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Commercial Bank Underwriting: Career Info & Education Requirements

Commercial bank underwriters require some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Commercial bank underwriters reject or approve loan applications based on a business's credentials. They need at least a bachelor's degree in a finance-related field in addition to on-the-job training. There are also a number of options for certification for those hoping to boost their credibility in the eyes of potential employers.

Essential Information

A commercial bank underwriter is a loan officer who analyzes the risks involved in loaning money to a business. Commercial bank underwriters consider a business's credit history and financial standing, among other factors, before deciding whether to approve or reject a loan application. They need bachelor's degrees in finance or a related field, plus additional on-the-job training. While certifications are not required, commercial loan officers can possibly boost their prospects by earning credentials from one of several professional organizations.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in finance or a related field
Professional Certifications Several types of optional credentials available
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 8% increase for all loan officers
Median Salary (2015)* $63,430 for all loan officers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information for Commercial Bank Underwriters

Commercial bank underwriters typically use underwriting software to evaluate a business's financial records and assess whether the business will be able to repay a loan. However, because commercial loans are more complicated than personal loans, commercial loan underwriters often need to perform additional analysis that underwriting software cannot provide.

Job Prospects and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for all types of loan officers is expected to increase by 8% between 2014 and 2024, although hiring is heavily dependent on the state of the nation's economy. The median annual wage for all loan officers was approximately $63,430 in May 2015.

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Commercial Bank Underwriters' Education Requirements

Those who aspire to be commercial loan officers, including loan underwriters, usually need a bachelor's degree in a business-related field, such as economics or finance, to be eligible for hire. Job applicants also need to understand business accounting and financing practices. Additional training is often done on the job, though keeping current on underwriting software might require continuing education classes.

Licensing, Certification and Advancement

There are no licensing or certification requirements for commercial loan underwriters; however, the Bank Administration Institute (BAI) offers the option to earn a Loan Review Certificate by attending two in-house seminars that last 3-4 days and passing a comprehensive exam. Although not required, this certificate benefits underwriters who wish to advance in the commercial banking industry.

Earning a Commercial Certified Mortgage Banker (Commercial CMB) credential is another option for commercial bank underwriters who wish to advance their careers. This certification pertains to commercial real estate loans. CampusMBA, the education arm of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), provides this credential to candidates who have at least three years of banking experience, earn required education credits and pass comprehensive written and oral exams.

In order to become a commercial bank underwriter, candidates need to earn a bachelor's degree in finance or a related field. On-the-job training and keeping up-to-date with underwriting software are important once in the work force. There are a few different options for certification through the BAI and the MBA for those who meet the requirements.

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