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Mortgage Career Insights, Tips, Articles, Resources

Is an mlo career right for you?

MLO Career Guide - Mortgage Lending

As a mortgage loan originator (MLO), your job is to educate and guide borrowers through the loan process from application to closing. A loan officer career is a fulfilling way to earn a living and help others at the same time.

An MLO spends much of his/her time in the field, communicating by email and phone with the office and clients. A typical workweek may be more than 40 hours and include evenings and/or weekends, especially when interest rates are low and the housing market is brisk.


Specific Job Functions

As you get started in your mortgage broker career, your day-to-day responsibilities might include the following:

  • Interview loan applicants and explain loan terms and conditions
  • Analyze the applicant’s financial status, including verifying credit history, income, and the property to determine whether the applicant has the ability to repay the loan
  • Order appraisals, credit reports, and reference checks
  • Prepare loan documentation in accordance with financial institution standards
  • Provide status reports to bank management on residential loan production
  • Coordinate loan closings with buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and escrow officers
  • Resolve customer complaints
TIP #1

How to Build a Successful Mortgage Career

In addition to your desire to become an MLO, there are certain characteristics and skills you’ll want to be sure you have in your toolbox to help you be as successful as you can be.

  • A love of working with people
  • Sales ability
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Ability to problem solve
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Highly motivated and self-driven
TIP #2

Starting Down Your Career Path

Once you have obtained your MLO license, there are various avenues you can pursue in an effort to get started in your new career.

  • Check for job opportunities at one of the many bank industry websites for available positions
  • Attend job fairs sponsored by state mortgage bankers’ associations to get to know potential employers
  • Contact employers in your area directly for informational interviews
  • Ask for referrals from friends or associates

Employment Opportunities

Demand for commissioned mortgage loan officers will grow about as fast as employment opportunities in general, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mortgage market is very sensitive to interest rates, which means job opportunities may decline during periods when mortgage interest rates are rising.

Mortgage Career Requirements

In order to begin a mortgage lending career, the following requirements need to be met:

As you get started in your mortgage broker career, your day-to-day responsibilities might include the following:

  • Must be 18 years or older and demonstrate financial responsibility
  • Have a bachelor’s degree. Some experience in finance and sales is helpful to getting hired, but is not required
  • Take 20 hours of prelicensure education courses approved by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). Certain states also require that MLOs complete state-specific education
  • Pass a written exam developed and administered by the NMLS
  • Not have been convicted of, or pled guilty or no contest to, a felony within the seven years preceding the date of the license application
  • Not have been convicted of, or pled guilty or no contest to, a felony involving fraud, dishonesty, breach of trust, or money laundering, at any time preceding license application
  • Not have a record of loan originator license revocation in another state
  • Provide fingerprints to the NMLS for an FBI criminal background check and authorize the NMLS to obtain a copy of their credit report
  • A MLO working for a federally insured depository (such as a bank or credit union) must be registered with NMLS. All other mortgage loan officers must be state licensed.
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Education & Training

Financial institutions normally provide extensive on-the-job training to loan originator employees.

Federal law requires new mortgage loan officers to complete at least 20 hours of education approved by the NMLS, including instruction on federal mortgage-related laws, ethics (including fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending), and lending standards for nontraditional mortgage products.

Our Courses

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OnCourse Learning provides NMLS-approved courses in a variety of formats - recorded and live webinars, online and video CE.

These courses are for individuals who are looking to become licensed as a mortgage broker, preparing to take the national exam, need to satisfy annual continuing education requirements or looking to enhance their skills through professional development.

Courses for continuing education fulfills the national education requirements and all state-specific requirements.

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Before purchasing your 20 hours of prelicensure education courses, select your state to view additional required education.