What does a Loan Officer Do?
As a loan officer, you deal with current potential borrowers, advising them on their financial status and their ability to pay for loans. Before anything is signed, it is your job to evaluate the person or entity requesting the loan in relation to their financial situation. The ultimate decision to authorize or recommend their approval for a loan in the realms of credit, commercial or real estate rests with you.
Loan Officer Skills and Abilities
Since this is a job that has far-reaching consequences for a business and its clients, it is crucial that you have solid people skills; that is, to be able to assess the needs of a customer while meeting the service standards set by your company as well as the client’s expectations. Knowledge of economics and accounting is also necessary for this position, as the loan industry is fundamentally tied to data interpretation and mathematics.
Loan Officer Duties
Being a loan officer is not a closed-off paperwork-filing job. When dealing with clients who are applying for loans, it is your responsibility to engage them with active listening, making notes of their points and asking questions. In this way, you can create the most comprehensive assessment possible so you can make an informed decision that is best for the company and for the client. Doing this also helps you to create and maintain amiable relationships both with your clients and with your fellow company employees.
Loan Officer Tools and Technology
A loan officer deals heavily in data. To that end, you must equip your workspace with the tools best suited to keeping all information organized and simple to access. You need a desktop computer from a reputable manufacturer as well as a laptop for any potential working on the go. To help with compiling information, these computers should have software for financial analysis, accounting, compliance and content workflow.
Education and Training for a Loan Officer
With the hefty responsibilities of a loan officer comes the need for higher education. Most companies require that applicants for these positions have at least a bachelor’s degree before being considered. During your time in college, it is a good idea to do some coursework in credit management, economics and finance so you can hit the ground running when a company brings you on board. While companies do not necessarily need you to have prior experience in a loan officer job, you will have to go through a training period of moderate length so you can internalize the organization’s processes and values before you work on your own.
Loan Officer Salary
The salary of a loan officer has a vast potential range due to factors such as level of experience, clients’ financial situations and the size of the hiring company. Even though the median figure for the country is at a respectable $62,000 per year, the lowest ten percent of those in the field make a bit more than half that. However, those in the highest ten percent make over $128,000, so you know you are getting into a job with great room for growth.
Loan Officer Jobs by Geography
Large states like California, Texas and Florida have the highest loan officer job concentrations, along with other slightly smaller locations such as New York and Illinois. The most job growth over the next few years is expected to take place in Colorado and Arizona, while the states with the highest pay are New York and Massachusetts. Before you jump to move to the east coast, however, be sure that you also take cost of living into account. Like just about every other job when it comes to making a living, it is all about location, location, location.