Lending specialists, or loan officers, are responsible for marketing credit products to business and consumer clients. Someone wishing to become a lending specialist usually has a background in sales as well as some knowledge of banking or the financial services industry. Additionally, some finance companies prefer to fill lending specialist jobs with college graduates. In many instances, lenders hire job applicants who have prior sales experience and college degrees.
Typically, a lending specialist must submit applications for mortgages, vehicle loans and revolving credit lines. The specialist gathers information pertaining to the applicant’s income and credit worthiness as well as details of the collateral the applicant intends to secure the loan with. Consequently, someone wishing to become a lending specialist must undergo on-the-job training during which lenders are taught about credit products and underwriting procedures. This training may last for weeks or months. In some countries, lenders have to be registered with the national or regional government in which case prospective lenders must pass a lending exam at the conclusion of the training.
Aside from submitting applications on behalf of existing clients, lenders must proactively seek out new customers by making tele-consulting calls or in-person visits to prospective borrowers. Successful lenders must have good sales and interpersonal skills so that they are able to develop cordial relationships with clients and lure customers away from their competitors. Many banks and finance companies require anyone wishing to become a lending specialist to have spent several years working as a salesperson. While some banks prefer to hire individuals with credit related sales experience, many firms accept candidates who have experience marketing non-bank related products.
Commercial loan applications are often complex because the loans are guaranteed by multiple business owners and approval is contingent upon the firm’s financial health. Due to the nature of these loans, someone wishing to become a lending specialist may have to complete a degree program in economics, finance or a related field. Lending specialists who deal with high-value clients often need to have completed postgraduate degree programs.
While some banks hire outside candidates to fill lending specialist positions, other institutions promote junior employees into these roles. At many banks, tellers and clerks are required to make sales referrals to loan officers and investment representatives. A clerk planning to become a lending specialist may be promoted into the role on the basis of making large numbers of sales referrals. Some institutions actively encourage clerks and tellers to apply for lending roles since these individuals have first-hand experience of working in a banking environment.