Overview of Mortgage Broker, Loan Processor & Loan Officer Professions

Loan processors require little formal education, while mortgage brokers and loan officers typically need a formal degree. Learn about the job duties, education requirements and salary information to see if one of these careers is right for you.

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In this article we provide you with basic career and salary information for mortgage brokers, loan processors and loan officers. By learning about some of the distinctions between these similar professions and comparing salary information and education requirements, you can make an informed decision about your career goals.

Essential Information

Mortgage brokers, loan processors and loan officers work with clients to establish financing for the purchase of real estate. These professionals are responsible for gathering client credit information and determining whether the client is able to handle the financial demands of owning a home. In some cases, all that is required is a high school diploma, on-the-job training and licensing. In the case of loan officers and mortgage brokers, a bachelor's degree is typically required for employment.

Career Mortgage Brokers Loan Interviewers & Clerks (Processors) Loan Officers
Required Education Bachelor's degree High school diploma Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Several years of experience & Mortgage Loan Originator license; optional certifications available N/A On-the-job training & Mortgage Loan Originator license; optional certifications available
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% for all loan officers* 9% for loan interviewers and clerks* 8% for loan officers*
Median Annual Salary $51,856 (January 2016)** $39,593 (January 2016)** $63,430 (May 2015)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com

Mortgage Broker Definition

According to the National Association of Mortgage Professionals (NAMB), mortgage brokers are real estate financiers who mediate between customers and lenders during mortgage transactions (www.namb.org). They are a type of senior loan officer who guides clients through the process of getting a mortgage. Mortgage brokers work with different banks and lenders to find the best option for their customers while considering items, such as credit scores and finances. These professionals may begin their careers as loan officers before advancing to become a broker.

Salary Information

As of January 2016, PayScale.com reports that most mortgage brokers earn between $29,362 and $197,489 annually. The median salary was $51,856. Mortgage brokers who achieve professional certification, such as the NAMB's Certified Mortgage Consultant, may earn more.

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Loan Processors

Loan processors may also be referred to as loan interviewers or clerks. The National Association of Mortgage Processors defines the primary job duty of a loan processor as accurately packaging loans that were originated by loan officers (www.mortgageprocessor.org). They are responsible for handling loan documentation and meeting deadlines. These professionals verify the credit reports and debt history of the customer seeking a loan.

Salary Information

PayScale.com reports that the median salary for a loan processor was $39,593, as of January 2016, and that most earn between $27,027 and $51,500. Experienced loan processors may go on to become senior loan processors or loan underwriters who can earn more.

Loan Officer Definition

Loan officers help customers secure a loan to purchase or refinance their homes. Loan officers may also work with customers who've had trouble getting a loan because of past credit problems. These professionals provide customers with different loan options and explain their benefits. Once an agreement is reached, they review it to ensure it follows regulations and outlines a payment schedule.

Loan officers are familiar with financial and accounting software including Bottom Line LoanMaster, Experian Credinomics and Moody's KMV CreditEdge. In addition to being knowledgeable on existing loans, they must educate themselves whenever new types of loans become available.

Salary Information

In May 2015, BLS reported that the median annual earnings for loan officers were $63,430. Earnings may be based on salary or salary plus commissions. Location and employer may also play a substantial determining role in a loan officer's compensation.

Mortgage brokers, loan processors and loan officials all work to help property buyers obtain financing, but each represents a unique focus. While loan processors may need just a high school diploma, college degrees are required for mortgage brokers and loan officers. All three positions are projected to have steady growth over the next few years.

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