Loan officers are the intermediaries between borrowers and lending institutions. They help businesses and individuals to find the right types of loans and to obtain these sought-after funds from lenders. However, sales and marketing also can be part of their job, and loan officers can spend part of their time reaching out to new clients and educating people about the products and services that are available.
Loan Officer Schools
A bachelor's degree is important to helping build skills in finance and accounting, but can be a benefit in seeking Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) licensure. While students typically enter the field by completing a degree, this licensing also is necessary and requires a minimum of at least 20 hours of additional coursework. Because loan officer training programs can be so varied, a number of different options are highlighted below:
- University of Maryland University College: Students interested in loan officer training programs can complete the bachelor's of degree in finance available through this Maryland-based school. Better yet, the degree can be completed online and includes coursework in money and banking, risk management, and more.
- Rasmussen College: With campuses available in Minnesota, Florida, Wisconsin, Kansas and other states, students can work on either a certificate or an associate or bachelor's degree in accounting. The bachelor's degree option also provides the opportunity to complete an internship and gain hands-on skills.
- University of Tampa: This school, in Florida, offers both a full-time day program for completing a bachelor's degree in finance, but also a part-time evening option. A minor in finance is also available and students can join the school's chapter of Delta Sigma Pi, an international business fraternity.
- North Seattle College: Although the Real Estate Loan Originator Certificate program at this college is specific to real estate, students can complete a 25-credit certificate of completion to learn more about real estate fraud, residential real estate finance, and real estate escrow. The certificate also can be used to complete the school's associate of applied science degree in real estate.
- Champions School of Real Estate: This school has seven campuses throughout Texas and offers a variety of loan originator licensing programs, including a 23-hour program. This program includes mortgage loan origination fundamentals as well as coursework about specific state law and practice.
Even after you are hired for a loan originator position, you may need to complete training on the job. While loan officer schools help provide you with the education to analyze the finances of individuals or businesses and to take the steps to procure the loan, on-the-job training provides you with a background in the lending institution's specific processes, programs, and guidelines.
Loan Officer Specializations and Courses
There are a number of different career paths to take when becoming a loan officer. Your bachelor's degree program will vary depending on what type of loan officer you want to become. Here are some of the primary specializations that you can choose from as you work toward your degree:
- Commercial loan officers work on setting up loans for businesses, which may need them in order to be able to expand or take on new functions.
- Consumer loan officers specialize in providing loans to people, who may seek them to be able to buy a car or to help pay for college.
- Loan collection officers work with borrowers to help them find ways to make payments on a loan even after a payment or payments have been missed.
- Loan underwriters determine whether a client is credit worthy by verifying their financial information and assessing their financial background.
- Mortgage loan officers work on loans related to real estate, which could include the purchase of a home, property or buildings that are either commercial or residential-based.
Students in a loan officer degree program should work to gain skills and knowledge related to:
- General business accounting
- Financial statements
- Software-related programs
- Credit scores
- Verification of financial documents
Loan Officer Certification and Licensing
Licensing is mandatory for loan officers in most states, and requirements can vary by state. Most licenses need to be renewed on an annual basis. Be sure to visit the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry Center for more information on these requirements, but generally applicants must:
- Pass a credit history
- Pass a background check
- Pass an exam
Certification is not necessary for the field, but is available through the American Bankers Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association. The BLS reports that certification allows a loan officer to demonstrate they have reached a certain level of expertise and also could be helpful to procuring better job opportunities.
Resources for Loan Officers
- American Bankers Association
- Mortgage Bankers Association
- National Association of Mortgage Loan Officers
- Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry Resource Center
- Loan Officers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132072.htm
- Loan Officers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/loan-officers.htm
- Rasmussen College. http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/business/accounting/
- Finance Bachelor's Degree, University of Maryland University College. http://www.umuc.edu/academic-programs/bachelors-degrees/finance-major.cfm
- Finance Degree, The University of Tampa. https://www.ut.edu/finance/
- Real Estate Loan Originator Certificate, North Seattle College. https://northseattle.edu/certificates/real-estate-loan-originator-certificate
- Loan Originator License, Champions School of Real Estate. https://www.championsschool.com/loan-originator-school/loan-originator-license-courses.php