You’ve probably heard the catch-phrase “the riches are in the niches” in the context of online marketing, but it’s also true for a traditional career.
If you’re someone who enjoys talking to people and helping them with their needs, then you should consider a professional career along those lines. Additionally, if you’re good with numbers, then you might find a career in the financial industry both emotionally and financially rewarding.
One niche career that might suit you well is becoming a mortgage loan officer. Let’s take a closer look at the type of work it involves, how to get fully credentialed, and how to grow your own business through some astute marketing.
What Does A Mortgage Loan Officer Do?
As a mortgage loan officer, you will assist your clients to get a loan for their home or business. After you assess your client’s need and inform them about loan requirements, you will research the best loans for them. You can niche down your business even more by becoming an expert in commercial or consumer loans. Before you create your own mortgage business, you should work for a credit union, mortgage company, or commercial bank to get experience. While the average salary is about $75,000, you can acquire the knowledge and experience to earn a six-figure income.
A Quick Guide to Starting a Career as a Mortgage Loan Officer
Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a mortgage loan officer.
Step #1. Earn your bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or economics. Your degree should be able to help you analyze businesses’ finances, read financial statements, and understand basic accounting principles. Your coursework should include economic and business statistics, finance, mathematics, and accounting. Also take courses that can help improve your interpersonal skills like psychology, mass communications, and public speaking.
Step #2. Get Experience. You may not be given a job as a mortgage loan officer fresh out of college, and may have to work your way up the ladder of a banking career. Once you have some experience under your belt, you can then start pursuing loan origination work.
Step #3: Acquire Job Training. The banking or financial institution you work for will offer a variety of job-training opportunities. Be sure to take full advantage of company-sponsored training, whether it is learning how to use a new type of software or getting skilled in underwriting.
Step 4: Obtain Licensure. You must get licensed as a mortgage loan originator (MLO) to become a mortgage loan officer. This will require that you do 20 hours of coursework and pass an exam. The exam itself will cover a national component as well as one for the state you live in. Finally, you will need to pass a credit and background check.
Step 5: Become Certified. Technically speaking, certification is not necessary, but in practical terms, it can be helpful for securing employment. Both the Mortgage Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association offer certifications. For instance, the American Bankers Association offers certification as a certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA), a certified lender business banker (CLBB), and a certified financial marketing professional (CFMP).
3 Ways to Grow Your Business
As a mortgage loan officer, you need to get good at marketing your business, mastering lead generation by understanding buyer motivation. You should market your business even if you work for a financial institution that has a marketing department as this will help you make more sales.
Here are 3 ways to generate more leads:
- Deploy direct marketing.
Create an email list that educates your subscribers about the mortgage business. You can build this email list by adding prospects and clients you meet in the course of business or by advertising your newsletter.
What should you send in these emails?
Here are some ideas:
- White Paper.A link to a White Paper pdf. that will help educate your subscribers about some important things they might want to know about mortgages.
- Case studies. A case study will describe how a person got their mortgage. It covers everything they went through — the process, pricing, and challenges. This will give you subscribers an idea of what deals can be financed.
- Articles. Send out articles on timely topics related to the mortgage business.
- Give talks.
You can give talks based on what people would like to know about getting a mortgage. You can start by giving talks at service clubs like Lions or Rotary, and when you get good, you might be invited to speak at conferences.
- Start Networking.
By joining various organizations, from Meetups to Chamber of Commerce, you will be able to mingle with business people and tell them about what you do and how you can help them.
Although the minimum requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent, most employers will require you to have a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance or business. You will be required to get a license, and you have the option of additional certification. While licensure is compulsory, certification is voluntary. When applying for a job, experience is not necessary, but preference is given to those with two to five years of experience. High earning mortgage loan officers are thoroughly knowledgeable about mortgages, loan origination, and common policies of financial institutions. In addition, they are good decision-makers, have excellent interpersonal skills, and are great communicators.