The Good, the Bad, & the (Not-so) Ugly Facts About Joining the Mortgage Industry
Are you thinking about joining the mortgage industry? You’ll want to know about the many benefits as well as some drawbacks that come with being a Mortgage Loan Officer or Loan Originator (MLO). Becoming a Mortgage Loan Officer can be a great career choice for professionals looking to interact with clients, unlock high-earning potential, and enjoy solid job security. Let’s look at some of these advantages and disadvantages to help you decide if becoming a Mortgage Loan Officer is the right career choice.
What Is a Mortgage Loan Officer?
Mortgage Loan Officers oversee and assist clients with mortgage pre-qualifications, pre-approvals, and closings. They guide borrowers through the entire mortgage process, working with lenders and Underwriters to help them secure the loan that works best for them.
Whether you plan on becoming a Mortgage Loan Officer or a Mortgage Broker, you must get licensed through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS) and adhere to their requirements.
Pros of Being a Mortgage Loan Officer
Working as an MLO comes with many benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages you can expect from the mortgage industry.
Low Barrier to Entry
If you’re wondering how to become a Mortgage Loan Officer, we can help! Though the following requirements may vary by state, you’ll need to complete at least 20 hours of NMLS-approved Pre-Licensure Education, then pass the SAFE MLO Test to receive your Mortgage Loan Officer License.
As an added bonus, it isn’t required for MLOs to have a Bachelor’s degree, but it may be encouraged by some Mortgage Brokers.
There are some requirements you’ll need to fulfill to become an MLO, including:
- Being 18 years of age or older
- Having no criminal history (and good credit history)
- Registering for NMLS Unique Identifier
- Completing your Pre-Licensure Education
- Passing the SAFE MLO Test
- Paying any licensure-related fees
- Obtaining Errors and Omissions insurance
Potential to Advance
The mortgage industry offers a variety of career paths and advancement opportunities. You may start as an Underwriter and later become a Mortgage Loan Officer. After a few years as a Mortgage Loan Officer, you might consider becoming a Mortgage Broker. In other words, the mortgage industry allows you room to grow throughout your career, namely through additional education, which increases your bottom line.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to further boost your earning potential, there are certifications available to MLOs. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is a great resource that provides additional mortgage education, including webinars, certificates, and designations. A certificate or designation through MBA’s School of Mortgage Banking costs just under $3,000.
Fueling the American Dream While Serving Others
If you’re a self-proclaimed “people person”, becoming a Mortgage Loan Officer is the right job for you. A majority of your day will be spent helping clients through mortgage pre-qualification, pre-approval, and closing on loans. Not only are you interacting with your clients, but you’ll also spend time working with Underwriters, Mortgage Brokers, and other Mortgage Loan Officers. Remember, you’re helping potential borrowers into a home, so have fun helping them fulfill their dreams of homeownership!
Looking for conferences or meetings so you can network with your peers? Check out this calendar put together by MBA.
Cons of Being a Mortgage Loan Officer
While there are many benefits to being an MLO, there are also some drawbacks that you should consider before entering the industry.
Working in a Cyclical Industry
The mortgage industry is fast-paced, as we’ve seen in recent years with mortgage rates and housing prices fluctuating constantly. When rates are low, you’ll be busier; when they start to creep higher, you may have more downtime on your hands. You’ll find that mortgage applications come in waves, so although people will always be buying homes, the industry experiences ups and downs. It’s up to you to keep clients interested in your services, even during the “off-season”.
The Need for Lead Generation
Unless you work for a large brokerage firm like Rocket Mortgage, you may need to find your own leads. Your Mortgage Loan Officer lead generation efforts can range from cold-calling to networking at events to asking previous clients to share their positive experiences working with you to get your name out there. MLOs tend to work closely with real estate agents, so getting to know local real estate agents who can refer you to their clients can bolster your overall lead generation.
Want to learn more about lead generation and strategies you can use to further your reach? Check out these resources:
Maintaining Your Schedule
Spring and summer tend to be busy seasons for MLOs, so you can expect to spend a little extra time in the office. You’ll also want to consider that your clients have jobs of their own, meaning they’re often only available after the typical workday wraps up.
The amount of time that you spend working directly correlates to how many loans you close, so many Mortgage Loan Officers are serious about investing their time and maintaining a competitive work ethic. That said, we recommend establishing your work-life balance as early in your career as possible to avoid burning out.
Though every job has its disadvantages, joining the mortgage industry as a Mortgage Loan Officer offers a plethora of benefits, including a low barrier to entry, the potential to advance in your career, and the ability to serve others. Now, go forth and make dreams come true in the mortgage industry!
Ready to Start Your Education With The CE Shop?
Interested in making mortgage your career? Sign up to receive our newsletter for industry updates, check out our Mortgage Essentials library for free resources to aid you in becoming a Mortgage Loan Officer. And if you want to network with your peers, join our Facebook group and get connected!