Want to Become a Loan Officer? Here’s What You Need to Do
When you leave high school or college the world is literally your oyster when it comes to careers. Sure, you will have specialized in a specific subject but this doesn’t mean that you have to turn it into a career. Maybe you have a particular interest in numbers and would like to earn a large salary, yet you studied Spanish at university?
If this rings true then carry on reading as we are going to discuss the perfect career opportunity for you, and that is to become a loan officer. You will be dealing with people and numbers and will also be highly rewarded, not only financially, but from a moral point of view as you will be helping out the less well off.
Here we will look at the steps needed to become a loan officer.
Complete Your Undergraduate Degree
The first step to becoming a loan officer is to pass an undergraduate degree, it doesn’t necessarily matter in what field it is in, but it would be advantageous if it was related to finance or economics.
Once you start your career all specific training will be given on the job. It is possible to become a loan officer without a degree but you will have to start at the bottom of a finance company and work your way up, which can take longer than spending 3 years completing your undergraduate’s degree.
Gain Professional Experience
Once you have finished your degree you need to get some professional experience in the workplace before you begin your journey to becoming a loan officer. Choose wisely where you work though, as this will impact how quickly you can achieve your dream. Mortgage companies, brokerages, or finance houses are great places to start as you will gain commercial exposure and also start to understand how the industry works.
Customer service and sales will provide you with a great springboard as these are both skills that a loan officer will require. It can also pay off to find out if the local adult education centers are offering any courses that can help you to better understand the industry as this shows a willingness to learn and also broadens your horizons.
Once you have industry experience it is time to get a role that can lead you to become a qualified loan officer. You will need to be licensed and this will take several years of learning on the job before you can sit your state’s exam.
It is important to be aware of what you will need to study in advance, as the exams are not easy, and also acquaint yourself with any local requirements such as having a criminal background and credit check, after all, you need to understand solvency and not be a criminal if you are going to extend loans for a living!
Passing your exam and then the background screening is only the start of the process, you will subsequently need to broaden your knowledge further by completing a number of courses on the laws, regulations, and ethics behind the industry.
As a loan officer, you will be doing an awful lot more than just giving loans out, a huge part of the job is customer service and sales, as you need customers to extend those loans to. Your employer will ask you to complete a number of in house and external courses before they will unleash you into the marketplace.
Build Your Client Base
You may now be a fully licensed loan officer but if you have no clients then you have no one to extend loans to! Depending on the type of firm you work for you may be asked to build your own client base, or if you are lucky there may be a sales team within your firm.
Networking is key to building a client base, and with a bit of luck, you will have picked up many contacts from your time attending courses and gaining experience. If not you will need to go to those early morning breakfast meetings or the after-work business club in order to expand your portfolio of clients.
As we have discovered it is a long journey to becoming a loan officer but it is entirely possible with a little bit of hard work and application. You will need an undergraduate degree and then several years of experience in the workplace before you can take a position that will allow you to pass your licensing exams. Once done you can start your career in earnest by attending courses and building up your client book.