Career Guide: Becoming a Mortgage Loan Processor
Have you ever heard of a mortgage loan processor? Even though it may not be a household job title, it’s a common role in the real estate and financial world. And it’s a great career choice, too.
If you’ve ever taken a mortgage to buy a home yourself, you’ve dealt with a mortgage loan processor firsthand, even if you didn’t know it. These individuals are instrumental in the process of homeowners obtaining loans for their mortgages. Whether you’re a financial professional, you’re involved in real estate, or you have little to no background in the mortgage world, becoming a mortgage loan processor is a perfectly viable option.
Let’s take a closer look at what a mortgage loan processor does, as well as what their day-to-day looks like. Workway, a national mortgage staffing agency, has created this guide to help you learn how to become a loan processor yourself and what kind of opportunities this career path can bring you.
What is a Mortgage Loan Processor?
To put it simply, a mortgage loan processor prepares the borrower’s application for a mortgage. They validate mortgage loan application information and verify that the application meets the standards necessary to give the loan.
Mortgage loan processors work closely with loan officers and mortgage underwriters. Loan processors prepare all the essential paperwork before passing it off to the underwriter.
How Do You Become a Loan Processor?
Interested in a career as a mortgage loan processor? You might be wondering what it takes to become one.
First things first: You’ll need a high school diploma or your GED, as you can probably imagine. In addition, many loan processor jobs will require you to have a Bachelor’s or at least an Associate’s degree in finance or a related field. However, there are financial institutions and banks that will not require a college degree when hiring a mortgage loan processor. It all depends on the employer.
On many loan processor job applications, you’ll find that you need a few years of experience in the loan processing field. Again, this simply depends on the position you’re applying for and the company that’s advertising the job.
While certifications aren’t necessarily required to become a mortgage loan processor, they’ll certainly be helpful and can put you ahead of the competition. And some employers do require completion of the National Mortgage Licensing Program (NMLS), after which you’ll be certified and licensed as a mortgage loan processor.
What Are the Job Responsibilities?
The responsibilities involved in a mortgage loan processor job can include:
· Interviewing loan applicants. A mortgage loan processor might interview loan applicants to learn about their employment, financial history, debts, salary, assets, expenses, etc.
· Explaining loan types and terms. With the information described above, the mortgage loan processor can help explain different loan types and terms to the borrower, helping them to find and choose the right loan type for them and their situation.
· Verifying data. Part of the job is verifying the data given to the mortgage loan processor by the borrower, including employment history, collateral asset values, and financial statements.
· Approving or rejecting loans. A mortgage loan processor may be responsible for approving or rejecting loans based on the data given to them and the verification of that data.
· Closing the loan process. Closing the process might include things like setting interest rates on the loan and discussing repayment terms. You’ll also be responsible for answering any questions the borrower might have.
In addition to the educational requirements needed to become a mortgage loan processor—a high school diploma or GED, an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, and perhaps completion of the NMLS certification—there are a few “soft skills” that will serve you well on your journey to becoming a mortgage loan processor. They include:
· Customer service skills. You’ll be working directly with borrowers, as well as with loan officers and underwriters, during your career as a loan processor. And borrowers are likely to have a lot of questions, especially if they’re first-time home buyers. Your customer-service skills will serve you well in this area.
· Organization. There are all sorts of moving parts when it comes to the process of approving a loan. If you’re not organized, things can start to get missed. That’s why top-notch organizational skills are a must-have.
· Communication. Communicating between loan officers and underwriters, other loan processors, and with borrowers themselves is absolutely essential in your career as a mortgage loan processor.
· Analytical mindset. Being able to analyze problems and use your critical thinking skills to come up with viable solutions is another great quality to have if you’re going to become a mortgage loan processor.
· Multitasking ability. This goes hand-in-hand with an analytical mindset and organization. In order to juggle the various moving parts involved in the job, and to manage multiple loan applications at once, you’ll need to have the ability to multitask.
· Mathematical skill. Let’s face it—numbers are part of the job when you’re working in a finance role like that of a mortgage loan processor. Get them wrong, and it throws everything off. That’s why mortgage loan processors must have the proper mathematical and statistical skills.
· Attention to detail. The smallest decimal point can make all the difference in the loan process. Attention to detail is essential in this career field, as it is in almost all financial jobs.
Loan Processor Salaries in the U.S. What is the salary outlook for mortgage loan processor jobs? According to Indeed.com, the average base salary for loan processors is just above $50,000 a year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts loan interviewers and clerks’ mean annual wage at $42,780. Additionally, the BLS expects loan processor, underwriter, and officer jobs to grow in the future. Between 2016 and 2026, in fact, they expect to see an 11% increase in the growth of these types of jobs.
While opportunities for advancement depend heavily on the bank or financial institution you’re working for as a mortgage loan processor, the outlook is good. Mortgage loan processors can advance to supervisory positions once they have some experience under their belt, or if a company is in particular need of a leadership role. There’s also the potential for a mortgage loan processor to be promoted to a manager or office supervisor position.
With additional training or college degrees, loan processors can become underwriters or loan officers (also known as loan originators). Loan originators have the responsibility of bringing more qualified applicants to the financial institution. This kind of role is tied into the economy and the housing market—mortgage loan originators must keep close tabs on such things—and it involves networking with real estate brokers and agents as well. A career as a mortgage loan processor can set you up well if you’re interested in becoming a loan officer in the future.
Note that loan officers or originators sometimes make commission, depending on the institution they work for, so there is an even greater chance for a higher earning at the end of the day.
Mortgage loan processors enjoy, on the whole, a high level of job satisfaction. With a reasonable salary, opportunities for advancement and growth, and an engaging, person-centered career, most loan processors love what they do. Plus, they can feel good about their work—they’re helping people to finance big projects, like home ownership.
Now more than ever, loan processors are enjoying the flexibility of working from home. Most of their work can be done over the phone and through the internet, a fact that the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shift to remote work made very clear. The ability to work from home as a loan processor depends, of course, on the employer, but it’s more common than it was two years ago.
How a Mortgage Staffing Agency Can Help You Land Your Next Loan Processor Job
Are you interested in learning more about the exciting career field of mortgage loan processing? Have you been looking for opportunities in the space with no luck? It’s time to turn to the professionals for help. Working with a specialized mortgage staffing agency like Workway is the perfect path for you—our mortgage recruiters can help you find loan processor jobs that you might not find anywhere else, and get you started on a dynamic, rewarding career.
If you’re interested in the banking, financial, mortgage, or real estate job markets, we can help with that, too. With our experience as a mortgage staffing agency, you’ll get access to top jobs when you’re ready.
Get Started Today
To get started on your journey in the mortgage loan processing field, contact a member of our mortgage recruiting team at Workway. We were the first in the staffing industry to specialize in the areas of title, escrow, mortgage, and foreclosure, and we’re the leading experts in this field today. With offices spanning coast to coast—from Los Angeles and San Diego to Dallas, Texas and Fort Lauderdale, Florida—our mortgage recruiters can find you the position you’ve been waiting for.