Difference Between Mortgage Broker & Loan Officer

Mortgage brokers and loan officers do many of the same things; however, how they get there is often very different. This article gives you a comparison of these two loan professions and adds some career salary information, as well.

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Comparing Mortgage Brokers to Loan Officers

Mortgage brokers can be a real estate buyer's best friend in helping them find just the right loan product for their needs. Loan officers will work for a lending institution of some kind and will take charge of whether or not to recommend a loan application. Below is a comparison of these two lending careers, as well as some salary information.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
Mortgage Brokers Associate's or Bachelor's preferred $61,169 8% (loan officers)
Loan Officers Bachelor's Degree $45,312 8%

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

Responsibilities of Mortgage Brokers vs. Loan Officers

Mortgage brokers and loan officers have basically the same goals, which are making loans to people looking to buy property. Mortgage brokers are individuals who work independently to help home buyers find the best loan deals out there for their needs. Loan officers, on the other hand, work for lending companies and check out loan applications to make sure all the information is correct. Next, they make recommendations based on the evidence as to whether or not a loan should be made available to prospective buyers.

Mortgage Brokers

Mortgage brokers are a type of loan officer who helps home buyers weave through the sometimes complicated home loan maze. These experts work closely with prospective real estate buyers in the collection of all the various paperwork one will need to complete, such as applications and credit history. They take this information to various lending companies, banks or credit unions to find the best deal for their clients. In many cases, mortgage brokers are expected to seek out clients, which means they must develop professional relationships with nearby real estate agents.

Job responsibilities of a mortgage broker include:

  • Working with area and regional lending leaders
  • Listening closely to the financial history of possible buyers
  • Marketing their services for prospective clients
  • Representing buyers during the application process

Loan Officers

Most loan officers work with a variety of loan products, including consumer, commercial or mortgage loans. They use specialized software to quickly put together a home buyer's application. It is the loan officer's job to verify the information in an application and then make a decision whether to recommend it move on to an underwriter for the money. Most loan officers work for one company, be it a bank, credit union or savings and loan institution. Some loan officers may specialize in associated areas, like loan underwriting or loan collections. In certain positions, loan officers may need to market themselves and their products to gain new clients.

Job responsibilities of a loan officer include:

  • Explaining loan options and terms to applicants
  • Networking with real estate agencies
  • Keeping clients and agents updated on changes in the loan markets
  • Reviewing loans for government compliance

Related Careers

Instead of working with clients who need home loans as a mortgage broker, individuals could pursue careers as investment brokers, who buy and sell securities, commodities and other investment products. Since loan officers check applications for accuracy before passing them on, an alternate profession might be that of insurance underwriters, who decide if someone qualifies for insurance and how much the premiums will cost.

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