A mortgage broker works with realtors, real estate brokers and sales agents to finalize the financial details of a new home or other real estate purchase. Sometimes called a loan officer, a mortgage broker guides their clients through the steps of applying for and obtaining a mortgage loan. They may also advise their clients on everything from the best lender or type of loan to fit their financial situation to steps they can take to improve their credit rating so that they can secure the best possible interest rates.
A vast majority of brokers (nearly 90 percent) work in financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies. Others may work for themselves. Mortgage brokers enjoy the flexibility that their jobs allow; however, they also typically must travel, work long hours–including nights and weekends–and remain “on call” much of their time.
Many mortgage brokers have no more formal education than a high school diploma and on-the-job training. However, as the demand for jobs becomes more competitive and the financial landscape becomes more complicated, employers are searching for more employees with college degrees, certifications and licensing. Previous experience in sales, lending or banking is also highly desirable. Students interested in pursuing a career in the industry should focus on classes in math, computers, finance, economics and other business courses.
To apply for a mortgage broker license, the first step is to fill out an application in your state. The application process typically includes a background investigation, credit check, fingerprinting, the submission of personal financial statements and other documentation.
The outlook for mortgage brokers and consumer loan officers are described as “good” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the outlook for employment involving commercial loans is described as “excellent.”
Salary earning potential
Earnings in this field can include salary, bonuses and commissions, so brokers with excellent sales skills enjoy their seemingly unlimited earning potential. Due to the nature of the business and the commissions associated with the job, earnings usually increase with the number of loans processed. They have a tendency to rise substantially when the economy is strong and when interest rates are low.