Loan Officer

Thomas Lincoln


Loan officers evaluate, authorize, or recommend approval of loan applications for people and businesses.

Working Location

Wanted: One hard worker to replace five that weren't.


Loan officers need at least a high school diploma.

Some positions, particularly commercial loan officers, require a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, economics, or a related field.

Commercial loan officers analyze the finances of businesses applying for credit, they need to understand general business accounting, including how to read financial statements.


Loan officers usually learn their work through on-the-job training.

This may be a combination of formal, company-sponsored training, and informal training during the few first months on the job.

Those who use underwriting software often take classes to learn the company’s software programs.

Transferable Skills

  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
  • Service Orientation
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Writing
  • Active Learning
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Mathematics
  • Coordination
  • Instructing
  • Time Management
  • And Many More


  • Analyze applicants' financial status, credit, and property evaluations to determine feasibility of granting loans.
  • Obtain and compile copies of loan applicants' credit histories, corporate financial statements, and other financial information.
  • Meet with applicants to obtain information for loan applications and to answer questions about the process.
  • Explain to customers the different types of loans and credit options that are available, as well as the terms of those services.
  • Review loan agreements to ensure that they are complete and accurate according to policy.
  • Approve loans within specified limits, and refer loan applications outside those limits to management for approval.
  • Handle customer complaints and take appropriate action to resolve them.
  • Stay abreast of new types of loans and other financial services and products to better meet customers' needs.
  • Review and update credit and loan files.
  • Submit applications to credit analysts for verification and recommendation.

Licenses & Certification

Mortgage loan officers must have a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) license.

  • To become licensed, mortgage loan officers must complete at least 20 hours of coursework
  • Pass an exam
  • Submit to background and credit checks.
  • Renewed annually
  • Individual states may have additional requirements

Several banking associations and schools offer courses or certifications for loan officers. The American Bankers Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association both offer certification and training programs for loan officers. Certification shows dedication and expertise enhance a candidate’s employment opportunities.

Work Experience, Advancement Opportunities, and Related Jobs

Many employers prefer candidates who have work experience in lending, banking, sales, or customer service. For those without a bachelor’s degree, work experience in a related field can be particularly useful.

Related Professions

  • Financial Analysts
  • Financial Examiners
  • Financial Advisors


The median annual wage of loan officers was $56,490 in May 2010.

The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,930, and the top 10 percent earned more than $112,370.

Job Outlook

14% (About as fast as average)