Loan Officer Jobs

So you need a job and now you’re thinking about becoming a loan officer?

It’s true, loan officer jobs pay more than most any other occupation out there, assuming you haven’t passed the bar or made your way through medical school.

But it can’t be that easy, could it? To make six figures without a high school diploma you would think you’d have to invent something or start your own business. But the prospect of being a loan officer has changed conventional thought, especially as the housing market shot off in recent years like a bottle rocket.

So now as we lay in the wake of the housing bubble bust, are loan officers still making money? The answer is a resounding yes, but the numbers of loan officers have probably been cut in half, if not more in the past year or so.

And the quality of mortgage loans at the moment isn’t what is once was a few years ago. It seems most of the smart money already refinanced, or made purchases before values went up. And the only deals around at the moment are tricky and riddled with hurdles.

Being a Loan Officer Can Be Lucrative

But if a loan officer gets just one of those deals to go through, it often equates to a huge payday, sometimes as much as a year’s salary working a minimum wage job or a lower paying occupation.

So that’s the incentive, big money. But there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself before setting out in the mortgage industry as a loan officer.

First and foremost, it is not an easy job. Sure, a mortgage broker or bank may say it’s simple. And yes, you may not have to work very hard, or take part in any back-breaking work. But factor in the stress, the near misses, lost deals, and the wheel-spinning and it isn’t as favorable as they may make it out to be.

You will lose deals, and you will waste a lot of time. You will have mental breakdowns as deals slip through your fingers, and brokers and agents scream at you as deadlines close in.

But if you can handle it, being a loan officer can be quite lucrative, and quite easy if you get yourself organized.

It’s not for everyone, and there is definitely a lot you need to learn before starting a career in mortgage. But once you get a taste of the money you may have trouble walking away, no matter how high the stress and quality of your life.

All that aside, let’s look at the reality of a loan officers’ duties on a daily basis.

Loan Officer Job Description:

A loan officer typically comes into work at 10am and works until 8pm. The time is structured to work around when companies are allowed to solicit consumers in their homes. The peak hours for sales calls take place in the early evening, between 6pm and 9pm.

The broker or bank, whoever employs the loan officer, will provide leads, although the quality is usually less than desirable. Loan officers need to self-manage their time, and strive to call out up to 100 contacts a day. Once a call is successful, and a loan officer is able to retrieve a potential borrower’s information, they need to secure financing for their client.

If you work for a broker, you will also need to work with third-party banks and lenders to secure financing.

If you work directly for a bank or mortgage lender, you will need to figure out pricing and financing terms through the company product suite.

In both situations, your main objective will be to originate loans and assist in processing them, at the same time making sure your borrower is attended to during the entire loan process.

Loan Officer Educational Requirements:

Loan officers don’t even need a high school diploma to gain employment with certain brokers and lenders. With the larger financial institutions, a college degree will likely be obligatory without notable sales experience.

Loan Officer Salary:

Most loan officers do not receive a base salary, only commission, so they are paid for performance. The median income for a loan officer in the United States is around $40,000. The number isn’t high, but it’s skewed by the sheer number of loan officers who do very little, or are simply unsuccessful. Many loan officers can earn up to several hundred thousand dollars a year if they work hard and make the right connections.

Career Advancement:

Loan officers generally stay in one place, and don’t advance internally within a company. They may change their status to Senior Loan Officer, but usually it means very little aside from the fact that they’ve been around a little longer than typical loan officers.

Loan officers can advance externally if recruited by other companies paying higher commissions, or even a base salary.

Many loan officers also apply for a broker’s license as a means for advancement. And eventually employ their own loan officers, and take a cut off everything they earn.

In Conclusion:

To sum it up, loan officers have the potential to make more money than the majority of the population, including doctors and lawyers.

The amount of time and work you put in is paramount, and you must be very driven to excel in the mortgage industry. It can be a very cut-throat field, filled with stress, deadlines, and missed opportunities.

Always do plenty of research about the company or broker you decide to work for to ensure you know exactly how and what you will be paid.

The job certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you think you’ve got what it takes, it can be very fruitful and lead to other opportunities, such as being a broker, working with a large banking institution, or working in commercial real estate, just to name a few.


  1. Tim February 14, 2015 at 4:04 pm -

    Below average potential since 2009

  2. Patrick May 21, 2015 at 12:46 pm -

    Potential is not only a small fraction of what it was prior to 2009, but now the time required to get someone approved has increased 100 fold.

    Only people who are good at accounting, memorizing guidelines and adhering to the rules make good LOs.

  3. Rick October 14, 2015 at 9:05 am -

    Any tips on getting OUT of the business?

  4. Colin Robertson October 15, 2015 at 8:41 am -


    Run? Just kidding. It’s a hard business to leave once you’re in because it can be pretty lucrative, as noted above.

  5. Moses R November 16, 2015 at 10:33 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    I’m very interested in becoming a MLO myself, so much that I’ve already taken the courses, passed both exams (National and State for Florida) and already in the process of getting my license. Here’s the problem…I don’t have any MLO experience and everywhere I look experience is required. How in the world can I get any experience if companies are only hiring MLOs with experience? What gives? Where do I start? Any suggestions?

    Moses R

  6. Colin Robertson November 17, 2015 at 1:13 pm -


    Keep reaching out and look for an experienced LO to shadow. You may not get a base salary or paid straight away but it might get your foot in the door and give you a lot of good experience. Good luck!

  7. Jackie November 23, 2015 at 7:48 pm -

    Colin, I’ve been a MB for 29 yrs. I started my own company in 1995. Since 2007 it’s been so hard. Redid my license,, NMLS, etc. Regs are making me nuts. I LOVE what I do (did) but I find people no longer believe or trust. I can truly save them money but going nowhere. It’s time to close the doors and I don’t know what to do.

  8. Colin Robertson December 1, 2015 at 12:06 pm -


    It’s hard to escape the mortgage industry once you’re a part of it.

  9. William (Bill) Smalley December 7, 2015 at 2:49 pm -

    Colin, good/honest article. I have been an LO at one level or another for 42yrs and it never gets easier, but it seems to keep getting more profitable–IF YOU UNDERSTAND your market place and adjust accordingly. 1st, 2nd’s, Alt-A, FHA, refi, Purchase. Just keep your eyes one and ear to the ground. The market will tell you your next opportunity.

    Thank you

  10. Mousekbob December 27, 2015 at 10:58 pm -

    What state are you in?
    I would be interested in speaking with you when you have a moment??
    Don’t quit!!

  11. Chris robinson January 17, 2016 at 1:02 am -

    Yes, I’ve worked as an account executive, real estate agent , and vp of title company .. But b/c paper originating was my most enjoyable and most profitable. Just find your niche/talent and do your own thing. I’m just now looking to get back in with both feet and stay in! I love selling dreams and money. What a fun business that always keeps you on your feet and multi tasking and directing others to help you get that approval and closing. Anyone in south Florida who needs a partner let me know . Best wishes

  12. Kylie Jessop February 22, 2016 at 8:05 pm -

    I have been working with a credit repair company and I am interested in becoming a MLO in the state of Utah. Is it better to find a company before I start with my licensing? I would just like to know how you guys got into becoming a LO and if you guys can give me some input!

  13. carrie April 30, 2016 at 3:34 am -

    I just started 4 weeks ago as a mlo. I’m having a hard time getting apps. I’ve consistently (weekly) visited real estate offices, taken treats/chatted, and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. Any advise?

  14. Colin Robertson April 30, 2016 at 6:46 pm -


    Keep at it…gotta look at the long game…once you get clients, you get their referrals, repeat business, etc…takes time to get established. Consider the work now the reason you’ll get paid a lot in the future.

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