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Loan Officer Job Description, Career as a Loan Officer, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College (in most cases) or several years of experience in a financial institution

Salary Median: $51,760 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

Loan officers work with businesses and individuals to help them acquire loans for personal or professional needs. More specifically, they evaluate loans, make necessary recommendations for clients, and authorize loans for real estate, commercial needs, or credit.

Loan officers primarily work for financial institutions such as commercial banks, credit unions, or savings institutions. They typically specialize in one of three areas: commercial, consumer, or mortgage. Commercial loan officers work with businesses in obtaining loans for equipment upgrades or business expansions. Consumer loan officers help individuals with auto loans, personal loans, and home equity loans. Mortgage loan officers assist with purchasing commercial or residential property or refinancing an existing mortgage.

Loan officers can work in small or large financial institutions. Those in smaller branches may be responsible for all loan activity and specialize in all three areas of loan management. In larger financial institutions, there may be several loan officers, each specializing in only one area of loans.

Loan officers are usually highly motivated individuals able to take on several tasks at hand. They are constantly interacting with others, whether it is with staff to ensure all paperwork is completed, or with clients to determine which loan best fits their needs.

Education and Training Requirements

Most loan officers have a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics or a related field. Some loan officers do not have a college education. These individuals typically start off as tellers or customer service representatives and move up to loan officers after several years of working in the financial industry. All loan officers generally have experience in banking, lending, or sales. Other requirements include excellent interpersonal skills, knowledge of computers and the banking industry as well as familiarity with computer applications related to banking.

There are no licensing requirements for loan officers employed at credit unions or banks. However, for loan officers working for mortgage banks or brokerages, some additional training may be required, depending on the state. There are also certification programs available to loan officers who only review and approve loans.

Getting the Job

Interested candidates should apply directly to the financial institution for possible internships or employment opportunities. Part-time employment as a teller is a good start for getting acquainted to the banking industry, while obtaining a college education.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

The employment outlook for loan officers is good for the next ten years, especially for those who hold a college degree and have lending experience.

There are advancement possibilities for loan officers depending on the demands of the institution. Some advance to larger branches to take on more responsibility, while others may become managers who oversee other loan officers and staff.

Working Conditions

Loan officers generally work in an office environment, although several may require some travel, depending on their specialty. They typically work 40 hours a week, like their colleagues within the financial industry, however, sometimes additional hours may be required, especially when there is a higher volume of loan applications.

Most of their day is spent dealing with people, staff, computer applications and an abundant of paperwork. The working conditions are not usually stressful, unless the loan officer works on commission only.

Where to Go for More Information

Mortgage Bankers Association
1919 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20006

Individual banks can provide specific information regarding job expectations and requirements for their loan officers.

Each state has banker associations which can provide detailed information on a loan officer’s job outlook in that state.

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries vary depending on the size and type of the financial institution. In 2006, the median salary for a loan officer was $51,760 per year. In general, a loan officer’s compensation is offered as salary only, commission only, or a combination of both, depending on the company. Other factors that may affect salary would be economic conditions, especially for loan officers who are paid by commission only.

Benefits vary depending on the company. Most provide loan officers with paid vacations, health and life insurance, as well as a pension plan. Other benefits may include bonuses, other types of insurance, and relocation costs.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesAccounting & Finance