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Mortgage Officer


Many individuals come to a point in their lives when in order to purchase a house or property, they need to apply for some form of mortgage credit or loan. The same applies to new businesses that need extra credit in order to move forward as a company. This is where a mortgage officer is needed. A mortgage officer is an independent real estate financing professional who specializes in helping consumers through the selection, processing and closing of a mortgage loan. They act as the mediator between a prospective buyer of a property, or borrower and the lending institution. A mortgage officer provides consumers with the most efficient and cost-effective method of suitable financing options tailored specifically to the consumer's financial goals.

Mortgage officers understand and analyze financial information about mortgage applications and business conditions, and approve or reject credit applications. They develop credit structuring alternatives for large account transactions and assist account officers in the management of these accounts. Mortgage officers must ensure that those who want to borrow money are a safe financial risk to the organization. If a potential borrower is deemed unable to pay back a loan in due time by the mortgage officer, they will be rejected.

So how does a mortgage officer determine the creditworthiness of an individual or a business applying for credit or a loan? They must spend their days obtaining information from banks, credit institutions, and employers, going over a client's credit history, seeing if they have paid back loans in the past. Mortgage officers will interview applicants for mortgages going over these types of financial questions. After gathering and synthesizing all applicable financial information, they make a final decision regarding the mortgage.

Mortgage officers work in either the residential or commercial sectors of mortgaging. In the residential field, they meet with clients acquiring information about income, liabilities and assets, price and condition of property to be mortgaged, negotiate mortgage loans, and apply for a mortgage at a lending institution on behalf of clients. The mortgage officer may work directly for a lending institution or in a real estate company. Those who work in the commercial sector must do research about the company and decide if the start up warrants a mortgage. Is a particular company worth investing in? It is important to do this research ahead of time as the officer is working on behalf of the commercial organization to help them receive the mortgage money needed to start up a company.

Initially, a mortgage officer helps set up a mortgage to best suit a client's needs, but there is often an ongoing relationship where a mortgage officer is called back to re-finance a mortgage. For example, a client may need to borrow more money if they want to purchase additional products or they may want to change the terms of their mortgage. Also, the downside of the job is going after people with outstanding mortgage payments. Until all of the money is paid back, mortgage officers are bound to hound those in debt until the sum of the loan is paid off.
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  Interests and Skills  
The most important characteristics of a mortgage officer are good listening and communication skills. Since a majority of the work deals with communicating with clients, in person and on the phone, and making new contacts, mortgage officers must possess superior people skills. They must also respect client confidentiality, have the ability to understand complicated financial documents such as wills, pension plans and bank statements. Many clients will be very emotional, so mortgage officers must be sympathetic and understanding yet firm in their decision making.

Mortgage officers need to have numerical skills, time management and sales skills. They also need to have up-to-date computer skills as most brokering can be done on the computer now. Further, they need to be unbiased, trustworthy, well organised, able to work to deadlines and able to work well under pressure.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Assess whether or not a client is eligible to borrow money for a house or commercial property
  • Explain the different types of mortgages to the client and find the one best suited to a client's individual needs
  • Discuss the mortgage options available from various banks and lending institutions
  • Calculate mortgage repayments
  • Answers clients' questions about the home buying process
  • Fill out an application form, collect supporting documents, like bank statements, and submit the application to the bank
  • Inform the client if their home or commercial loan has been approved or not
  • Help organize other home loan requirements, such as a valuation of the client's home
  • May also act as a financial advisor and offer investment advice.
  • Mortgage officers often work irregular hours according to the schedules of their clients. If a client can only meet at night, a meeting will take place at night. Those working for commercial firms may work steadier hours because work complies with the business hours of an organization. Longer hours may be required during peak real estate times, when more people want to move or when the market is in favor of the buyer. A typical day will take place in an office setting, with some travel to clients' offices and houses for meetings.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Mortgage officers work for brokerage firms throughout the private sector. Many have their own offices which includes real estate sales. They also work alongside or even directly for lending institutions including banks, trust companies, credit unions, insurance companies, real estate agencies, and other lending firms.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Many people do not begin their careers as mortgage officers but move into the job from other financial, insurance or real estate fields. Advancement in the mortgage officer field depends almost entirely on the individuals' initiative, success and ability. In this field, the more clients one has, the better.

Experienced mortgage officers may move into supervisory or senior management positions in larger companies or professional real estate associations. More established officers might even open up their own mortgage lending firms or real estate agencies.

  Educational Paths  
Mortgage officers require a college or university degree with a concentration in finance or business-related discipline. Courses in computers and information technology are also important in this field. Many mortgage officers have Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees but it is not an absolute requirement. Some start in the real estate field and others have sales experience, both of which a great starting points. Many officers recommend a strong background in law, especially property law, since the job deals with mortgaging property.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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