Becoming an Escrow Closer: Careers, Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of becoming an escrow closer? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary information to see if becoming an escrow closer is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming an Escrow Closer

The job of escrow closer, also known as a loan interviewer or loan clerk, is a specialty within the broader category of financial clerks. Reading the pros and cons of being an escrow closer may help you decide if this is the right career for you. Here are some pros and cons of becoming an escrow closer.

Pros of Becoming an Escrow Closer
Mean annual wage of about $38,000*
Job entry available with only a high school diploma*
Opportunities to learn other jobs within real estate industry
On-the-job training usually provided*

Cons of Becoming an Escrow Closer
Average job growth of 9% from 2012-2022*
Possible stress to quickly finish documents for loan closing*
Available work tied to fluctuations in Real Estate market
May need a formal education for advancement*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2014)

Career Information

Job Duties

As an escrow closer, 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 others regarding transactions. You'd work in an office setting, possibly for a title company, credit union, mortgage company, bank or real estate company.

Salary

In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the mean annual salary for financial clerks was about $41,000, or about $19.80 per hour (www.bls.gov). According to PayScale.com, the annual salary for escrow clerks in July 2015 ranged from about $20,000 to $38,000.

Job Growth

The BLS noted that loan interviewers and clerks earned a mean annual wage of about $38,000, often without a college degree. As an escrow closer, you can expect job growth to increase by 9% from 2012-2022, while job growth for financial clerks overall is expected to increase by 11% during this same period, according to the BLS.

What Are the Requirements?

Training and Skills

A high school diploma is enough for you to gain entry-level employment as an escrow clerk. You'll receive on-the-job training for most of your duties from a senior co-worker or a supervisor. The BLS noted that most training will be completed in about a month. To work as an escrow closer, you'll want to develop strong skills in basic math, communications and organization.

What Were the Employers Seeking?

Along with a high school diploma, employers sought escrow closer candidates who had relevant work experience and strong skills in computers and communications. Read the following excerpts from real job postings to see what employers were looking for in April 2012.

  • A title company in Kansas advertised for a full-time escrow closer with at least two years of experience. This individual would review real estate contracts, prepare Housing and Urban Development and escrow documents, sign borrowers and sellers, facilitate closing times and order payoffs.
  • A title company in Missouri was looking for a full-time escrow closer with two years of title closing or mortgage processing experience, strong computer skills, superior communication skills, ability to prioritize and multi-task, effective analytical skills, a strong aptitude for figures and a high degree of integrity.
  • A real estate company in Nebraska sought a full-time escrow closer with a high school education and at least two years of work experience, including at least one year of real estate, mortgage or title experience. You should enjoy working with customers, be detail-oriented, have computer experience and be able to maintain composure when busy. Applicants must also be a Notary Public.
  • A Missouri company in the insurance industry advertised for an escrow closer with a high school education and 2-5 years of experience. In this position, you'd complete real estate escrow transactions, follow leads on potential clients, obtain clear titles, establish escrow accounts, prepare transaction documents, complete calculations, file documents and comply with regulatory requirements. Skills required for this position include experience with financial, documentation, verbal communication, customer service, closings and prospecting. The salary range was listed as about $28,000-$50,000 per year.

How Can My Skills Stand Out?

Develop Related Skills

Because of the expected decline in escrow closer jobs, competition for these positions is expected to be strong. To stand out, you might want to consider cross training in another specialty within the financial clerks category to broaden your skills and experience. Since financial clerk skills are often learned on-the-job, you might consider a part-time position in a related field, such as billing, payroll, procurement or credit authorization. In that way, you could learn some new skills and determine which field you prefer. In addition, obtaining a formal education is a key to improving your career opportunities. For example, the BLS states that brokerage clerks might need a 2- or 4-year degree in majors such as economics or business.

Continuing Education and Professional Credentials

You may also want to maintain and be active in professional industry associations to establish networks and stay on top of industry changes. One association that you might consider is the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Members include servicers, closing agents, mortgage brokers and originators. Membership may give you access to industry information and continuing education opportunities. The MBA offers certificates and designations for servicing professionals, such as Residential Mortgage Servicer Achievement Certificate (CMS), Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) and Residential Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB).

Other Careers to Consider

Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks

If becoming an escrow closer does not interest you much, you want to put your math and organizational skills to use as a bookkeeping, accounting or auditing clerk. In these positions, which may require an associate's degree, you'd keep financial records for organizations by recording transactions, checking financial records for accuracy and updating statements. According to the BLS, the mean annual wage for this group of workers was about $36,000 in May 2011. A 14% increase in job growth is expected from 2010-2020, which is about as fast as the average of all other occupations.

Information Clerks

Another occupation you may want to consider is becoming an information clerk. In this job, you would use your communications and organizational skills to communicate with customers, collect data and maintain records. You might work in a private business, law office, government agency or medical office. In May 2011, the BLS reported the mean annual wage for receptionists and information clerks was about $27,000, with an expected job growth of 7% between 2010 and 2020, which is slower than the average for all other occupations.

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