Mortgage servicing is the process of administering a mortgage. Mortgage servicing specialists perform a variety of administrative tasks, from reviewing loan applications to initiating foreclosures in the event of a default. Although most specialists are employees of commercial and investment banks, others work for credit unions and other financial lending institutions.
Using the Skills
Since mortgage servicing specialists interact with customers during the loan application process, they need strong interpersonal skills to create lasting business relationships. With such interaction comes plenty of communication. Hence, these specialists must have strong active listening, speaking and writing skills to understand customers' questions and give the right responses in a clear and understandable manner. Math skills are also important to mortgage servicing specialists because they must be very accurate when calculating principal and interest amounts. They also need computer skills to use mortgage servicing software effectively.
The primary responsibility of a mortgage servicing specialist is to manage transactions between the borrower -- the person or organization that needs financing to purchase real estate -- and the lending institution. For example, a specialist working at a commercial bank meets with customers looking to secure a mortgage loan. He reviews their applications on behalf of the bank, verifies their financial information and either approves or rejects the applications. The specialist informs approved customers on the amount of monthly installments to pay, and updates their accounts when payments are made.
When a borrower defaults on a loan, the mortgage servicing specialist may be involved in the foreclosing process. In this role, the specialist liaises with the lender's attorneys to begin a legal process aimed at recovering the balance of the loan. This is usually achieved through acquiring a court order granting the right to sell the customer's collateral for the loan. Beyond dealing with lending matters, mortgage servicing specialists also must stay abreast of trends in the real estate and banking industries by reading industry journals, attending industry events or taking continuing education classes.
To get started as a mortgage servicing specialist, you typically need to earn a bachelor’s degree in business, finance or accounting. Although licensing requirements vary by state, most require mortgage servicing specialists to hold a Mortgage Loan Originator license. To obtain it, you need to fulfill background and credit checks, as well as complete at least 20 hours of coursework and pass an exam. You must renew your MLO license annually. Career progression opportunities are available to specialists who earn professional certification and complete advanced courses. For example, with a professional certification from the Mortgage Bankers Association, vast work experience, and a master’s degree in business administration, you can qualify for a senior position such as a loan operations manager.
2016 Salary Information for Loan Officers
Loan officers earned a median annual salary of $63,640 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, loan officers earned a 25th percentile salary of $45,100, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $92,610, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 318,600 people were employed in the U.S. as loan officers.