Desktop Underwriting Career Education and Degree Programs

Desktop Underwriter training is an optional credential for lending professionals. Get some quick facts about the training and education necessary to qualify for a position as a lender or loan officer.

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Desktop Underwriter is a computer software program that assists lenders and loan officers in processing loans. Loan officers will need to complete training for in order to become an approved Desktop Underwriter user. While many lenders have no degree, those with a bachelor's in business administration, finance or a related topic will more likely find advancement in this career.

Essential Information

Lenders or loan officers often use Desktop Underwriter, a software program developed by Fannie Mae, to make informed decisions on government, conforming and non-conforming loans. Depending on the position, a loan officer may be required to complete training to become an approved Desktop Underwriter user. Entry-level lenders may have no degree and instead complete a period of on-the-job training at a bank or a lending institution; however, commercial loan officers often hold an undergraduate degree in finance, economics or business.

Required Education High school diploma; additional opportunities and advancement with a bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Desktop Underwriter software training; mortgage loan officers need to be licensed
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% for loan officers*
Median Salary (2015) $63,430 for loan officers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Desktop Underwriting Career Education

Lenders and loan officers often use Desktop Underwriter when processing a loan. Fannie Mae provides materials online and at no cost to individuals who want to learn more about the Desktop Underwriter software program. The training is self-directed and consists of practice cases, step-by-step instructions and Web seminars. The step-by-step component of the training, which Fannie Mae calls Quick Steps, focuses on helping users learn how to perform basic functions in Desktop Underwriter. Some of these tasks include how to perform administrative functions in the program or how to generate and view a credit report.

The Desktop Underwriter practice cases let students simulate the loan process. The cases range from basic to complex, but most are at an intermediate difficulty level. Some of the scenarios in the practice cases include helping a borrower without verifiable credit, processing a Federal Housing Administration loan and processing a high-balance loan.

In contrast to the Quick Steps and practice cases portion of the training, the seminar requires registration and consists of an instructor lecturing on a particular aspect of the Desktop Underwriter program. The seminars are often recorded and can be accessed from the Desktop Underwriter website. There are no educational or career certification prerequisites for someone who wants to use these materials on the Fannie Mae website. However, only loan officers or lenders are likely to view this information. Typically, a loan officer holds a bachelor's degree in business or finance and has some existing knowledge of credit decision making, loan processing and loan amortization.

Degree Programs

Although a high school diploma is sufficient for some loan officer positions, a bachelor's degree in business, finance or economics is required to pursue a career as a commercial lender or loan officer. Degree programs do not focus on Desktop Underwriter, but they do give students the skills necessary to work in the lending industry.

Bachelor of Science in Finance

The discipline of finance encompasses many different areas, and students enrolled in an undergraduate degree program in finance usually have the option of choosing a concentration area. Some common concentration areas include business finance, financial analysis, insurance and investments. Students enrolled in this degree program gain an understanding of the financial markets, financial planning, corporate finance, security analysis and the management of portfolio funds. Many finance degree programs also give students the opportunity to manage a departmental investment fund.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

An undergraduate degree in business administration prepares graduates for managerial positions with a wide range of companies. Some undergraduate degree programs in business administration provide only a general introduction to the field, while other programs allow students to choose a concentration. Possible concentration areas for business administration students include consulting, investments, finance, international business and marketing. General business core courses cover topics such as organizational behavior, managerial accounting, financial accounting, operations management and business ethics.

Desktop Underwriter is a computer program loan officers use to help assess risk and process loans. Those who use this program often start as entry-level lenders, which require no postsecondary education, but those who wish to advance in their career can get a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Loan officers work in a growing industry and one where they may earn a median salary of $63,430 a year.

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