How to Become a Loan Officer

In order to buy a house, car, or finance college education, many people around the U.S. have to take out a loan. Loans are also essential in the business world for companies to get established, invest in capital equipment, and purchase inventory. Loan officers are essential to work as a mediator between borrowers and lending institutions.

What does a loan officer do?

Loan officers help people and organizations borrow money from banks or other financial institutions. They seek potential clients and help them apply for loans. They also collect personal information about clients and companies to make an accurate informed decision on their credit score and probability of paying back the loan. Loan officers may also provide advice and guidance to prospective clients that have issues qualifying for traditional loans. They guide all of their clients through the loan application process. The process usually starts with a telephone call or a meeting with the prospective client where the loan officer gathers basic information about the loan purpose and explains the variety of loans and credit terms that are available. They often answer any questions and may help clients fill out the loan application.

Loan officers typically specialize in consumer, commercial, or mortgage loans. Consumer loans include personal, automobile, and home equity loans. Commercial loans help businesses expand their operations and purchase new equipment. Mortgage loans enable people to buy a new home or refinance a present mortgage.

What kind of training does a loan officer need?

Loan officers typically have a bachelor degree in economics, finance, or other related field. Some loan officers do not have a college degree, but advance to their position after working for several years in many other related positions such as a customer service representative or teller. Employers also highly value prior experience in banking, sales, or lending. Loan officers who work in brokerages or mortgage banks sometimes have to be licensed and licensing requirements vary by State.

What are the prospects for a career as a loan officer?

Employment of loan officers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 11% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Growth will be influenced by economic expansion and the increase in population. There will also be a need to replace workers who retire or leave the profession for other reasons.

Job prospects are expected be good and will be the best for loan officers with a college education and related experience in banking, sales, or lending.

How much do loan officers make?

As of July 2009, loan officers with less than 1 year experience earned annual salaries around $33,589. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earned annual salaries around $35,509 (2).

Aspiring loan officers should be good at working with other people, highly motivated, and confident in their capabilities. Other important qualities include good communication and interpersonal skills, sales ability, and a strong desire to succeed.

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