Becoming a Loan Officer: A Rewarding Career
Want to make people’s dreams of homeownership a reality? A loan officer can do just that. Of course becoming a loan officer also means that you must be aware that you will be required to have the last word in making people’s dreams of homeownership a reality. This is important because you will be the one that is facing the potential borrower when you need to deny a loan application. The great thing is, though, that you will also have the opportunity to make hundreds happy when you approve their application.
Before you set up your desk at a bank or mortgage lending office, though, you first need to determine whether or not you are really sure that this is what you want as a career. This is a hard job that requires certification and licensing in some states; however if you are sure and absolutely certain that it is what you want to do, then you need to think about what your current qualifications are.
Schooling is not a fundamental requisite, however, it is suggested. From a bachelor’s degree or higher in any of the major economical areas (including economics, finance, accounting, etc) to a generalized degree in psychology or business, your education will serve as the foundation for your career.
Even if you don’t have an education, though, your personal experience may be useful if you want to be a loan officer. If you’ve worked with loan companies in the past, be they banking institutions or private companies, you may be able to get the job without a degree.
If you’re just getting started in the business world, and you’ve yet to gain any personal experience or education, you still have several options. First, try to get an entry-level position with a lending company. Second, consider physical or virtual education options offered by universities and continuing education institutions. From programs offered by the National Association of Mortgage Brokers to those sponsored by private institutions, you’ll find many loan officer training courses both in your area and online.
Considering Your Specialty
However, there are additional things that need to be considered before you make your final career decisions. First, it is essential that you think about the three primary areas loan officers work in: Consumer loans, Commercial loans and Mortgage loans.
Even though any loan officer can work in any of these areas and even alternate between them, it is fairly common to specialize in one of them so you can develop and fulfill all the skills necessary to becoming an excellent loan officer.
Keep in mind that you will be guiding the borrower step by step through the process of applying. You’ll help potential candidates navigate tricky credit backgrounds and sketchy job histories. As a result, understanding your loan market well is absolutely essential.
The Necessary Personal Skills
Before you even consider taking a job in this market, you must analyze your personal skills in some depth. Are you a good communicator? Can you deal with difficult clients on a regular basis? Can you provide ongoing support to a variety of clients? Will you be able to convey the necessary steps of the loan application process to all kinds of potential borrowers?
One large part of any loan officer’s job is sales work. Getting referrals, doing the leg work to make sure a potential borrower moves forward with your bank, and convincing people that you’re the right lender for them is much of your job. If you’re uncomfortable with sales work, you may want to consider another aspect of lending.
The Right Training
Even if you do have the benefit of a college degree and some personal experience, most banks and companies will want you to further your training. You’ll need both some technical training about aspects of a loan officer’s job as well as computer banking courses to understand the interfaces that most companies use.
There are several training course available that may make you more attractive to potential employers. The Bank Administration Institute has a Loan Review Certificate program that is great for starting loan officers. If you plan to review and approve loans, this course is geared toward you. It can help you understand your role and find problems much earlier, and this can make each of your bank’s investments safer. The Mortgage Bankers Association offers a Certified Mortgage Banker set of courses to help set you apart from others in your speciality. If you have three years of experience and complete their set of courses, you may be able to receive a certificate of completion as well as CMB status that will help make you more marketable.
Keep in mind that some states have licensure tests that are required before you can attain loan officer status with any company. In most cases, you’ll need to have the tests completed before you apply with any bank or company. Check with your state board of lending for specific requirements.
Once you have achieved loan officer status, you’re not only employable by a variety of banks and companies, you can also work out of your home to match potential lenders with those who need loans. While it’s as difficult as setting up any home business, it can certainly be a rewarding aspect of becoming a loan officer.
Over the course of the next ten years, the demand for loan officers is only expected to grow. With an average salary of nearly fifty thousand dollars each year, becoming a loan officer is a great career choice. Once you’ve decided that becoming a loan officer truly is a step in the right career direction for you, talk with industry professionals to take a step in the right direction.
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