Education and Training Requirements
Suggested high school classes include business, economics, English, speech, computer science, mathematics, statistics, accounting, history, social studies, and foreign language.
A four-year degree in business, finance, economics, or a related field of study from an accredited college or university is required for most mortgage banking positions. A liberal arts degree with courses in business, business law, and finance may also be sufficient. Some companies, such as Quicken Loans and JPMorgan Chase & Co., offer on-the-job training for new hires. This training typically last three to six months.
Other Education or Training
The Mortgage Bankers Association School of Mortgage Banking classes in mortgage banking, including loan production, secondary marketing, warehousing, and servicing, among other topics. The American Bankers Association offers continuing education courses such as Basics of Mortgage Processing, Mortgage Customer ?Counseling and Prequalification, Preparing the Closing Disclosure, Preparing the Loan Estimate? Fundamentals of Mortgage Lending, Law and Banking: Principles, and The Mortgage Lending Business.
The Mortgage Bankers Association offers three achievement certificates—commercial mortgage servicing, residential mortgage servicing, and residential underwriting—to applicants who meet experience requirements, complete a specified number of classes, and pass an examination. BAI offers a loan review certificate program for persons who review and approve loans. The American Bankers Association offers a ?residential mortgage lender certificate program. Contact these organizations for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
The Mortgage Bankers Association offers the certified mortgage banker (CMB) designation, which has the following areas of expertise: residential or commercial. Those who earn both expertise designations may apply for the master CMB designation. A fast-track executive CMB designation is available to experienced professionals who can substitute real-world experience for aspects of the residential and commercial CMB programs. The association also offers the following specialist designations: accredited mortgage professional, certified residential underwriter, chartered realty investor, commercial certified mortgage servicer, and residential certified mortgage servicer. Although not required, certification shows dedication and expertise and thus may enhance a candidate’s employment opportunities.
Residential mortgage originators employed by a bank, savings association, or credit union are required to register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. This nationwide database was created by the SAFE Act of 2008 (Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing), a federal law intended to stem the kind of abusive practices in mortgage lending that helped create the “housing bubble,” the inflated home values in years prior to the Great Recession of 2008. To become licensed, applicants must complete at least 20 hours of course work and pass an examination. Visit https://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/Pages/default.aspx for more information. Licenses are renewable annually, and individual states may have additional requirements. Visit https://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/slr to learn more about state-level requirements.
Some companies require mortgage bankers to obtain their Series 7 (General Securities Representative) and Series 63 (Uniform Securities State Law) credentials from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the self-regulatory arm of the investment industry.
Most states require mortgage bankers to submit to background and credit checks in order to obtain a license.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Three to five years of mortgage experience in lower-level positions is required to work as a mortgage banker.
At its Web site, Quicken Loans describes the ideal mortgage banker as:
- able to thrive in an independent work environment
- forward thinking
- self-starter and self-motivated
- believes their personal efforts should be rewarded
- always challenging themselves to grow, learn, and advance throughout their career.
Other important traits for mortgage bankers include outstanding communication, interpersonal, and negotiation skills, an analytical personality, honesty and strong ethics, and good problem-solving ability. They also need a fundamental understanding and knowledge of the mortgage lending and underwriting process and applicable regulatory requirements; an understanding of the credit and lending process; and skill at using customer relationship management software, Microsoft Office, and their employer’s loan origination system and other applicable mortgage software applications.