How to Be a Loan Officer

By Eric Hammer

Even now, after the real estate fall out that happened recently, many people still want to learn how to be a loan officer. The fact is that even though loan officers took a huge hit when the real estate market crashed, they are still doing well even today and those who have survived the shake out are now riding a cresting wave of new jobs which are coming back to the loan industry.

Your job will involve working with people to help them apply for a loan and to choose the perfect loan for their needs. The thing to keep in mind however is that you will mostly work on commission. Therefore, you do need to keep up your volume of loans while at the same time making sure that you follow the rules that are required for making loans.

You will need to be good at more than just meeting with people and making a sale though. You'll also need to be good at evaluating information and at math so that you can make quick calculations to figure out the numbers for your clients and exactly how much they may expect to pay for their loans.

How Much Can You Make?

While some of the resources below are quite exuberant and claim that loan officers can "easily" make six figure salaries, the reality is that loan officers usually make more modest sums. A typical salary in 2008 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics was between $39,710 and $76,860 per year with the top earners just edging over $100,000.

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Remember that especially in light of the housing crash in the United States, you really need to be careful about sticking closely to the rules your bank sets and to keep from getting customers overly pumped up about buying a home they may not be able to afford.

You should also be a good listener - someone who can understand what people's needs are and help them to make realistic decisions about the size of loans they may be able to take out so that they don't overdo it and end up in a home they cannot afford.

Qualifications / Requirements

You may be able to get away with only a high school diploma if you want to be an ordinary loan officer. Most of the training is done by the company that hires you. However, if you want to become a commercial loan officer, you'll likely need to go for a bachelor's degree in finance or economics in addition to doing on the job training.

In addition to this, loan officers are required to apply for a state license to practice their craft. The requirements vary from state to state however so you'll need to contact your state licensing board to find out for sure.

First Steps

Start by talking to some loan officers at your local bank. Most of them will be happy to give you an overview of what the business is like and where they feel it's currently going. Then, either consider going to school to earn your degree in finance or apply for a job as a loan officer. Remember that in all cases you will need to apply for licensure as well.

Resources

Check out these helpful resources to learn more about how to be a loan officer:

About.com: Should You Become a Loan Officer - A quiz to help you decide if this job is the one for you.

Mortgage Training Center: How to Become a Loan Officer - A guide to how to be a loan officer from a company that specializes in the subject.


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