Pros and Cons of a Commercial Loan Processor Career
A commercial loan processor receives and verifies the information presented in business loan applications. Read on for some pros and cons of this career to see if it's the right fit for you.
|Pros of Being a Commercial Loan Processor|
|A high school diploma may be sufficient education because most training is provided on the job*|
|Secure and comfortable work environment (usually in a bank or financial institution)*|
|Work regular daytime hours*|
|May lead to opportunities in similar fields (bookkeeping, accounting, gaming, banking)*|
|Average job growth projected (9% from 2014-2024)*|
|Cons of Being a Commercial Loan Processor|
|Employment prospects influenced by general economic state*|
|Increasing prominence of online applications may decrease need for loan processors*|
|There may be pressure to ensure information presented to clients and superiors is error-free**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET OnLine.
Essential Career Info
Job Description and Duties
Commercial loan processors oversee paperwork and administrative processes involved in business loan applications. They analyze applicant's information to discern the risks of awarding the loan. Processors then compile the necessary documents to present to the underwriter or loan committee. Their job involves considerable data analysis, administrative work and communication; additionally, they're in charge of ensuring there are no errors in any of the paperwork during the process.
Depending on their workplace, commercial loan processors may perform initial interviews with applicants seeking business loans. Loan processors often work closely with loan offers, whose job it is to guide applicants through the loan application process. While commercial clients often interact prominently with the loan officer, loan processors may undergo extensive client contact, such as following up on required information, clarifying or asking questions or soliciting further data. Loan processors often work with little supervision and engage in judgment calls and decision-making.
Salary Info and Job Prospects
Job growth for loan processors is projected to increase by 9% from 2014 to 2024, according to BLS data. This is due to the increase in regulation, which requires more work in verifying application information. The general state of the economy significantly impacts commercial loan processor jobs. The BLS reported that the middle half of loan interviewers in 2014 earned an annual salary between $29,000 and $45,000.
What Are the Requirements?
Many commercial loan processor jobs require only a high school diploma, though some may prefer at least some college coursework. In the commercial sector of lending, a bachelor's degree may be preferred since commercial work requires a more thorough understanding of business accounting and financial principles.
As a commercial loan processor, you'll engage in a number of administrative tasks. You'll need a solid understanding of how to use basic computer applications, a calculator and certain financial software. This career also involves extensive organization skills because keeping track of and preparing documents for review is a big part of the job. Oral and written communication skills are a must because you'll interact with your superiors in conveying information about applications and with clients in acquiring and clarifying application information.
Some Real Job Postings
Commercial loan processors frequently work with minimal supervision, so the capacity to self-initiate and use discretion are highly valued in this job. In addition, while many employers require only a high school diploma, higher education in finance, business or accounting are sometimes requested. The following are a few job postings from real employers in March 2012:
- A credit union in Houston looked for a commercial loan processor with 3-5 years of experience to process and present loan applications. They would work closely with loan officers and the commercial services director. A high school diploma was required as was the ability to use Microsoft Office software, e-mail and the Internet.
- A bank in Arizona sought a full-time small business administration loan processor to coordinate the receipt, processing and monitoring of government loans with little supervision. The candidate must be detail-oriented and organized. A degree in finance, accounting or economics was preferred, but 3-5 years of related experience was needed.
- A commercial loan processor with at least two years of banking experience was needed in a Wisconsin bank. The job called for a candidate with an associate degree and knowledge of banking software. One of the job duties included servicing agriculture and commercial loans. The job included a strong customer service component.
- A San Diego-based credit union advertised for a commercial loan processor to oversee administration and preparation of loan applications and files. The ad listed a preference for some college study in finance or accounting. The applicant should have experience with real estate loans and strong computer skills.
How to Stand Out as a Candidate
Consider a Degree
Since a high school diploma is frequently the only education requirement for commercial loan processors, having a college degree can make you stand out. A sampling of job postings from March 2012 indicated that additional education was preferred. You could pursue an associate degree in accounting, finance or business to help you develop a better understanding of what's needed to work in the loan processing field. Classes in mathematics, communication or business writing may also go a long way toward increasing your skills in this field. Additionally, many colleges also offer certificate programs in various areas of business and finance.
Computers are an essential tool in the loan processing occupation and the financial field in general. Expertise in financial software used by banks or companies could give you an edge as a candidate. Work experience in a financial sector, such as bank telling or as a financial administrative assistant, can increase your employability as well.
Other Jobs to Consider
If working as a commercial loan processor doesn't seem like a fit, loan officers play a more interpersonal and less administrative part in the loan application process. Loan officer jobs often have a sales aspect to them and they actively solicit clients to apply for loans. Whether in the consumer, commercial or mortgage fields, loan officers tend to have considerable interaction with loan applicants, beginning with helping clients determine what kind of loan to apply for and what steps to take in order to do so. Being a loan officer may also only require a high school degree, but their salary tends to be higher than that of loan processors. The BLS stated the median loan officer salary in 2011 to be about $58,000. This field was estimated to see a 14% spike in job growth from 2010-2020 according to the BLS.
If you'd like to stay in financial services but work with investments, there's an option. Financial analysts evaluate financial investment prospects and performances for the benefit of individuals and companies. Being a financial analyst calls for at least a bachelor's degree but some employers want a master's degree. The BLS reports the middle half of financial analysts earned between $58,000 and $101,000 annually in 2011. The financial analyst profession could see a 23% job growth from 2010-2020 according to the BLS.