Should I Become a Certified Loan Closer?
A loan closer prepares and reviews loan-closing documents to ensure they meet company standards and federal regulations before being signed by borrowers. These workers may also answer loan-related questions, solve problems that may arise during the loan closing process and handle the loan process from beginning to completion. Most work hours might be spent sitting at a desk.
|Degree Level||High school diploma; some employers may prefer to hire candidates who possess a college degree|
|Degree Field||Finance, economics or business; paralegal studies|
|Experience||None required; some employers prefer candidates with 1-3 years of experience|
|Licensure and Certification||Licensure is required for mortgage loan closers; voluntary certification is available|
|Key Skills||Decision-making skills, organizational, interpersonal and communication skills, attention to detail, able to use Encompass software program; knowledge of federal and state loan regulations|
|Salary||$62,620 (median salary for all loan officers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Online job postings in December 2012
Step 1: Complete Relevant Coursework
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that high school diploma or its equivalent is the minimum education required to work as a loan closer. Completing classes in research and computer use while in high school may help aspiring loan closers prepare to enter the field.
- Research licensure requirements. Each state independently establishes licensure requirements for loan closers. Although by federal law all mortgage loan closers must be licensed, the licensure and other rules for handing closings of other types of loans differ in each state. Researching these requirements can help an individual identify what they must specifically do to be able to work as a loan closer in the state in which they intend to work.
Step 2: Become Licensed
Mortgage loan closers are required to be licensed in the state in which they work. Therefore, individuals interested in working with mortgage loans must obtain licensure prior to starting work in the field. The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) licenses mortgage loan officers. Earning licensure requires completing a 20-hour training program and passing an exam. The training program covers federal laws and regulations, ethics, lending standards and mortgage origination.
Step 3: Begin Working in the Field
Loan closers handle all aspects of the closing process from beginning to end, from the time of obtaining borrower credit reports through transferring loan funding. Their tasks may include preparing loan-closing documents for state and federal authorities, checking loan documents for quality, assisting in funding requests and wires and working with all involved parties to resolve any problems that arise prior to closing a loan.
- Complete continuing education. Mortgage loan officers licensed through the NMLS must complete eight hours of continuing education every year. Retaining licensure is required to continue working with mortgage loans.
Step 4: Earn Certification
There is no specific certification required to work as a certified loan closer. Instead, loan officers can earn voluntary certifications from the American Bankers Association (ABA) or the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB). The ABA offers the Certified Lender Business Banker credential to commercial lending officers with five years of experience or a combination of post-secondary education and experience who pass an exam.
The NAMB offers three credentials: the General Mortgage Associate (GMA) certification, which is open to individuals with no experience, the Certified Residential Mortgage Specialist (CRMS) certification, which is open to individuals with at least two years of experience and the Certified Mortgage Consultant (CMC) certification, which is available to mortgage specialists with at least five years of experience. Passing an exam is required to earn any of these credentials.
Step 5: Keep Certification Current
Each certification has continuing education requirements. Satisfying these requirements is necessary to retain the title of 'certified.' Holding and maintaining certification gives loan closers an edge in the job market.