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Loan Underwriter: Career Profile

Loan underwriters require a fair amount of formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification information to see if this is the right career for you.

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Loan underwriters, also referred to as loan officers, are the individuals who decide whether or not to accept a loan application and determine the best mutually beneficial loan option. Those in this career will typically have some form of training, either through on-the-job training or degree programs in finance.

Essential Information

Loan underwriters, also known as loan officers, make decisions on loan applications by evaluating whether loan applicants have the legal capacity to enter into a loan agreement, the financial resources to repay the loan, and an acceptable credit history. Underwriters analyze loan applicants to determine the best mutually beneficial loan options. This process may include using computer software to evaluate an applicant's credit history, financial statements and collateral.

Education requirements for this career often include the minimum of a bachelor's degree, although candidates who have extensive experience in finance, banking, and sales may not need a formal degree to find employment.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Skills Requirements Excellent customer service skills; familiarity with financial and loan contract jargon; computer skills; communication skills
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 8% for all loan officers
Average Salary (2018)* $76,270 for all loan officers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Profile

Candidates wishing to become loan underwriters need to have analytical and business skills to evaluate various types of loans and to make sound recommendations to applicants. Loan officers may specialize as consumer loan officers who provide auto and other loans to the general public, or commercial loan officers who offer their services to large investors or organizations. Depending on their specialty, these professionals may be required to travel substantially to meet clients and secure deals.

Salary and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), loan officers were projected to see an employment growth of 8% between 2018 and 2028. The state of the economy during the recession has had a significant effect on job opportunities in financial industries, but if the economy picks up, the need for loan officers may grow more quickly. In 2018, loan officers in general earned an annual average salary of $76,270, as stated the BLS.

Educational Requirements for Loan Underwriters

Some sort of formal training is typically required to become a loan underwriter, although employers may provide on-the-job training for employees with experience in sales or banking. Aspiring loan underwriters may consider a bachelor's degree program in finance, business or a related field to prepare for their careers. Coursework may delve into topics in appraisal principles, business management, financial analysis, advanced accounting and real estate math.

The Bank Administration Institute offers specialized training programs for individuals interested in reviewing and approving loans. For example, the Loan Review Certificate Program is one such program; it helps loan officers improve on their credit assessment and other skills.

Licensure and Certification

Although federal law requires mortgage loan officers to be licensed, loan underwriters typically do not require such licensure. Both the Bank Administration Institute and the Mortgage Bankers Association offer certification programs for loan underwriters and loan officers. Certification, although not required, may help job seekers advance their careers.

Loan underwriters are also known as loan officers and they make decisions on loan applications and whether a loan is mutually beneficial for both the organization and applicant. They will typically receive on-the-job training but can also receive degrees in finance to help improve their day-to-day actions. The job growth for this particular market is growing at a faster than average rate of 8 percent and those who break into this career will find themselves earning a potential average salary of $76,270 per year.

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