According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be approximately 25,000 annual job openings for mortgage loan officers from now until the year 2030. There was a time when the labor statistics of the mortgage professional field were subject to periods of high turnover and volatility; the last time this happened was at the height of the American housing bubble crisis in 2008. Since then, increased oversight of the mortgage lending industry at the federal and state levels has resulted in greater professionalism and a more stable workforce.
Mortgage banking is a career path within the larger field of finance. Most of the entry-level mortgage jobs go to loan officers who are authorized to market, offer, and handle residential mortgage origination. Even though residential lending represents the bulk of the mortgage banking industry, this field also offers interesting job opportunities in the wholesale banking sector.
Typical Jobs in the Mortgage Sector
Not everyone who enters the mortgage lending field starts out as a loan officer. During periods of high demand for new American homes, mortgage processors tend to get hired faster. Let’s look at some other mortgage lending positions:
- Mortgage closing specialist: These professionals are expected to be excellent team players because their jobs typically require them to work with title agents, Realtors, and escrow technicians.
- Mortgage underwriter: Residential and commercial lending activities can involve considerable risk. Mortgage underwriters protect the bottom line of their employers through the careful evaluation of loan applications and deals; plus, they make recommendations based on the pipeline of deals managed by lenders.
- Mortgage account executive: These professionals are hired by wholesale mortgage lenders for the purpose of expanding their business. If the wholesale lender is providing liquidity by means of funding loans, account executives are expected to persuade mortgage brokers to use their services.
- Mortgage branch manager: In the past, the management of retail mortgage branches was mostly limited to running a call center. These days, branch managers tend to be experienced loan officers and originators who must run their offices in full compliance with federal and state regulations.
Job crossover situations are fairly common in the mortgage loan industry. It is not unusual for a processor to become interested in compliance and pursue a lateral move to underwriting; this would make perfect sense because upper management opportunities are generally better for mortgage professionals who provide analysis and recommendations to their employers.
Getting Started in Mortgage Banking
Quite a few mortgage bankers who work in a wholesale capacity start off as retail loan officers. The academic requirements for mortgage loan officers, who are also referred to as originators, will depend on the requirements promulgated by state licensing boards. A bachelor’s degree in finance is not a hard requirement, but it is highly recommended for individuals who wish to go beyond loan origination.
Even though loan officers can always advance or crossover within their positions, focusing on a specialty early in your career will make things a lot easier. If you feel mortgage banking is right for you, there are many colleges and universities that have created degree programs specific to this field. This degree may allow you to work at a wholesale mortgage company upon graduation, and without having to start at the retail loan origination level.