approaching real estate companies and other businesses that generate prospects looking for mortgages.

Typically, a mortgage loan officer holds a finance or economics bachelor’s degree. You also need to pass an exam by the NMLS to get your certification in the United States. Familiarity with customer relationship management software, financial software platforms, and other relevant technology also helps position you as a desirable candidate.

Working Environment

You work in a typical office environment. You may have a private office or a cubicle, depending on the type of company you’re working with and how long you’ve been with them.

The working hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for many loan officers, although you may need to come in early or stay late during particularly busy times. Since a lot of your work involves contacting borrowers and lenders, your schedule should be able to accommodate some flexibility.

Pay Structure

Base pay plus commissions or commission-only are both common compensation models for mortgage loan officers. You may start out as commission-only and transition to a salary with commissions as you go up in seniority and reach management positions in the financial institution.

A mortgage loan officer career is a dynamic path that involves adapting to new situations on a regular basis. People with extensive sales, banking, and customer service experience can thrive in this position, as you have the soft skills necessary for the job. A mortgage loan officer training program, such as the one offered by Hondros, prepares you for your new career in this exciting industry.

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