Learn About Being a Loan Processor
What does a loan processor do?
When someone applies for a loan application, their information and application get sent to a loan processor. The loan processor is responsible for processing mortgage applications and getting them prepared for the mortgage underwriter. The loan processor gathers all the necessary documentation required to receive the loan, including employment verification, bank statements, monthly bills and other income information, if applicable. They then organize the information in the customer’s file so the underwriter can locate the information quickly. Other duties include:
- Collecting and organizing the required documentation and place it in a file for submission to the underwriter
- Making sure all conditions are satisfied with the underwriter
- Communicating with the title company, county clerk, attorneys or other professionals as required
- Making sure the approval is within lending guidelines
A loan processor’s salary is dependent on the hiring organization, where they are located, their current hiring budget and specific requirements in the job posting.
- Common salary in the U.S.: $45,316 per year
- Some salaries range from $39,284 to $80,909 per year
Loan processor requirements
To become a loan processor, you’ll need a combination of these:
A high school diploma or GED is required, but many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. Some employers will consider an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related field like business administration or real estate. There are loan processing certificate programs available and will cover topics like underwriting principles, the approval process, loan processor duties, credit counseling, fraud detection and basic appraisal principles.
Most of a loan processor’s training is on the job. You can simultaneously work in this position while attending classes for your bachelor’s degree. You will gain real-world experience in this position, and it will help you work toward other areas of mortgage loan processing if you follow this career path.
While not required to become a loan processor, the following certification programs can help you understand the role of a loan processor better, all while learning invaluable real-world experience. The certification process is through the National Association of Mortgage Processors, and they offer three levels of certification:
Certified Purple Processor
The first level of certification is a Certified Purple Processor. To earn a CPP, the loan processor must complete at least six hours of basic loan processing training along with six hours of advanced loan processing training. Candidates must pass the CPP exam with a minimum score of 85 percent and are subject to a background check.
Certified Master Loan Processor
The next level of certification is the Certified Master Loan Processor. To earn this certification, the loan processor must complete at least 24 hours of training broken down into four areas: 1) basic loan processing, 2) advanced loan processing, 3) underwriting basics and processing federal housing administration (FHA) and 4) veteran’s affairs (VA) loans. Like the CPP, the minimum passing grade for a CMLP certification is 85 percent, and candidates are subject to a background check.
Certified Ambassador Loan Processor
The highest level of certification is the Certified Ambassador Loan Processor. To earn this certification, the loan processor must complete at least 42 hours of training that includes all four subjects of the CMLP exam plus the FHA’s special rehab program, analysis of tax returns and mortgage fraud awareness and prevention. Similarly, the minimum passing grade for a CALP certification is 85 percent, and candidates are subject to a background check.
The essential skill for a loan processor is attention to detail. Your role includes gathering information about the client and organizing it for the underwriter. You will also need some combination of these skills:
Loan processors are highly organized and have an excellent eye for detail. You may be dealing with various clients in one day, so you will need to keep all the correct paperwork together. You will also be tasked with keeping track of the loan schedule and making sure everything is moving along and on time. Having this skill through other professional business experience will look very favorable to potential employers.
A loan processor will have excellent verbal and written communication skills as they deal with customers and their paperwork all day. This skill is crucial to the position and will need to show through a well-organized resume and well-written cover letter. Having some background in customer service, even if it was your high school job in retail, can also be beneficial.
For example, you could write in a job duties section, “Helped customers pick out the right products for their needs, and received the employee of the month award for my excellent customer service skills.”
Data entry and detail-oriented
You will constantly be on the computer in a loan processing role, so having basic data entry skills will help you succeed. Along with this, you will need to be detail-oriented as you will be checking applications for accurate information and making sure everything is complete before sending it to the underwriter.
Loan processor work environment
A loan processor can work in various places like banks, realty companies, mortgage companies, financial institutions or brokerage firms. The work environment for a loan processor can be fast-paced and challenging on any given day. Some loan processors can work from a home office, as long as they are available to clients during the process. A loan processor works regular business hours Monday through Friday. While they don’t typically work on Saturdays, it is often an option. They usually cannot be self-employed because they work with licensed loan officers and underwriters.
How to become a loan processor
While a certificate is not required, it can help you stand out to a potential employer. The right knowledge, education and skills are critical in the process of becoming a loan processor. Specific skills like being detail-oriented, highly organized, having good customer service, excellent communication skills and technical ability in various software applications will bode well on your resume:
1. Pursue education
While a high school degree or GED is a minimal requirement, a certificate from an accredited college would be beneficial to show advanced preparation. College could also provide you with an opportunity for an internship while completing school. Taking classes in real estate and finance may look favorable to the employer, as well as show initiative to gaining real-world training.
2. Obtain work experience
Relevant work experience is key to making your resume stand out. Work experience in related fields like finance or real estate will help grow your skills and prepare you for this position. You will also gain invaluable real-world experience while working in this position and a better understanding of the loan approval process. Other professional experience will be useful if it shows relatable skills like being well organized, detail-oriented and providing excellent customer service.
3. Career advancement
If you’d like to move further along in your career, obtaining one of the certifications from the National Association of Mortgage Processors will also help your resume stand out. A certification coupled with your work experience will demonstrate to employers your aptitude and likelihood for success.
Loan processor job description example
At Unified Mortgage LLC, we strive to put our customers first and help them get a loan so they can live in their dream house. The ideal candidate will have a high school diploma/GED or a certificate in a loan processing program from an accredited university. Current students working towards an associate or bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field will also be considered.
The loan processor candidate should have excellent oral and written communication skills, be highly-organized and detail-oriented, and have the ability to work under pressure. A successful applicant will manage both residential and commercial real estate loan documents and be a quality reviewer for completeness and complacency with banking regulations. Our company is currently experiencing rapid growth and would like you to join our dynamic organization today.