What Careers Are Available in the Mortgage Industry?

With the recent shakeout in the mortgage industry many may assume this is not the best place to look for a career. However now is probably one of the best times to get started in this field. The housing crisis has led to many mortgage brokers giving up on their careers and moving on to other things. As the market rebounds, new mortgage professionals will be needed to replace them. In addition, government efforts to help homeowners have created more opportunities within the ailing industry. Market conditions are also creating more careers for mortgage servicing agents and consumer credit counselors.

Rising Demand

The growth in demand for mortgage loan officers is expected to grow by more than ten percent over the next 13 years. Typically, a loan officer will have a Bachelor’s degree in finance or economics. However, there are many loan officers who began in administrative positions at mortgage brokerages and now practice without a degree of any sort. Those who work at a bank or credit union generally do not require licenses to be mortgage loan officers.

Skills Needed

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People skills are a necessity in the mortgage loan industry. People looking to purchase homes are often quite anxious about the process of applying for a loan. Add to that new regulations and more stringent requirements on loan applications and you have a recipe for stress. Only those who are able to metaphorically hold a client’s hand will be able to navigate the process successfully.

Other Mortgage Industry Careers

Mortgage careers come in many varieties and becoming a mortgage loan officer is just one option out of many. There are careers available for brokers, mortgage underwriters and mortgage servicing representatives. These jobs are available in both residential and commercial lending. You can also work with developers looking to construct new residential or commercial buildings.

Brokers

Mortgage brokers have rewarding careers in the mortgage industry, serving as the middlemen between housing borrowers and lenders. They are different than loan officers in that they work for an independent brokerage, where as loan officers work for the lending institution itself. States have varying regulations about requirements to become a mortgage broker, but most potential brokers will need a Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics or Finance, plus a Mortgage Broker certification.

A mortgage broker will connect borrowers with the right lenders by assessing the needs of the borrower and matching those needs with the lender that has the most advantageous loan program. The broker performs a credit check on the borrower before matching them with the right program and orders an appraisal of the property value. They may also need to negotiate special deals with the borrower and lender in order to close a loan.

Mortgage brokers make approximately $60,000 per year. Those working for large institutions and banks may only make $30,000, while those at the top of their fields can make $100,000. Mortgage brokers often earn based on commissions, so success depends upon their ability to attract clients, navigate the application process and close loans.

Underwriters

A mortgage underwriter is the person responsible for reviewing a loan application package, which is received through a loan officer or mortgage broker. This person will also look at the property appraisal and may request additional documents to validate employment and credit history. The mortgage underwriter is the person who ultimately decides if the loan will be granted. Because workloads can vary, the time it takes an underwriter to approve or deny an application will depend on the backlog. Typically, loans are approved within one working week.

It is not necessary to have a college degree to become a loan underwriter, but a Bachelor’s degree in finance, business or economics is strongly preferred by employers. A working knowledge of business law and accounting is also helpful. Those in the underwriting field can expect to be continually updating their knowledge and skills through continuing education, often paid for by the employer.

The job market for loan underwriters is expected to grow at a faster than average rate over the next ten years. Underwriters make a median salary of about $50,000. The lowest paid underwriters make approximately $30,000 and the highest paid make close to $100,000 per year.

Service Representatives

Service representatives are also in high demand. These are the individuals who collect and process monthly payments, field customer questions, and pass payments along to loan underwriters. They also handle escrow accounts, ensuring that taxes and insurance are paid when due. These workers may also pitch related financial products to consumers, such as equity lines of credit.

Mortgage service representatives have a broad range of opportunities within the mortgage industry. They work in centralized offices in rural areas where companies can control costs through cheaper labor. These representatives only need to have a high school education. This is an excellent part of the mortgage industry for getting your foot in the door and gaining valuable mortgage experience. You can use this experience to move up to mortgage brokering or into more advanced careers in loan servicing such as hedging strategies and quality control.

Many skills are encompassed in this field, which represents something for everyone. Those who enjoy telephone work with challenges may enjoy collections. Those who are more analytically minded may find a career in quality control. Customer service can be good for those with a strong mind for details and a gentle hand with customers.

While the demand for mortgage brokers and loan officers fluctuates with the economy, existing loans always need servicing, making this sector of the mortgage industry a stable and dependable career.  Opportunities for advancement are great for anyone willing to work hard. No college training is needed, making in ideally suited to those who prefer to enter the workforce directly from high school rather than attend college.

No matter what your skills and personality, the mortgage industry offers a job that will suit you. Whether you are a people person, an analytical mind or a number cruncher, you will find something that suits you well.

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