What Is a Mortgage Loan Officer?

FT Contributor  | 

A loan officer that specializes in mortgages helps potential homebuyers through the process of obtaining a loan. Although they’re different job titles, the terms “loan officer” and “loan originator” refer to the same job and can be used interchangeably. A mortgage loan originator is also responsible for assisting a potential home buyer in getting pre-qualified for a mortgage and completing the underwriting process so he or she can buy a home with a loan.

During the loan process, the mortgage loan officer is the main point of contact for the borrower and should be available to answer any questions the borrower has about the process and the next steps in obtaining the loan. The loan originator is a representative of the financial institution, but he or she is also responsible for discussing potential loan options with the homebuyer and helping him or her choose the best financial option.

What Does a Mortgage Loan Officer/Originator Do?

A mortgage loan officer must have comprehensive knowledge of the types of lending products, or mortgages, that are available to homebuyers. He or she must also thoroughly understand the banking industry, mortgage regulations, required documents to close a loan, and the qualifications for specific loan types. 

Since a loan originator represents the financial institution, he or she must understand the specific requirements that the institution places on loan products. This allows the officer to identify the loan options a homebuyer qualifies for and to present these types of mortgages.

On a daily basis, a loan officer may be tasked with any one of the following activities:

  • Meeting with potential homebuyers to discuss qualifications for mortgages.
  • Collecting required documents from current clients to complete the underwriting process.
  • Discussing lines of credit and personal loan options and processes with homeowners. 

What Services Does a Mortgage Loan Officer/Originator Provide?

A mortgage loan originator is well-versed in mortgage options for potential homebuyers, including loan terms and qualifications. As a homebuyer, if you consult with a loan officer, he or she can answer any questions you have about loan types and the process for obtaining a loan. While the loan originator is a representative of the financial institution, he or she also should be motivated to ensure you obtain a loan that meets your financial needs. 

It’s the originator’s job to provide you with loan options that are suitable for your financial abilities and that you can qualify for with the financial institution. Additionally, a loan officer provides:

  • Loan consultation.
  • Application help.
  • Assistance with the loan approval process.
  • Deal-closing services.

When you meet with a loan officer, he or she will analyze your financial situation and your homebuying goals to provide information on specific types of loans you qualify for that will meet your needs. You can discuss any concerns you may have about the mortgage process — such as a poor credit history — with your loan originator and he or she should be able to provide adequate resolutions. 

To provide you with a loan for a new home purchase, the loan officer will:

  1. Meet with you and complete a pre-qualification to determine the types of loans you qualify for and the home purchase price you can afford.
  2. Obtain the required documentation to complete the loan application process once you’ve found the home you want.
  3. Go through the loan underwriting process to get your loan approved.
  4. Originate the loan and ensure the closing process for your home purchase is completed.

What to Look For in a Mortgage Loan Officer/ Originator

Mortgage loan officers are available through many different banks and lending facilities, so it can be hard to choose the right one to represent you. The loan originator you choose to assist you in the home buying process should be knowledgeable and honest, making you feel comfortable with the loan options he or she presents. The originator should be able to provide you and other borrowers with different mortgage options, but ultimately, he or she should have your best interests and financial wellbeing in mind when providing these options.

If you’re in the process of looking for a home, you may be approached by several different mortgage loan officers who want you to choose them as your loan representative. To make the best choice for your situation, you should do your research on potential loan originators before starting the process with one. Consult friends or family members who recently made home purchases in your area to learn about the experiences they had with their loan officers. If someone you know and trust provides you with a referral to a specific mortgage originator, you may feel more comfortable about his or her abilities to find you the right loan.

You can also read previous client testimonials online to find out how a loan officer has performed in the past. If there are several good reviews and testimonials, the loan originator may go above and beyond to ensure you obtain a mortgage with terms that are right for you. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is also a helpful resource to use when you’re attempting to learn more about a specific loan officer and the service he or she provides. Look up information on the BBB website, including the grade a loan officer has earned, before choosing which originator you want to use in the home buying process.


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This post was updated October 17, 2019. It was originally published October 17, 2019.