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Loan specialist and assistants direct or perform analytical functions and evaluative work which requires knowledge of (1) credit risk factors and lending principles involved in loans of specialized types granted, insured, or guaranteed by the Federal Government; (2) financial structures and practices of business organizations concerned with such loans; and (3) pertinent statutory, regulatory, and administrative provisions.

 

 

The federal government employs 4,208 loan specialists and assistants of which 60 work overseas. The Department of Agriculture is the largest employer with 3,081 followed by the Small Business Administration with 487 and Veterans Affairs (VA) with 473. About half of the cabinet level agencies and several large independent agencies employ loan specialist and assistants.

Federal Government Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary for a GS-11/12 is $64,961.00 to $101,225.00

Typical Duties & Occupational Profile:

These duties are relevant to loan specialists and loan officers.

The work of loan officers has sizable customer-service and sales components. Loan officers often answer questions and guide customers through the application process. In addition, many loan officers must market the products and services of their lending institution and actively solicit new business.

The following are common types of loan officers:

Commercial loan officers specialize in loans to businesses, which often use the loans to buy supplies and upgrade or expand operations. Commercial loans frequently are larger and more complicated than other types of loans. Because companies have such complex financial situations and statements, commercial loans usually require human judgment in addition to the analysis by underwriting software. Furthermore, some commercial loans are so large that no single bank will provide the entire amount requested. In such cases, loan officers may have to work with multiple banks to put together a package of loans.

Consumer loan officers specialize in loans to people. Consumers take out loans for many reasons, such as buying a car or paying college tuition. For some simple consumer loans, the underwriting process is fully automated. However, the loan officer is still needed to guide applicants through the process and to handle cases with unusual circumstances. Some institutions—usually small banks and credit unions—do not use underwriting software and instead rely on loan officers to complete the underwriting process manually.

Mortgage loan officers specialize in loans used to buy real estate (property and buildings), which are called mortgage loans. Mortgage loan officers work on loans for both residential and commercial properties. Often, mortgage loan officers must seek out clients, which requires developing relationships with real estate companies and other sources that can refer prospective applicants.

Within these three fields, some loan officers specialize in a particular part of the loan process:

Loan collection officers contact borrowers who fail to make their loan payments on time. They work with borrowers to help them find a way to keep paying off the loan. If the borrower continues to miss payments, loan officers start the process of taking away what the borrower used to secure the loan (called “collateral”)—often a home or car—and selling it to repay the loan.

Loan underwriters specialize in evaluating whether a client is creditworthy. They collect, verify, and evaluate the client’s financial information provided on their loan applications and then use loan underwriting software to produce recommendations.

Federal Government Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary for a GS-11/12 is $64,961.00 to $101,225.00

Typical Duties & Occupational Profile:

Education

Loan officers typically need a bachelor’s degree, usually in a field such as business or finance. Because commercial loan officers analyze the finances of businesses applying for credit, they need to understand general business accounting, including how to read financial statements.

Some loan officers may be able to enter the occupation without a bachelor’s degree if they have related work experience, such as experience in sales, customer service, or banking.

Training

Once hired, loan officers usually receive some on-the-job training. This may be a combination of formal, company-sponsored training and informal training during the first few months on the job.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Mortgage loan officers must have a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) license. To become licensed, they must complete at least 20 hours of coursework, pass an exam, and submit to background and credit checks. Licenses must be renewed annually, and individual states may have additional requirements.

Several banking associations, including the American Bankers Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association, as well as a number of schools, offer courses, training programs, or certifications for loan officers. Although not required, certification shows dedication and expertise and thus may enhance a candidate’s employment opportunities.

Important Qualities

  • Decision making skills. Loan officers must assess an applicant’s financial information and decide whether to award the applicant a loan.
  • Detail oriented. Each piece of information on an application can have a major effect on the profitability of a loan, meaning that loan officers must pay attention to detail.
  • Initiative. Loan officers need to seek out new clients. They often act as salespeople, promoting their lending institution and contacting firms to determine their need for a loan.
  • Interpersonal skills. Because loan officers work with people, they must be able to guide customers through the application process and answer questions.

The occupational profile information was excerpted from the Occupational Handbook (OOH) published by the Department of Labor.

GS-1165 Loan Specialist (Excerpted from USA Job Announcement)

QUALIFICATIONS:
GS-11: One year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-09 grade level in the Federal service, obtained in either the private or public sector as a loan processor, underwriter, financial analyst, portfolio manager, or other like position with responsibility for making repayment and other eligibility recommendations about the loan application package. Applicant must also have experience utilizing automated systems including the data entry, tracking and processing of loan applications with attendant documents pertaining to commercial loans such as credit reports, appraisals, business valuations, environmental reviews or franchise agreements.

GS-12: One year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service, obtained in either the private or public sector as a commercial loan underwriter, financial analyst, portfolio manager, or other like position with responsibility for making repayment and other eligibility decisions about the loan application package. Applicant must also have experience utilizing automated systems including the data entry, tracking and processing of loan applications with attendant documents pertaining to commercial loans including credit reports and appraisals or business valuations, and other documents such as environmental reviews and franchise agreements.
Duties:

  • Analysis of commercial loan applications characterized by limited financial data, complex corporate and financial structures with interlocking relationships with subsidiaries and other financial partners.
  • Assesses management skills to determine the potential for successful operation.
  • Prepares financial analysis reports on the merits of a credit application, examining eligibility and all credit factors, and recommending approval or decline with supporting justification addressing mitigating terms and conditions suitable to protect the interest of the Government.
  • Counsels with financial customers, such as borrowers and lending partners, both orally and in writing, concerning financial position, eligibility, policy, procedures and practices bearing on the financial condition of an financial assistance for small businesses.

Job Prospects:

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections Program)

Employment of loan officers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The need for loan officers fluctuates with the economy, generally increasing in times of economic growth, low interest rates, and population growth—all of which create demand for loans.

The need for regulatory compliance also should create demand for loan officers. In the wake of the housing and financial crisis, loan applications are undergoing more scrutiny. Loan officers must ensure that the loans they originate are in accordance with state and federal laws, including recently enacted consumer financial protection laws. A stricter regulatory environment means a more labor-intensive loan approval process and a greater need for loan officers.

Prospects for loan officers should improve over the coming decade as lending activity rebounds from the recent recession. Job opportunities should be good for those with lending, banking, or sales experience. In addition, some firms require loan officers to find their own clients, so candidates with established contacts and a referral network should have the best job opportunities.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages

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