Your Successful Career as a Mortgage Broker
Author: David Reed
Pub Date: April 2007
Print Edition: $18.95
Print ISBN: 9780814473702
Page Count: 240
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814400814
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1 • C H A P T E R •
The Mortgage Loan Officer
and His Team
A loan officer is an individual who assists those who need or want
to borrow money in order to buy real estate. Loan officers take
loan applications, counsel clients on the types of loans that best suit
their needs, and help them with other mortgage-related questions
about loan qualifications, closing costs, monthly payments, and credit
A loan officer can be an employee of a national bank or a ‘‘mom
and pop’’ mortgage-broker organization. Regardless of who employs
them, all loan officers provide the same basic customer-service functions.
There are numerous advantages to being a mortgage loan officer,
You can make a lot of money as a mortgage loan officer. Lots of it.
According to the CNNMoney.com annual salary survey, the average
loan officer makes over $76,000 per year. Make it to the top 5 percent
of the industry and you’ll make over $360,000 per year. Not bad for a
day’s work, is it?
There are no college degrees required to be a loan officer, nor do you
have to have any special education requirements. Although there are various
state licensing laws that you need to comply with, you don’t have
to amass any special formal education. Okay, you need to read and
know how to work a calculator, but that’s about it.
You help people. In fact, you help people with one of the biggest
decisions they’ll ever make. Your counsel and advice, along with your
encouragement, get people into their own homes.
If you do your job right, you will get a sense of accomplishment found
in few other careers. Helping people get into their first homes or being
the person responsible for helping someone repair his or her damaged
credit in order to buy a home is a feeling hard to find elsewhere. I
remember one young lady several years ago that actually broke down
in tears when I told her she qualified to buy her very own home. Go
ahead, find something else like that in the financial world. I dare you.
You can telecommute. You can be a mortgage loan officer anywhere.
If you decide that the Southern California lifestyle is no longer for you
and you yearn to live on a ranch in west Texas, then by gosh unpack
those boots and do it. You’re not stuck with a career that only works in
major cities. You can go anywhere you please.
The skills are transferable. Mortgage loans are approved in the very
same fashion in Miami as they are in Mobile. Geography does not
distinguish a 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage. That means the
skills you’ve learned in one part of the country will be the very same
skills you rely on in other parts of the country. If you’re a good loan
officer in Seattle, you’ll be a good loan officer in Schenectady. Many
jobs don’t allow you the luxuries that being a loan officer does.
You work your own hours. You can sleep late if you want. Or not.
Successful loan officers treat their loan businesses as seriously as any
other professionals. If you want to start your day at 10:00 a.m., you
can. If you want to begin work before the sun comes up, you can do
that too. Some loan officers take a day off during the week so they can
work Saturdays. Some loan officers work Sunday afternoons. Some
loan officers work in the evenings. Most successful loan officers work
a combination thereof.
You will become more financially savvy. Becoming a loan officer gives
you a better sense of the importance of financial well-being. There are
few high school or college courses that teach the importance of credit
and financial responsibility. Most of us learn it just by living every day,
paying our bills when they’re due. Others may not understand how late
payments on a credit report can affect their financial futures. By being
a mortgage loan officer, you’re knee-deep in the world of credit and
how it affects consumers. You will understand how financial responsibility
can reap rewards such as being able to borrow money at a cheaper
rate than someone with less-than-stellar credit.
As a mortgage loan officer, you will be able to share the knowledge that
owning a home is perhaps the single greatest way for someone to
achieve financial independence. Building equity in a house can mean
an easier retirement or an easier time paying for other things such as
college tuition or home improvements.
You can be a part of all that. You can become a successful mortgage
loan officer and make a lot of money if you follow the instructions
outlined in this book.
Characteristics of Good Loan Officers
Okay, so now that you know what a loan officer does, do you have the
tools necessary to be a loan officer? Maybe. Maybe not. The fact is there
are not any ‘‘core’’ requirements to be a loan officer. There are, however,
certain characteristics that will certainly help you succeed in this
You Are Responsible Enough To Be Your Own Boss
This is probably the hardest component for a lot of people. Some need
to have an eight-to-five job—they simply need to have structure that is
sometimes attained only through a time clock.
Don’t take this the wrong way, but some people in their work lives
need to be told what to do. They perform better when someone else
sets the objectives and goals for the day.
As a loan officer who gets paid primarily on commission, you will
determine your own success or failure. You have to be a self-starter and
be able to stay on top of all aspects of your job.
Many loan officers starting out are fortunate enough to have bosses
who help steer their career paths in the right direction. Still other lenders
simply say to the loan officer newbie, ‘‘Okay, we’re going to pay you
a big commission to bring in these deals, but you have to bring them
Being your own boss means that, whether you’re self-employed or
not, you must have the ability to establish and follow a marketing plan
as well as adapt easily to the constant changes in business climates that
directly affect your plan. Knowing these changes will occur will make
them easier to accept.
You Are Comfortable Crunching Numbers
You don’t need to be able to do calculus, but you do need to understand
numbers. Mortgage loans don’t involve quantum theory, but you must
be able to comfortably add up numbers, divide that number by another
number or two, and be able to use a financial calculator.
When I was in school, math was never my best subject. I was
definitely a ‘‘right brain’’ guy who could handle the abstract and present
it in a coherent way, but often certain calculations would leave me dry.
I didn’t necessarily struggle with math, but it was definitely harder to
execute than, say, writing or giving speeches.
Before I entered the mortgage field, I had a good friend who owned
a mortgage company. I would go over to his house and see him work
off a funny calculator that had a bunch of odd, numbered keys on it.
This funny calculator was the famed Hewlett-Packard 12C, or HP12C,
as it’s known in the financial world.
A regular hand-held calculator would let you type in ‘‘12 + 10 =
22’’ or some simple process. A 12C financial calculator would give you
an unintelligible answer when you tried to enter in the very same 12
+ 10 sequence. It was weird.
After I became a loan officer, I used the 12C every day, all day.
And now, I honestly find it difficult to use any ‘‘normal’’ calculator. It
frustrates me. My 10-year-old son can use one with ease, but I can’t
seem to make it work and I usually throw it aside.
Although I talk about the 12C, it is certainly not the only financial
calculator on the market. The point here is you need to be able to
comfortably work with a handheld financial calculator. There are a variety
of online calculators and even some you can run on your computer,
but be wary. You will need to be able to figure payments by yourself,
without the aid of a computer.
Whether you need to accomplish that feat often is not as important
as knowing how to do it. You will, someday, need to calculate payments.
You will, some day, impress your potential client when he or
she sees that you know how to figure payments with a calculator and
not rely on a computer or website. It makes them think you’re a financial
genius. And like me, who was math-challenged, that’s a big plus.
You Are Capable of Explaining Things
The mortgage business has so many foreign terms that most consumers
never run across them until they buy a house. And even if someone
buys three or four houses in his lifetime, he still might not get the
It’s your responsibility as a loan officer to explain the entire mortgage
process in language borrowers understand. Mortgages aren’t nec-
essarily complex, it’s just that the language inherent in the process can
make them so.
If you’re able to explain things, you won’t get your feathers ruffled
when someone asks a question or gets frustrated with you when she’s
hit with a bunch of numbers that don’t quite mean much. Your customers
will be happy and will refer you to their friends.
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