How to become a mortgage loan officer
With alternative working schedules and above-average work-life balance scores, it’s no surprise that mortgage loan officer is listed #8 in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings for best business jobs. If you’re interested in becoming a loan officer, we’ve outlined the requirements along with the time it takes and the outstanding perks you’ll enjoy when you build your career with Guild.
What does a loan officer do?
Loan officers help pair homebuyers with the right home loans for their situations. They’re expected to know the basic guidelines for dozens of loan programs and run scenarios to find the most comfortable fit for borrowers. Loan officers can provide verbal pre-qualifications and give homebuyers ballpark estimates on how much money they can borrow. They then facilitate the loan application process, including collecting and reviewing the financial documents needed to issue pre-approval letters that show sellers how much borrowers can afford.
Beyond overseeing the home application process, they also facilitate the loan closing process. This involves coordinating with processing, underwriting and funding. During closing, they work closely with other mortgage professionals such as real estate agents, title companies and escrow officers to ensure the loan closes on time. Most importantly, loan officers serve as home financing advisors, guiding clients through the financing process, keeping real estate agents informed on the next steps, and even checking in after closing to ensure their customers are still comfortable with their loans.
What does it take to become a loan officer?
You must fulfill these six requirements to become a loan officer and maintain your license:
- 1. Pre-licensing requirements:
Create a profile with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS).
- 2. Education requirements:
A high school diploma or equivalent is required, and state-specific pre-licensure education requirements range from 18 to 30 hours of NMLS approved education courses. NMLS maintains a list of approved course providers, which is updated monthly. These are the only entities authorized to deliver courses for mortgage loan officer (MLO) licensing.
- 3. Exam requirements:
Pass the national SAFE Test with Uniform State Content with a 75% score or higher. You can find additional information on how to prepare or enroll for the test on the NMLS testing resource center website.
- 4. Age requirements:
You’ll need to be at least 18 to get licensed as an MLO.
- 5. Licensing requirements:
Submit a state MLO license application in NMLS. Some states like Colorado may require an additional license application outside NMLS. In addition, to submit a license application in NMLS, you’ll need to answer questions related to your financial, legal, and criminal history, authorize a credit report through NMLS, provide information on your employment and residential history for the past 10 years with no gaps (you can list if you were unemployed or a student to meet this requirement) and get fingerprinted to go through a background check. Some states may require additional information such as immigration or citizenship documentation, outside NMLS state-specific background checks and proof of education. NMLS has an available checklist with all the state-specific licensing requirements where you can see if there’s anything else you’ll need.
- 6. Maintaining license and annual requirements:
MLOs are required to update their NMLS profiles with life-event changes such as name changes, changes to your residential address and employment history. You’ll also be required to complete continuing education, request to renew your state licenses and pay for it annually. Some states may also have additional requirements for renewing your licenses, such as submitting a new background check (which requires new prints every 3 years), credit report or other state-specific requests. NMLS and states update the renewals information annually, and the Guild compliance team maintains a resource center with helpful license renewal information.
How long does it take to become a loan officer?
It’s up to you. Once you’ve completed your 18 to 30 hours of NMLS education, if you don’t pass the SAFE Test with Uniform State Content the first or second time with a 75% score or higher, you can retake the exam 30 days later.
6 perks of becoming a Guild loan officer
If you’re considering building your career with us, check out the outstanding benefits we offer.
- 1. Flexibility and freedom
You’ll have access to our Salesforce-based customer relationship management (CRM) system integrated with a proprietary loan origination system (LOS) utilizing fast track asset and income verification as well as DocuSign and eClose abilities. With this technology, loans can be originated anywhere and everywhere, giving Guild loan officers flexibility and freedom.
- 2. Help people achieve their financial goals
Being a loan officer means you play an instrumental role in your client’s financial future. While skiing in Lake Tahoe, we asked Loan Officer Seamus Murphy what’s special about working at Guild. He said, “Seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they become homeowners is just so rewarding and unparalleled to anything else. What a cool way to help people and to be such an important part of their life.”
- 3. Experience an entrepreneurial culture
At Guild, our workplace environment cultivates entrepreneurs looking to build their business their own way. We honor and encourage team structures, allow team branding and provide marketing technology so loan officers can make a name for themselves via the web, email, social media and traditional advertising channels.
- 4. Benefit from built-in lead generation
Since we service most of the loans we close, we have triggers built into our portfolio to identify when past customers may move or be eligible for a refinance and refer them back to their original loan officer.
- 5. Advance along a career path
Loan officers looking to take their business to the next level can participate in Elevate, a peer-to-peer coaching program, or Business Booster, a self-guided coaching resource.
- 6. Offer more financing options
Guild offers a wide range of residential mortgage products for every customer situation, including FHA, VA and USDA loans, energy-efficient programs and manufactured home financing.
After more than 60 years of consistent growth, Guild has the operations, stability and reputation of a dependable lender. Join our talented team and build your career with us. We’re looking for bright, energetic, and creative people who like the idea of building for the future and helping others. Apply now for a loan officer career opportunity.
The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction. Equal Opportunity Employer.