How to Become a Loan Officer

Loan officers work with individuals and businesses to help facilitate the lending process. As a loan officer, you'll be working as a liaison between the client and the bank. You have to gather information to determine the likelihood that the individual or business will have the ability to repay the loan. Loan officers typically specialize in commercial, consumer or mortgage loans. Commercial loans help companies buy new equipment or expand operations. Consumer loans include home-equity, automobile and personal loans. Mortgage loans are those made to purchase or refinance real estate. As a loan officer you will guide the client through the process of applying for the loan. This process begins with the client contacting the bank and ends with the loan's approval. Most loan officers work in commercial banks, savings institutions and credit unions. With the right education, you can become a loan officer [source: BLS]. Let's now see how to become a loan officer.

  1. Earn a bachelor's degree in finance, banking or economics. Lending institutions require their loan officers to have a degree, as they need the knowledge to analyze financial statements and other business related documents. You will also need the ability to negotiate and present financial deals to the bank and consumer.
  2. Get licensed. Federal law requires that all loan officers obtain state licensing. The licensing requirements include attending a 20-hour course, passing an exam, passing a background check and not having any felony convictions. Mortgage loan officers must fulfill a continued education requirement in order to maintain their license.
  3. Seek employment. You now qualify for a job as a junior loan officer. You'll work with a senior loan officer and learn the ropes of the business. He will be monitoring you very carefully, especially your interaction with the clients. After some time, you can apply for a more senior position. With some hard work, you'll be able to earn promotions and climb the corporate ladder [source: education-portal].