Job description for a mortgage underwriter

Written by yasmine fuller
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Job description for a mortgage underwriter
So you want to become a mortgage underwriter? (real estate contract image by Keith Frith from Fotolia.com)

The job of a mortgage underwriter carries a lot of responsibility. After a careful study of facts and figures, a mortgage underwriter decides whether an individual should be granted a loan by the bank. If you are planning on becoming a mortgage underwriter, you will need to know the salient features of this job.

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Job Description

A mortgage underwriter is responsible for reviewing all documentation that comes in for home loans or building loans. The job can be broadly classified into four general tasks that help to determine the economic health of applicants. Mortgage underwriters begin by verifying the income and employment details of the applicant and reviewing the applicant's credit history score. If it is low, the underwriter can request more information to explain the dip in credit scores. An underwriter also scrutinises the accounts from which the applicant's funds seem to be originating. Finally, the underwriter has to look into the appraisal of the purchased property and check whether it has been valued correctly to warrant the loan requested from the bank.

Education Requirements

Mortgage underwriters usually need a bachelor's degree in finance, business or a related field. An associate's degree in financial services or mortgage banking might also suffice, depending on the employer. Obtaining bachelor's degree in a non-financial field and supplementing that with a course in business law and accounting may also be acceptable.

Mortgage underwriters can also obtain a direct endorsement certificate, which proves that they have an understanding of all types of loans -- traditional as well as non-traditional.

Essential Skills Needed

Mortgage underwriters deal with a lot of numbers and must have analytical and auditing skills, along with a firm grasp on math. Since a major part of the job is deciding who gets a loan and who doesn't, a mortgage underwriter needs to have good decision-making skills that are backed by relevant details and research. To do that, he must have knowledge pertaining to the regulations governing mortgage lending. Apart from this, a mortgage underwriter also will need excellent computer skills, customer service and communication skills, and the ability to handle delicate situations with diplomacy and tact.

Salary

According to CBSalary.com, the average salary for mortgage underwriters is £43,668 per year as of 2011. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average salary of loan officers, into which it lumps mortgage underwriters, as £41,086 as of May 2009.

Career Progression

Mortgage underwriters may start off as an assistant underwriter or underwriter trainee. Once they gain more experience under a seasoned risk analyst, they will be assigned greater responsibilities and more complex cases. Soon, hey can work their way up to the position of mortgage underwriter and after gathering some experience can aim for the position of senior underwriter or director.

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