Career and Job Search Guide

Loan Officer

Many people obtain loans to buy homes, automobiles, or attend college. Many companies take out loans to purchase new equipment and increase business operations. Loan officers review loan applications to determine whether individuals and businesses should be extended credit. They review information about applicants to determine whether the clients will more than likely repay loans. After reviewing a potential client's information, loan officers often approve the most appropriate loan for applicants. They then describe loan repayment requirements and restrictions.

Loan officers assist clients during the entire loan approval process. Officers first meet with clients to discuss what they intend to do with the loan and available loan options and terms. During this meeting, clients have the opportunity to ask questions and get assistance with the application from the loan officer.

After an application has been filled out, loan officers review it to determine whether an applicant is creditworthy. The process now takes less time since loan officers can access applicants' credit scores with computers. If an applicant does not have a credit history, loan officers usually ask for other information about the applicant's finances, or if the applicant is a business applying for a commercial loan, the officer will usually request to see the company's financial reports. After reviewing applications and supplementary documents, loan officers collaborate with bank management to decide whether to extend credit to the applicant. If the applicant is granted credit approval, loan officers meet with approved applicants to determine a repayment schedule. Loan officers often specialize in mortgage loans, loans used to purchase homes, consumer loans, loans used to purchase consumer products such as vehicles, or commercial loans, loans used to fund businesses. Since banks continue create and offer new financial products, it will be the responsibility of loan officers to understand these new products.

Loan offices are also responsible to find new clients. Loan officers specializing in commercial loans frequently contact companies notifying them of special rates or promotions being offered by their bank or financial institution. Loan officers specializing in mortgage loans work with real estate agents, so when an agent sells a property, he or she will recommend financing the purchase with the bank the loan officer works for.

Loan underwrites are loan officers who determine whether a person should be extended credit after conducting a thorough review of the person's credit history. Underwriters want to determine whether the person poses a default risk.

Loan collection officers work with customers not making regular payments to prevent default. When a client is unable to make any more payments, loan collection officers coordinate collateral liquidation, a process where collateral is sold to pay the remainder of the loan.

Work environment. Loan officers frequently travel. Since they are often gone, loan officers communicate with customers and co-workers using the latest computer and telecommunication technology. Mortgage loan officers frequently meet with clients outside their offices. Additionally, commercial loan officers occasionally visit cities away from their office to conduct their business. However loan officers specializing in consumer loans do not travel very often, performing most their work at their office.

Loan officers usually work 40 hour weeks when there is not unusual demand for credit, but since they are permitted to have as many clients as they want, loan officers specializing in mortgages can work more than 40 hours a week. During periods of low interest rates, loan officers work long hours.