Career Choice: Loan Officer

Career Choice: Loan Officer
  • Type: Career Type
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    Money makes the world go 'round, right? In some ways that statement is true -- if you have the funds, then you can do almost everything that you want to do.


Without cash on hand, your personal or business finances might suffer. Completing a home improvement project or expanding your business can be aided through a bank loan. Fill out an application, submit it, and a loan officer will review your request. Based on the information that you supply as well as your credit history and ability to repay the loan, your loan officer may authorize or recommend loan approval or reject your application. Either way, loan officers are individuals skilled at evaluating such requests and making their decisions based on multiple sources of financial information.


Loan officers are typically individuals with previous banking experience. Loan officers may also be a bank branch manager and are sometimes known as relationship managers, mortgage loan originators, corporate banking officers and portfolio managers. These professionals may specialize in personal or commercial loans or both.

Beyond banking experience, loan officers are chosen for their ability to obtain, evaluate and make recommendations based on an applicant’s financial strength. The loan officer receives applications and obtains copies of the individual’s or business’ credit history reports and financial statements, and other documentation as needed. Loan officers explain loan options to customers, including terms. The officer will recommend or approve loans, establishing limits or refer applications to management. These individuals may work with credit analysts to receive verification and recommendation as needed. Loan officers also stay current on loan options, informing their customers of loan choices to suit their needs.


Approximately one-third of loan officers have a bachelor’s degree according to the BLS. Others may have at least some college education. These professionals receive extensive on-the-job training. Those that handle commercial loans typically have a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance or business.

Those loan officers working as mortgage loan officers must be licensed. According to the BLS, “…mortgage loan officers must complete at least 20 hours of coursework, pass an exam, and submit to background and credit checks. Licenses must be renewed annually, and individual states may have additional requirements.”


The median wage for loan officers was $59,820 as of 2012 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Those loan officers in the 10th percentile earned $32,600 per year on average while those in the 25th percentile made $43,000 per year as of 2012. The average salary for these professionals was $59,800 per year. Loan officers in the 75th percentile could expect to earn $84,800 per year; those in the 90th percentile made $119,700 annually on average.

Salaries were the highest in New York where loan officers could expect to earn $100,000 per year on average, well above the $71,000 that these professionals earned in New Jersey and the $70,900 average income in California, the second- and third-highest reporting states. Average pay for loan officers in Oklahoma came in far below the national average at just $42,700 per year followed by Michigan at $44,000, and Louisiana at $44,100.

Job Outlook

The BLS forecasts a 14 percent increase in employment for loan officers from 2010 to 2020, matching the expected growth rate for all occupations. Demand for loan officers fluctuates with the economy with more officers needed when economic outlook is strong.

As the economy improves, some of the demand for loan officers will be tempered by loan underwriting software, what has sped up the loan application process notes the BLS. Online applications and automatic approvals has made it possible for loan officers to process loan requests faster, tempering the demand for additional officers to assist with the workload that one officer is assigned handle.


Summary Report for: 13-2072.00 – Loan Officers

US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Database Administrators

See AlsoCareer Choice: Database Administrator


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Categories: Career Planning