Employment of loan officers is expected to grow 14 percent from 2010 to 2020, 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.
After a period of decreased lending resulting from the recent recession, banks and other lending institutions are granting an increasing number of loans to people and businesses. Because lending activity is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy, consumer and mortgage loans are expected to increase as the economy recovers. Similarly, many businesses postponed borrowing funds for maintenance, improvement, and expansion during the recession, so commercial loans should increase as businesses are more willing to borrow and banks are more willing to lend.
However, growth in the number of jobs is expected to be tempered by the expanded use of loan underwriting software, which has made the loan application process much faster than in the past. Some loan applications can be completed online and underwritten automatically, allowing loan officers to process more applications in a much shorter period of time. This factor may limit the number of new loan officers needed in the future, despite an increasing number of loan applications.
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 a college degree and 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.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition