By Sean Reichard
It is common practice for homebuyers to get mortgages to finance a home purchase. Underwriting is the process that lenders use to determine a buyer’s overall creditworthiness by assessing the risk of lending money to them.
What is Mortgage Underwriting?
The main role of a mortgage underwriter is to review and analyze the loan application in order to determine if the borrower is capable of paying back the mortgage. Some aspects of the underwriter process may be automated, such as gathering credit history and income data. However, knowledgeable and efficient underwriters are key for performing a smooth loan application process. Their decisions have major impacts on business outcomes, which is why selecting the right candidate for a mortgage underwriter position is imperative. Job requirements and standards are continually changing. Discover five critical skills you will need if you are looking for a career as an underwriter or loan processor.
What Skills Does a Mortgage Underwriter Need?
1. Attention to Detail
Working among an automated environment, it is important that a loan processor is comfortable analyzing sensitive data and assessing risk. Furthermore, underwriters must be able to spot mistakes or potential problems and correctly complete all the necessary paperwork involved in the process. Mortgage applications can be extremely long and tedious. Therefore, the processor needs to be able to accurately read over every detail for optimal job performance.
2. Basic Computer Skills
Living in the age of technology, it is important to have knowledge about the use and functions of computers. Like most other office professional roles, underwriters require some basic computer knowledge to be able to operate efficiently. “Paperless” alternatives are becoming more popular within the mortgage lending process. Knowledge and familiarity with certain software products related to areas of accounting and finance are essential in order to become a successful underwriter.
3. Collaboration / Communication
Mortgage underwriting requires a constant flow of communication and productive team effort. The loan originator, processors, and underwriters all play a part in loan processing. In the case that an application was flagged or rejected, it is the underwriter’s job to communicate why it was denied so that the loan officer can then relay that message back to the applicant. It’s important that the underwriter is able to collaborate efficiently to give and receive critical information from other team members.
4. Strong Ethics
It is crucial that all mortgage underwriters practice a strong commitment to ethics. Working within the banking and mortgage industries, all underwriters must comply with federal regulations and Fair Housing Act requirements, in addition to the employer’s specific guidelines and practices.
5. Goal Oriented
Mortgage underwriters are often reviewed based on the company’s loan goals. The ideal candidate for this type of position is someone who is determined to work hard in order to achieve set goals. One significant benefit is that underwriter employee benefit packages often include commission incentives or bonuses based on quotas. It’s essential that underwriter candidates be self-motivated and driven towards success.