From Loan Processor to Underwriter: These Are the Skills Modern Mortgage Professionals Need

May 23rd, 2018 Written by: Molly Masterson

Since the recession, mortgages are finally starting to rebound in the market. But after so many years of decline in approved mortgages, this leaves lending institutions short staffed. This is good news for mortgage professionals as it means you’re a hot commodity for lenders. However, it could also mean more competition as the mortgage industry becomes a hotbed for job seekers.

With demand for talented mortgage professionals on the rise, more and more people are trying to break into the lending industry. If you’re one of those people considering diving into the mortgage and lending world, there are some skills you need to have before you jump into the deep end.

What are those skills and which ones do you need for different mortgage specialities? As a financial services staffing agency, we’ve screened plenty of mortgage candidates and know which skills the most talented loan officers, processors, investigators, and other candidates possess. Give those skills a look below broken down by job type.

Mortgage Loan Officer Skills

1. Excellent Communication to Increase Loan Originations

Written and verbal communication is critical for loan officers and customer satisfaction. Responsible for selling loans to clients, loan officers or originators need to be able to clearly communicate loan structures, details, payment plans, and more to homeowners. Through excellent communication, borrowers will feel more confident in the lending institution and feel as though they are taken care of. Without great communication, borrowers or homeowners may start to feel as though the lender is unresponsive or hard to work with—an impression you don’t want to leave with customers.

2. Ability to Negotiate More Profitable Mortgages

As the main communicator with borrowers, loan officers also need to have great negotiation skills. Because the mortgage amount or structure is subject to change based on a borrower’s risk and credit, a great loan officer needs to be able to negotiate those changes with them. This helps ensure that borrowers won’t go to other lending institutions looking for a mortgage, and instead will be convinced to stay under new mortgage terms. And perhaps more importantly, the loan officer needs to convince homeowners that the mortgage is still a good deal that they can’t find elsewhere, increasing their satisfaction levels.

Mortgage Loan Processor Skills

3. Great Organizational Skills for Maintaining Accurate Records

The loan processor is the member of the mortgage team that files mortgages with the correct government entity. To do this, loan processors need to be highly organized to ensure that mortgage documents are filed with the correct parties. Missing this step could result in penalties for the institution, making organization a must-have skill for processors in order to protect the company.

4. Great Proofreading Skills to Catch Mortgage Errors

Another job duty for loan processors is to proofread each mortgage that comes across their desk. Being able to quickly spot errors, typos, or miscalculations is what makes a loan processor a true asset to the team. If a loan were to pass through to underwriting with errors, it’s possible the error may never be caught and it could affect the mortgage’s profitability—something no institution wants.

Mortgage Underwriter Skills

5. Exceptional Risk Assessment Skills for Evaluating Borrower Risk

With the tough job of recommending the final mortgage structure, underwriting is a very technical role that requires a lot of skill. No skill is more important, however, than risk assessment. Without extensive risk assessment knowledge, candidates are not qualified to piece together profitable mortgages and may generate loan structures that are more likely to default. To ensure that the lending institution doesn’t take a loss on its mortgages, underwriters need to be risk assessment experts.

6. Ability to Think Analytically for Strategic Decision Making

As mentioned previously, underwriters are responsible for putting together the final mortgage structure. In order to put that structure together, though, underwriters need to be analytical thinkers. Instead of looking at just the raw risk assessment statistics, underwriters need to look at homeowners holistically to determine whether or not they are a good fit for a mortgage. This means analyzing several characteristics of borrowers including their credit, capacity, and collateral.

Credit Investigator Skills

7. Outstanding Research Skills to Uncover Financial Information

Financial records can be complex and broad. As a credit investigator, you need to have good research skills in order to dig into a borrower’s financial history and find the qualifications you’re looking for. As a good researcher, this shows employers that you can scan several sources of financial information to determine a borrower’s creditworthiness. And to help you in your research, financial expertise is a necessity as well because it helps investigators know what to look for.

8. Grit and Determination for Digging Into Customer Records

Digging through data is a time-consuming process, but as a credit investigator it’s a necessary part of the job. Give employers the correct impression that you can be thorough by showcasing your grit and determination. By showing your ability to dig deep into financial data, employers can feel confident that you will leave no stone left unturned, ensuring that every approved borrower is likely to pay back their loan.

Loan Servicer Skills

9. First-Rate Listening Skills to Understand Borrower Questions

Active listening skills are extremely important for loan servicers. As the main resource that borrowers go to with questions and concerns regarding their mortgages, it’s very important that loan servicing specialists are able to listen to customers with patience and empathy. In showing potential employers these skills, you are showing them that you can accurately handle borrower inquiries and provide excellent service in the process.

10. Ability to Communicate With Borrowers Clearly and Effectively

In resolving borrower questions or concerns, loan servicers need to be able to clearly and effectively communicate those resolutions. Without great communication skills, your answers could get lost in translation, increasing borrower frustration and decreasing their satisfaction. Great communication skills will also help loan servicers start a dialogue and build a rapport with customers, improving their relationship and customer service experience.

Feeling Ready to Break Into Mortgage?

If you possess the mortgage skills above like grit, excellent communication, analytical thinking, as well as others, you’ll land a job interview in no time. Not sure which mortgage openings you should apply for? Search our current openings to find a mortgage job that’s ideal for your strengths and skills.

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