Any career in the banking and finance industry is exciting, challenging and quite mentally satisfying; handling large or small sums of money always is! A career as a loan officer is one such vocation if you have an aptitude for assessing the creditworthiness of loan applicants and can help a financial institution build up a successful loan portfolio. Some tips on how to become a successful loan officer are provided in this article.
Loan officers work across retail/consumer and commercial lending sectors and the degree of education and work experience will determine which portfolio you can work on. Retail loan officers underwrite auto, personal and mortgage loans, while commercial loan officers handle approvals for business and commercial loans. The basic job involves assessing the ability and willingness to pay of potential loan customers. Depending on the type of loan and amount involved, a loan officer’s job may be limited to running the applicant’s information through underwriting software which makes the decision, or reviewing manually detailed documentation provided by the applicant and making a subjective judgment call on the issue of the loan.
Software is usually used for retail loans such as automobile or personal loans and home loans to a certain extent, but typically commercial and high value loans are approved with a combination of system and manual underwriting and verification by the loan officer.
- In general, a high school diploma or GED equivalent is sufficient to start-off as a loan officer, since most of the training can be acquired on-the-job. This is applicable to loan officers in the retail lending segment only; if you are looking to become a successful loan officer in the commercial lending segment, then a bachelor’s degree is the minimum qualification required.
- Higher or professional degrees such as a master’s in economics or an MBA in Finance is definitely required if you want to work in a large investment or commercial bank.
- A successful loan officer needs to be proficient in subjects such as financial accounting, audit and compliance, analysis of financial documents, etc. For certain positions, such as mortgage loan officers, a formal license is required as per federal regulations, this includes a defined period of theoretical studies, a written examination and clearing background checks. You must also be able to prove that there are no prior or pending criminal convictions against you.
- Skills required for a successful loan officer include good time, people and communication skills, logical thought process, familiarity with financial, banking and underwriting software, etc.
Follow the helpful guidelines provided here to start up a career as a successful loan officer!