Loan officers are the people who advise, evaluate, and authorize loans to people and businesses, and they work in a range of settings, including commercial banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, and car dealerships. Their profession involves a lot of paperwork and managing logistics, and also requires extraordinary interpersonal skills. Borrowing money can be a nerve-wracking experience, and a loan officer should make his or her clients feel at ease in the process, while still educating them on their decision.
The need for loan officers is related to the ever-changing economy, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts this profession will grow as our markets recuperate. Between 2010 and 2020, an expected 41,000 new loan officers will join the workforce.
The pay scale for evaluating, originating, and approving loans varies broadly. The average salary for a loan officer working in 2011 was $58,030, according to the BLS. Top earners made a lucrative $115,450, while those in the bottom 10-percentile earned about $32,110. According to Donnelly, many loan officers receive their pay from commission. So their earnings could fluctuate markedly year to year. Mortgage brokers tend to be the best-compensated in the industry, as are those who process auto loans. Big cities, such as New York City and San Francisco, pay the top salaries.
Training and licensing requirements vary depending on what type of loan officer you become. For example, a commercial loan officer would need at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a business-related field like finance, economics, or accounting. A mortgage loan officer might not require a college diploma, but he or she would need a license. Additional training would take place on the job.