When you pause to think about it, being a mortgage loan officer is similar to being an entrepreneur. However, unlike an entrepreneur, you still have a mortgage broker to stand behind you, an intermediary who brokers a mortgage loan on behalf of an individual or a business.

Mortgage loan officer advising clients

Good entrepreneurs and excellent loan mortgage officers are outgoing and know how to engage people and create mutually beneficial relationships. As an entrepreneurial-minded mortgage office, you have to work hard to develop referral contacts. Besides leveraging your personal contacts, you need to create a relationship with builders, realtors, and other professionals in the real estate industry.

You also need to build rapport with prospects and continue to nurture your customer base. There are many times when you will serve as an adviser, helping your customer base understand things like rates and loan products, giving them a better understanding of the process of getting a loan. It takes patience and skill to explain complex ideas to someone who is completely unfamiliar with them.

Additionally, it’s important to have an up-to-date knowledge of available loan products and a solid grasp of processing procedures and underwriting. This knowledge is not static. The mortgage industry is always changing and it’s essential to stay on top of updates. Since critical information tends to get revised, a mortgage loan officer must be able to make fast, accurate decisions to provide customers with the right solutions and monitor the entire loan application process from origination to closing.

How Much Education Do You Need?

While a high school or equivalent diploma is all that’s required, your chances of success increase exponentially if you have done your undergraduate studies. After all, while high school teaches literacy, college teaches you skills like research, analysis, and critical thinking.

Still, while a good education establishes a solid foundation, what’s most important is industry knowledge, skills and experience.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the knowledge, skills, and experience a good loan officer should possess:

  • When it comes to knowledge, you should be familiar with the specialized mortgage terminology and the specific processes. For instance, you should have a good understanding of the FHA/VA/Conventional guidelines.
  • When it comes to skills, you should have leadership ability and be able to maintain confidentiality. You should also have excellent written communication and verbal skills. Verbal skills will help you in your contact with customers and written skills will help you with all your work documentations.
  • When it comes to experience you should have at least two or more years of working with a variety of mortgage loan products.

Characteristics of Top Performers

While some loan officers are competent, others are top performers. The reason for the difference does not lie in knowledge, skills, or experience. While these do, of course, play a role, the real difference is in mindset. Someone with a winning mindset not only has a good attitude but they also consistently repeat the right behavior.

Top performers

So what separates someone top performing Loan Mortgage Officer from someone who is average is that top performers are visionary; they know where they want to go in their career.

Here are five mindset qualities possessed by top performers:

1. They use best practices

They are not concerned about trying to reinvent the wheel. They know that the best practices have already been established so they focus they focus their time and effort on fine-tuning their practical know-how.

2. They are doers

They don’t just talk a good game. They aren’t slouches. Not only do they have a burning desire to be successful at what they do, but they are doers, not just talkers. While most people learn how to say the right things at the right time, a smaller number know how to take timely action.

3. They are highly productive

While hard work is admirable, it’s not always productive work because much time can be wasted on doing things that need not be done at all. Productivity isn’t an accident; it’s a result of a careful study of how to do things in a systematic way. Ironically, while the word “productivity” is almost a buzz word, few people take the time to experiment with the behavior to figure out how to develop a system to do more work in less time.

4. They are disciplined

It’s not enough to have the right intentions. Only too often mood, fatigue, and frustration get in the way of following through on noble intentions. Discipline is doing what needs to be done, whether or not you are in the mood or have the energy to do it.

5. They win people over to their way of thinking

It’s not easy to win trust and respect in any profession. This is something that has to be earned over time through a display of consistent competence.

There is a huge demand for top performing loan officers. According to Mortgage Professional America (MPA): “A study by the Stratmor Group revealed that the top 20% of a company’s originators are generally responsible for 57.4% of the firm’s overall loan volume. And the top 40 percent account for roughly 80 percent of their firm’s total loan production.