Loan Officer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Loan Officer, or Mortgage Loan Officer, is responsible for helping customers research loans and navigate the application, approval and closing process. Their duties include recommending commercial and personal loan options to clients and explaining their terms, determining risks for loaning to clients based on their credit and processing paperwork.

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Loan Officer duties and responsibilities

The Loan Officer is expected to collect and prepare all materials needed to secure a loan. They’re also responsible for reviewing applications. Other than these main duties, some essential responsibilities include the following: 

  • Oversees the staff that does the paperwork for mortgage applications
  • Verifies the information provided on applications to obtain more information if missing data or mistakes are present
  • Communicates with customers to help them choose the best mortgage loan they can afford
  • Collects data from customers, such as their assets, salaries, debts and employment status
  • Reviews file documentation for missing or erroneous information
  • Verifies information about applicant history with credit bureaus and other agencies so the lender can approve or deny the loan
  • Remains aware of loan application deadlines and informs customers about them
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What does a Loan Officer do?

Loan Officers work for financial institutions, usually banks, to sell financial services and loans to customers based on their needs and qualifications. Loan Officers conduct meetings with people who want a loan to buy a home, purchase a car or start a business. Loan Officers commonly work with homebuyers, but they can take on clients with different goals. They study lending regulations and work with clients to gather the necessary financial documentation to move forward with an application. Loan Officers recommend clients for approval to begin the underwriting process or explain their reasons for denying a request.

Loan Officer skills and qualifications

Loan Officers should have a variety of practical skills for their position. The main skills and qualifications of a Loan Officer are:

  • Experience with mortgage loan software programs
  • Communication skills
  • Supervision skills to direct  junior staff
  • Sales skills to sell loan-processing services to customers
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills 
  • Knowledge of federal, state and local levels of loan processing laws and regulations and ability to communicate these laws in a non-technical and conversational manner to others

Loan Officer salary expectations

A Loan Officer makes an average of $91,582 per year. Salary may depend on the applicant’s level of experience, education and geographical location.

Loan Officer education and training requirements

The minimum educational requirement for Loan Officers is a high school diploma or GED. Computer courses focused on loan software are also helpful. Employers prefer to hire Loan Officer candidates who have at least an associate degree in banking and finance. A bachelor’s degree in finance or economics may be more beneficial. 

Licensing is not always required. Mortgage Loan Officers, however, require a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) license. An MLO license requires credit and background checks, a minimum of 20 hours of coursework and a passing score on the MLO exam.

Loan Officer experience requirements

Loan Officers need several years of relevant work experience, particularly in customer service and the finance industry, such as a Teller position at a bank or accounting work. Experience in the fields of finance, accounting and banking are useful tools for a Loan Officer’s career.

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Frequently asked questions about Loan Officers

 

What is the difference between a Loan Officer and an Underwriter?

Loan Officers and Underwriters work together to move clients through the process of applying for a loan and getting approved. Loan Officers are the first point of contact for the client, while Underwriters mainly do research and complete financial paperwork. They meet directly with the client, talk about their financial goals, learn about their financial history and discuss loan options. If a Loan Officer thinks a client can qualify for a loan, they forward their information to an Underwriter, who then performs an in-depth review of the client’s credit score, income, financial history and other factors.

 

What are the qualities of a good Loan Officer?

Good Loan Officers must have excellent judgement so that they can decide which loan is right for a client and whether they are trustworthy enough to be trusted with a loan. They are tactful enough to politely explain the reasons for rejecting a client, and also apply problem-solving to help rejected clients pursue other avenues for their financial needs. A good Loan Officer is friendly and committed to excellent customer service any time they interact with a client. They understand issues of bias in the banking industry and work to be fair and equitable in their judgments.

 

What are the daily duties of a Loan Officer?

Loan Officers work in a banking office environment and meet privately with multiple clients each day. They pursue leads and reach out to new clients, determine if they are serious about taking out a loan and schedule an appointment. Before a meeting, Loan Officers review the different loan terms their financial institution offers, preparing information about interest rates and payment plans. They welcome clients and ask them questions to collect their personal information and begin assessing the risk of loaning them the money. Loan Officers also communicate with clients after approval and help them fill out and understand forms.

 

What should you look for on a Loan Officer's resume?

Experience in a banking or lending environment is essential for a Loan Officer since they need to know the details about mortgages, personal loans and financial risk management to do their job. When reviewing resumes, look for candidates who have a degree in business or finance and have applied their experience through working in a financial field. They should list administrative skills and identify which kinds of lending programs and databases they have used in the past. Loan Officers must have current licensure with the Nationwide Multi-state Licensing System and Registry to stay compliant with finance rules.

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