Most loan officers need a bachelor's degree and receive on-the-job training. Mortgage loan officers must be licensed.
Loan officers typically need a bachelor's degree, usually in a field such as business or finance. Because commercial loan officers analyze the finances of businesses applying for credit, they need to understand general business accounting, including how to read financial statements.
Some loan officers may be able to enter the occupation without a bachelor's degree if they have related work experience, such as experience in sales, customer service, or banking.
Once hired, loan officers usually receive some on-the-job training. This may be a combination of formal, company-sponsored training and informal training during the first few months on the job.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Mortgage loan officers must have a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) license. To become licensed, they must complete at least 20 hours of coursework, pass an exam, and submit to background and credit checks. Licenses must be renewed annually, and individual states may have additional requirements.
Several banking associations, including the American Bankers Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association, as well as a number of schools, offer courses, training programs, or certifications for loan officers. Although not required, certification shows dedication and expertise and thus may enhance a candidate's employment opportunities.
Decisionmaking skills. Loan officers must assess an applicant's financial information and decide whether to award the applicant a loan.
Detail oriented. Each piece of information on an application can have a major effect on the profitability of a loan, meaning that loan officers must pay attention to detail.
Initiative. Loan officers need to seek out new clients. They often act as salespeople, promoting their lending institution and contacting firms to determine their need for a loan.
Interpersonal skills. Because loan officers work with people, they must be able to guide customers through the application process and answer their questions.