How to Become a Loan Officer

Career Path Guide

If you want to become a loan officer, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for it:


• You have an interest in helping people and businesses achieve their financial goals

• You are able to make sense of financial statements and data

• You enjoy meeting new people and working directly with customers

• You have business acumen and excellent communication skills

• You are skilled in balancing the needs of clients with the needs of an organization

• You have a proven ability to reach sales goals


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a loan officer. We've also included helpful occupational information, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Loan Officer

You typically need an undergraduate degree in an area such as accounting, economics, business or finance if you want to become a loan officer.


A degree in one of these fields will demonstrate to employers that you have a good knowledge base in the field, including an understanding of how to read financial statements and data. 


You may be able to get a job as a loan officer without a degree, provided you have a sufficient amount of related work experience, such as in sales, customer service, or banking.





General Job Description

Loan officers are employees of organizations that offer loans and/or credit services to individuals (consumer credit) and businesses (commercial credit).


They are responsible for the evaluation and authorization of loans and various forms of credit; they use a process called underwriting to assess whether applicants qualify for loans based on the information provided in their application.


In addition to qualifying applicants for loans or credit, a large part of a loan officer’s job involves customer service and sales activities. Loan officers spend a significant amount of their time guiding customers through the application process and marketing the products and services of their lending institution in order to generate new business.


Loan officers may specialize in mortgage, consumer or commercial loans, and within these areas of specialization, they may further specialize in loan underwriting or loan collection.



Typical Job Duties

• Meet applicants in order to provide them with information regarding the lending process

• Explain different lending options to client as well as the terms of service surrounding the loan

• Gather application related information from applicants

• Analyze and evaluate the applicant’s finances to decide if the applicant should get the loan

• Must approve or decline loan within a certain window of time

• Review and update credit files

• Review approved loan agreements to ensure that they are complete and accurate

• Liaise with underwriters to resolve any credit or loan application issues

• Promote bank products to individuals in order to secure new business

• Must calculate payment schedules



Who Employs Loan Officers?

Loan officers are employed on a part-time, full-time and contractual basis by many different types of organizations, including:


• Commercial banks (regional, national and international)

• Credit unions

• Mortgage companies

• Private lending companies

• Government departments

• Other financial institutions





Characteristics Needed to Be Successful

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a loan officer, you need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your duties as a loan officer is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.


• An interest in helping people and businesses achieve their financial goals

• An interest in working in a customer-facing environment

• An interest in continuous learning and development

• Willing to maintain current industry knowledge

• Sales and business acumen

• Customer service focus with regards to work activities

• Personal accountability and a teamwork oriented attitude



Skills You'll Need

To be effective in a career as a loan officer, you need to posses a certain set of skills. These skills will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, and employers will likely want to see evidence of them on your resume when you apply for loan officer jobs.


• Strong prospecting ability and a proven track record of working successfully to achieve sales results

• Excellent organizational and time management skills

• Excellent verbal and written communication skills

• Working knowledge of financial statement analysis and software programs

• Proficient with Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook

• Customer relationship management skills

• Accuracy and attention to detail when working with numbers

• Able to speak a second language that is common in the area of service



Typical Salary Level

The salary level of loan officers can vary depending on their personal qualifications, the specific responsibilities of their job, the size and type of their employer, and many other factors.


Their earnings are also affected by their remuneration structure; they may be paid on an hourly, salary or commission basis, and they may receive sales target bonuses, incentives and other forms of additional compensation. 


Loan Officer Salaries in Alberta: According to the 2016 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey (the latest figures available at the time of writing - February 20, 2020), Albertans working as part of the Loan Officers occupational group earn an average salary of $75,834.


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Loan Officers occupational group is $63,040 per year (May, 2018 figures). 



Current Job Postings

Our job board below has "loan officer" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.



Loan Officer Career: Working Conditions

Working Hours and Setting: Loan officers typically work in an office environment, during normal, weekday business hours. There are exceptions to this however, as some loan officers may work out of a home office (such as contracted mortgage specialists), and some may work irregular hours in order to meet clients at a time that is convenient to them.


Work Environment: Loan officers constantly deal with people including staff members, people in business and industry, and the general public. They also spend a lot of their time reviewing information and data using specialized computer programs and software.



Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to loan officer, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Bank Manager

Bank Teller

Credit Analyst

Credit Counselor

Financial Advisor




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a loan officer.


Occupations in Alberta:Mortgage Associate.” (March 1, 2012). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved February 20, 2020.

Business & Financial: “Loan Officers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved February 20, 2020.

Business Management Career Profiles:Mortgage Loan Officer Requirements.” Lauren Treadwell (n.d.). Houston Chronicle website. Retrieved December 30, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Loan Officer

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to this profession can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant University Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a loan officer. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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