A loan officer usually has a bachelor's degree in finance or business and receives on-the-job training. To be a mortgage loan officer, an officer has to attain a Mortgage Loan Originator license. A loan officer can also earn voluntary certification or complete training courses to gain additional employment opportunities.
Bachelor's degree programs help loan officers to understand financial statements and commercial accounting so they can study a business's finances when owners apply for credit. If a person has worked in banking, customer service or sales in the past, he may not need to earn a bachelor's degree prior to becoming a loan officer.
On-the-job training can consist of months-long company-sponsored and informal training. Companies that offer underwriting services may instruct new employees on their underwriting software program.
To earn a Mortgage Loan Originator license, officers must finish at least 20 hours of coursework, successfully pass an exam, and undergo background and credit checks. Officers have to renew their licenses every year, and the officer may have to complete additional requirements, depending on the state. As of 2015, loan officer certification and training courses are offered by the Mortgage Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association.
Qualities a loan officer should posses include initiative, decision-making skills and interpersonal skills. Officers must have the drive to find new clients, the ability to decide whether an applicant is well-qualified for a loan and the ability to work with different types of applicants.