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How to Become a Loan Originator

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A loan originator, also known as a loan officer or loan broker, is the person who matches borrowers with lenders. In today's tight economy, a loan originator has to put forth a bit more effort in an attempt to locate the right lender for the right borrower. With tighter lending practices and the requirement for higher home down payments, a loan originator has to stay abreast of the latest trends in order to be successful at her job.

Apply for a loan originator license. Most states require some sort of licensing in order to become a loan originator. To find out if a license is required in your state, visit the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and access the State Licensing Resource Page. There you will find a listing of states that require licensing to become a loan originator.

Prepare for the loan originator test in your state. Loan originator training coursers are offered both in person in a classroom environment and online. Visit the Department of Finance in your state for a listing of schools licensed to offer licensing courses.

Take the licensing exam. After you have taken the necessary courses to prepare for the loan originator licensing exam, it's time to put your knowledge to the test. Check with your state's Department of Finance to see how often the exams are being given.

Find employment as a loan originator. It's best to get on the job training as a newly licensed loan originator. While legally you may be able to go out on your own as a licensed loan originator, it's best to get some hands on experience as a loan originator before venturing on your own.

Solicit new clients. The only way a loan originator can earn money is to find the clients and match them with the lender. Whether working as an employee or on your own, it's all about having clients. It's best to get into the habit of soliciting new clients daily.

Maintain your license by taking continuing education courses. Many states require licensed loan originators to take continuing education classes in order to maintain the license. Don't wait until your license is about to renew before you satisfy the continuing education requirement.


Your loan originator's license must be kept up to date. Therefore, if you change your address, be sure to notify the Department of Finance of the change in address.