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Mortgage Underwriting

Mortgage underwriting is the process a lender uses to determine if the risk  of offering a mortgage loan to a particular borrower is acceptable. Most of the risks and terms that underwriters consider fall under the three C’s of underwriting: credit, capacity and collateral.

To help the underwriter assess the quality of the loan, banks and lenders create guidelines and even computer models that analyze the various aspects of the mortgage and provide recommendations regarding the risks involved. However, it is always up to the underwriter to make the final decision on whether to approve or decline a loan.




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What is a Mortgage Loan Officer?

A mortgage loan officer is a person who serves as an intermediary between lending institutions and borrowers. They solicit loans, represent creditors to borrowers, and represent borrowers to creditors.

Loan officers work for banks and other financial institutions. They help individuals and businesses obtain funds from these lenders. Loan officers specialize in commercial, consumer and mortgage loans. Loan counselors assist loan applicants who have difficulty qualifying for traditional loans.

Loan officer positions generally require a bachelor's degree in finance, economics, or a related field. Banking, lending, or sales experience is highly valued by employers. Most employers also prefer applicants who are familiar with computers and their applications in banking. Loan officers without college degrees usually advance to their 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. Personal qualities such as sales ability, good interpersonal and communication skills, and a strong desire to succeed also are important qualities for loan officers.

In the United States Loan officers that originate residential loans must obtain NMLS credentials. This includes: a background check, prelicense education, a credit check, and a national exam. A national exam known as the SAFE MLO test must be passed and in many cases individual states require testing. A "unique identifier" is obtained through this process and must be present on all FNMA 1003 / FHLMC 65 Uniform Residential Loan Application forms.

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. For example, the Bank Administration Institute, an affiliate of the American Bankers Association, offers the Loan Review Certificate Program for persons who review and approve loans. This program enhances the quality of reviews and improves the early detection of deteriorating loans, thereby contributing to the safety and soundness of the loan portfolio. The Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) designation demonstrates the holder's superior knowledge, understanding, and competency in real estate finance. The Mortgage Bankers Association offers three CMB designations: residential, commerce, and master's. To obtain the CMB, the candidate must have 3 years of experience, earn educational credits, and pass an exam. Completion of these courses and programs generally enhances one’s employment and advancement opportunities.

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