How to become a loan processor

What does a loan processor do?

When someone applies for a loan, their information and application are sent to the loan processor. Loan processors are responsible for processing mortgage applications and preparing them for mortgage underwriters. Loan processors gather all the necessary documents to obtain a loan, including employment verification, bank statements, monthly bills, and other income information, if applicable. They then organize the data into the client’s file so the depositor can find it quickly. Other functions are as follows:

  • Collecting and organizing the necessary documents and placing them on file for submission to the depositor
  • Ensuring that all conditions are satisfied with the underwriter
  • Contact the title company, county clerk, attorneys, or other professionals as needed
  • Make sure the approval is within the lending guidelines

Loan Processor Requirements

To become a loan processor, you will need a combination of:

Learning

A high school diploma or the GED is required, but most employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. Some employers will consider an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field such as business administration or real estate. Loan processing certificate programs cover underwriting principles, the approval process, loan processor duties, credit counseling, fraud detection, and basic appraisal principles.

Training

A lot of loan processor training is on the job. You can simultaneously work on that position while attending the classes for your undergraduate degree. You will gain the real-world experience in this position, which will help you work in other areas of mortgage loan processing if you pursue this career path.

Certifications

While not required to become the loan processor, following certification programs can help you better understand the role of a loan processor while learning valuable real-world experience. The certification process is the National Association of the Mortgage Processors, and they offer three levels of the4 certification:

Certified Purple Processor

The first level of certification is the Certified Purple Processor. To receive the CPP, loan processors must complete at least six hours of basic loan processing training and six hours of advanced loan processing training. In addition, candidates must pass the CPP exam with a minimum score of 85 percent and be subject to the background check.

Certified Master Loan Processor

The next level of the certification is the Certified Master Loan Processor. To obtain this certification, loan processors must complete a minimum of 24 hours of training divided into four areas:

  • Basic Loan Processing
  • Advanced Loan Processing
  • Basic Underwriting and Processing Federal Home Administration (FHA)
  • Veterans Affairs (VA) loans
  • The minimum passing grade, like the CPP for the CMLP certification is the 85 percent, and candidates are subject to a background check.

Certified Ambassador Loan Processor

The highest level of the certification is the Certified Ambassador Loan Processor. To obtain this certification, loan processors must complete a minimum of 42 hours of training, including all four subjects of the CMLP exam and FHA’s special restructuring programs, tax return analysis, and mortgage fraud awareness and prevention. Similarly, the minimum passing grade for CALP certification is 85 percent, and candidates are subject to a background check.

Skills

An essential skill for a loan processor is attention to detail. Your role involves gathering the information about the client and organizing it for the underwriter. You will always need some of the combination of these skills:

Organization

Loan processors are highly organized and have the excellent eye for the detail. You may deal with different customers daily, so you must keep all the proper papers together. You will also be tasked with following the loan schedule and ensuring everything goes on time. Possessing this skill through other professional business experience will appear more favorable to potential employers.

Communications

A loan processor will have the excellent verbal and written communication skills as they deal with the customers and their daily paperwork. This skill is critical to the position and needs to be demonstrated through the well-organized resume and well-written cover letter. Having some background in the customer service, even if it was your high school job in retail, can also be helpful.

For example, in the job duties section, you could write, “Helped customers choose the right products for their needs and received the Employee of the Month award for my excellent customer service skills.”

Data entry and based on details

You will constantly be in a computerized loan processing role, so basic data entry skills will help you succeed. You need to be detail-oriented as you will check applications for accurate information and ensure everything is complete before sending it to the underwriter.

The loan processor’s working environment

A loan processor can work in the various places such as banks, real estate companies, mortgage companies, financial institutions, or brokerage firms. The work environment for the loan processor can be fast-paced and challenging on any given day. Some loan processors can work from the home office as long as they are available to customers during the process. Loan processors operate regular business hours Monday through Friday. While they generally don’t work Saturdays, this is often an option. They usually cannot be the self-employed because they work with the licensed loan officers and the underwriters.

How to become the loan processor

While the certificate is not required, it can help you stand out to the potential employer. The proper knowledge, education, and skills are essential in becoming a loan processor. In addition, specific skills such as being detail-oriented, highly organized, having good customer service, excellent communication skills, and technical ability in various software applications will stand out well on your resume:

1. Pursue learning

While a high school degree or the GED is a minimum requirement, a degree from an accredited college will be helpful to demonstrate advanced preparation. In addition, the college may provide you with an opportunity for an internship while completing school. Taking real estate and finance classes may seem like a good fit for an employer, as well as showing initiative to get real-world training.

2. Get work experience

Relevant work experience is a key to your resume. Work experience in related fields such as finance or real estate will help develop your skills and prepare you for this position. You will also gain valuable real-world experience and a better understanding of the loan approval process while working in this position. Other professional experience would be helpful if it demonstrates relevant skills such as being well-organized, detail-oriented, and providing excellent customer service.

3. Career development

Getting a certificate from the National Association of Mortgage Processors will also help your resume if you want to advance in your career. A certification combined with your work experience will show employers your ability and potential for success.

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