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Training, Certifications, Skills, Advancement: Loan Counselors and Officers




Loan officer positions generally require a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, or a related field. Most employers prefer applicants who are familiar with computers and their applications in banking. For commercial or mortgage loan officer jobs, training or experience in sales is highly valued by potential employers. Loan officers without college degrees usually advance to these positions from other jobs in an organization after acquiring several years of work experience in various other occupations, such as teller or customer service representative.

There are currently no specific licensing requirements for loan counselors and officers working in banks or credit unions. Training and licensing requirements for loan counselors and officers who work in mortgage banks or brokerages vary by State. These criteria also may vary depending on whether workers are employed by a mortgage bank or mortgage brokerage.

Various banking-related associations and private schools offer courses and programs for students interested in lending, as well as for experienced loan officers who want to keep their skills current. Completion of these courses and programs generally enhances one’s employment and advancement opportunities.

Persons planning a career as a loan officer or counselor should be capable of developing effective working relationships with others, confident in their abilities, and highly motivated. For public relations purposes, loan officers must be willing to attend community events as representatives of their employer.

Capable loan officers and counselors may advance to larger branches of the firm or to managerial positions, while less capable workers—and those having weak academic preparation—could be assigned to smaller branches and might find promotion difficult without obtaining training to upgrade their skills. Advancement beyond a loan officer position usually includes supervising other loan officers and clerical staff.