As a bank underwriter your primary task will be to review a person's credit history to determine the likelihood that a bank will give them a loan. In this article you'll learn about education opportunities for the aspiring bank underwriter, salary figures and licensure requirements.
Before banks agree to loan money, bank loan underwriters review each customer's credit history to determine whether the bank will grant the loan. Underwriters use computer software to carefully calculate financial risks and potential losses. Some underwriters also act as loan officers who negotiate rates and fee structures with loan applicants.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Some states require licensure|
|Projected Job Growth||8% from 2014 to 2024 (for all loan officers )*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$63,430 annually (for all loan officers )*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bank Loan Underwriter Job Duties
Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that bank loan underwriters review each loan application, although some underwriters may specialize in reviewing particular types of loan applications (www.bls.gov). Underwriters examine the credit history of the applicant, the purpose for the loan, the applicant's ability to pay back the loan and any financial risks involved. Most underwriters use underwriting software to calculate risk factors and statistics, but underwriters also make judgment calls if the software's results are inconclusive.
After figuring out the bank's risk factors for the loan, bank loan underwriters can recommend to either approve or deny the loan. If the bank approves the loan, underwriters who also work as loan officers then use computer software to set up the fee structure of the loan, including factors such as the monetary principal amount, collateral, interest percentage and monthly payments. Underwriters and loan officers often have to explain loan options to clients. Some workers may create multiple loan fee structure plans so that clients can choose a plan that fits their financial situation.
Employment Outlook for Bank Loan Underwriters
The BLS predicted employment of loan officers, including underwriters, would increase 8% between 2014 and 2024. They associated this projected growth with the increase in lending as the economy begins to recover from the recent recession. However, the use of loan underwriting software, which allows some applications to be underwritten automatically, may affect the number of jobs available.
Bank Loan Underwriter Salary Statistics
As of May 2015, salary statistics reported by the BLS showed that loan officers, including bank loan underwriters, earned an annual median salary of $63,430. Records from the BLS indicated that loan officers who reported earning the highest employment rates in 2015 worked in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and New York.
Bank Loan Underwriter Career Requirements
While the BLS stated that most entry-level loan officer positions only required the minimum of a high school diploma, employers hiring underwriters often prefer applicants with bachelor's degrees in fields such as economics, finance or business administration. Finance and economics undergraduate coursework includes investment management, corporate finances, microeconomics, financial institutions and macroeconomics. Since underwriters use technology and financial software programs, students may want to choose degree programs that incorporate technical skills training.
Although mortgage loan officers are required to be licensed, per the BLS, bank loan underwriters are not necessarily required to be license in all states. Some states, such as Connecticut, have different licensing requirements for mortgage loan officers and underwriters, and oftentimes, licensed underwriters are restricted on what advice they can offer clients. Other states may treat underwriters and mortgage loan officers the same, requiring both to meet the requirements for the same license type.
Eligibility requirements for obtaining a license often include completing a set amount of approved coursework. Some applicants may be required to pass a background check in accordance with state and federal regulations. After passing the required licensing exam, applicants are usually periodically required to renew their licenses by completing continuing education coursework.
Bank underwriters face difficult and unique challenges and require formal education and proper licensure. Furthermore knowing the salary figures and career profiled related to this occupation can better inform you on whether or not a career as a bank underwriter is right for you.