My Education: BS General Business & Finance, UMASS Amherst
My Prior Experience: After a 20 year career of owning a marketing company, I became a loan officer for a mortgage company nearly 10 years ago. I am currently with my 3rd company which is the largest independent mortgage lender in MA,
My Company: Provide consumers with residential home mortgages.
Job/Career Overview: As a Senior Loan Officer for one of the largest independent mortgage companies in the country, my primary responsibility is to generate new business. While this can be done in a variety of ways, to be successful you need to be personable, outgoing, and professional. We all have a network of friends and family, however these people should not be your primary source of business.
One thing you will find in life is you get what you give. If you enjoy helping others without the expectation of getting anything back beyond the satisfaction of helping people, then life will find ways of reciprocating. Examples are volunteering to help those less fortunate, being a big brother or sister, joining organizations such as Masons, Knights of Columbus, or other groups seeking to help communities and mankind, participating in professional activities within your industry.
Those that are successful in my industry are focused on being the best they can be. It takes hard work to be successful. Not just for a week or a month but as a way of life. For example, Realtors are an excellent source of business for loan officers. Earning their trust so they will refer you business can take years of effort. For example, I have been trying to establish a relationship with a top producing realtor for almost 2 years. I have consistently sent her information over the years that I felt would be helpful to her business. Recently, she referred a first time buyer to me. The buyers and I developed a strong relationship and were very pleased with the way I helped them throughout the process. They reported this back to the realtor who is now referring other clients to me as well.
While nothing happens in my business without selling, the best sources of business for me are referrals. There is no better way of earning referrals than providing a client with an exceptional loan experience. If you treat your customers as you would want to be treated then you will be rewarded. Being honest and ethical in all your actions will serve you well. That's not to say that you should allow yourself to be taken advantage of by a client that does not share those same qualities. There are times when you need to be firm. I have actually declined working with a client for this reason.
To be an excellent loan officer you need to also understand lending guidelines. This is not as simple as you may think. Guidelines can be complex and are can change at anytime. There are all sorts of loans available and no 2 borrowers are the same. So when I am not selling or marketing my services, I am often studying and keeping up to date on guidelines.
More Insights: What surprised me most about being a loan officer is how little most homeowners know about their mortgage, their credit, and their finances. I believe much of my success is due to informing and educating borrowers in ways that help them better manage their mortgage, credit, and finances. Just because we are adults doesn't mean that we know everything.
Perhaps the biggest misconception is that it is easy to make a lot of money in this business. It takes years of focus and commitment and still most do not earn as much as people think they do.
It is a wonderful experience and significant responsibility to provide financing for someone that is purchasing a new home. Being nothing less than great at my job gives me the confidence to accept this responsibility and sleep at night without worrying if they will get their loan. Whatever career you choose, you need to like it and be committed to being the best you can be.
I rate this career 7 out of 10.
The best part of my job is that I am my own boss and can do what I want when I want. While having this freedom can be enticing, I work between 50-60 hours a week. As a commissioned salesperson, I only get paid when I sell and close a loan. This career is not for the lazy or undisciplined. To make a good living in this business, you need to close multiple loans a month. There have been times when I went a whole month without closing a loan or receiving a paycheck. Imagine the stress when you have a mortgage to pay, car payments, food to buy, children's activities to pay for...
The worst part of my job is the paperwork. Due to all the changes that have taken place in mortgage industry over the past few years, there is a lot more paperwork required.
Becoming a loan officer is a process and a commitment. You first need to get licensed which requires learning the business. Many companies will help train you if they feel you could be successful. Success takes time and you have to be willing and able to live with a moderate and inconsistent income when you get started. This is true for most commission based occupations. However, if you enjoy what you do and consistently put in the effort then you can earn a very nice income once you develop your business.
The mortgage business is also cyclical which means that there are times when it is busy and times when it is slow. Managing your time effectively during both situations is very important.