Loan officers are responsible for reviewing and approving loan applications for commercial and consumer use. Loan officers typically work in banks, meeting with clients in order to discuss loan options and to answer questions. After taking into account multiple factors that include the client's financial history, credit score, and income level, loan officers must then either approve or deny the loan. The job requires a combination of customer service skills and sales disposition, as well as financial acumen. Loan officers need to possess the ability to explain financial products clearly and guide clients through the process of repayment, which can often seem very complicated.
Most loan officers have a bachelor's degree in finance or business. Many also have experience in related fields as well, such as accounting or sales. In some cases, however, an individual without a bachelor's degree may find success as a loan officer if he or she has accumulated valuable knowledge and experience by working extensively in banking or customer service. Loan officers can advance through an organization by assuming supervisory roles or getting transferred to a larger branch of their institution. As you might expect, the economy also plays a large role in the position; the demand for loan officers depends heavily on the economic climate, interest rates, and an institution's risk appetite.
To be a successful loan officer, an individual needs to be personable and professional, with the ability to put clients at ease while thoroughly answering their questions. Loan officers also need to be able to sell their institution's financial products and assist clients in selecting the appropriate loan for their needs. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, there has been a proliferation of scrutiny with regards to lending standards, and as a result, an increased oversight of the training and minimum standards for loan officers. Mortgage lenders are now required to pass the SAFE MLO tests, for example, in order to be licensed as Mortgage Loan Officers.
Assessments for Loan Officers
In order to help them identify candidates who will be able to absorb and apply the complex rules and regulations surrounding lending, many employers have used the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) to evaluate potential employees, finding it to be a very accurate predictor of success in training and on the job. The CCAT also contains suggested score ranges for loan officers. Employers seeking to determine an applicant's suitability for the sales and customer service elements of a potential loan officer will often utilize the Employee Personality Profile (EPP), which measures twelve personality traits to analyze how well a candidate will mesh with the role and the company as a whole. The EPP complements the CCAT's focus on aptitude by examining the candidate from a behavioral perspective.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor