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Pros and Cons of a Career as a Mortgage Closer
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net OnLine.
Job Description and Duties
As a mortgage closer, also known as a loan interviewer and clerk, you might examine and verify information on loan applications and closing documents, assemble and compile title abstracts, prepare closing documents and checks, calculate costs and advise borrowers about the process and transactions. Since not every applicant is approved for a loan, you may have to deal with aggressive customers and deliver bad news when loans are denied. Most loan closers work full-time hours in an office environment, often for title companies, credit unions, mortgage companies, banks or real estate companies.
Salary Information and Career Outlook
In May 2013, the BLS revealed that loan interviewers and clerks earned a median annual wage of about $36,000 or around $17.00 an hour. The lowest 10% of earners made about $23,500 or less, while the highest 10% earned about $51,000 or more. Payscale.com indicated that the majority of mortgage loan processors earned approximately $26,000-$50,000 with bonuses, commissions or overtime, as of December 2014.
Employment for the broad field of financial clerks was predicted to grow by 11% from 2012-2022, according to the BLS. However, growth varies by specialty area. Employment was predicted to grow by only 9% for loan interviewers and clerks during the same decade, partly because the availability of online forms often lessens the need for in-person interviews.
Career Skills and Requirements
A high school education is usually sufficient to enter this field. Most of your duties are learned on-the-job, with the help of a senior worker or supervisor, within about a month. If you're considering this occupation, you'll want to have strong skills in several important areas: basic math, communications and organization.
What Employers Are Looking for
Employers often looked to hire employees with related work experience and strong communication and computer skills. Other qualifications employers might desire include completion of college coursework, a good work ethic and a track record of meeting deadlines. Read the following excerpts from real job postings, to see what employers were looking for in April 2012.
- A bank in Texas advertised for a full-time mortgage loan closer with 5-7 years of experience and some college credits. You'd prepare for mortgage loan closings, review loan applications, obtain titles and relevant insurances and complete and record mortgage loans. Required skills included meeting management, verbal communication, confidentiality, financial skills, financial software knowledge and professionalism.
- A credit union in Oregon was looking for a full-time, temporary mortgage loan closer, with at least 3 years of experience and a strong work ethic. Your main job duty would be helping to close and service loans. Wages were competitive, the benefits were great and the work environment, according to the posting, was stellar.
- A financial institution
in Florida advertised for a full-time mortgage closer with 1-3 years of experience. You'd be responsible for reviewing and auditing all files for accuracy and compliance, preparing closing documents and drawing documents in two or more loan closing document systems. Other requirements included excellent communication skills, familiarity with underwriting, ability to meet deadlines, strong organizational skills and computer proficiency.
- A bank in Wisconsin was looking for a full-time mortgage closer with 2-4 years of experience, ideally in a funding department. Qualifications included strong analytical and interpersonal skills, the ability to meet deadlines and computer proficiency. Familiarity with laws and regulations, such as the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), was also desired.
How Can My Skills Stand Out?
Declining employment for mortgage closers can create stiff competition for jobs. The majority of growth for financial clerks, from 2010-2020, was predicted to be in the specialty areas of billing/posting clerks and payroll/timekeeping clerks, according to the BLS. You might want to consider cross training in those areas to widen your skills and experience. In addition, it's often wise to keep updated in your field by participating in educational opportunities, maintaining personal networks, reading professional publications and belonging to professional organizations.
According to San Diego Miramar College, completing coursework in the area of mortgage brokerage and banking can improve advancement opportunities for professionals already working in the industry. Additionally, one of the previous job postings indicated that completion of some college coursework was required. Both 2-year and 4-year colleges offer courses and degree programs related to business, real estate, math, finance and banking. Additionally, most colleges offer courses in computer technology, which could benefit aspiring mortgage closers who aren't computer savvy.
If you're looking to put your mathematical and organizational skills to use in a field with higher growth, consider a career as a bookkeeper, accountant or auditing clerk. These professionals keep financial records for organizations by recording transactions, checking financial records for accuracy and updating statements. A high school diploma or its equivalent is the typical requirement to enter this field. According to the BLS in May 2011, the median annual wage for these professionals was about $35,000, and the predicted job growth from 2010-2020 was 14%, which is about as fast as average.
Another career possibility, with higher predicted job growth that enables you to utilize your communication and organizational skills, is to become an information clerk. These professionals work with customers, collect data and maintain records. They might work in a private business, law office, government agency or medical office. The typical educational requirement to enter this field is a high school diploma or its equivalent. In May 2011, the BLS revealed that the median annual wage for receptionists and information clerks was about $26,000, and the projected job growth from 2010-2020 was 7%, which is slower than average, but still higher than the rate for mortgage closers.