Mortgage underwriter jobs involve deciding whether a loan applicant makes a good borrower and ensuring loan paperwork complies with lender guidelines. Mortgage underwriters handle all documentation for a pending home or building loan. They receive this paperwork from a loan processor then review all details.
Mortgage underwriters complete four general tasks when determining qualified applicants. They verify employment and income based on pay stubs, W-2 forms from the past and a phone call to the loan candidate's employer. Reviewing an applicant credit history scores is an important part of mortgage underwriter jobs. It is their job to request missing information if a credit score is on the low side.
Underwriters also look at the accounts from which an applicant's funds are originating. If a down payment or the closing costs are being financed by emptying retirement fund accounts, the mortgage underwriter will look for a reserve amount elsewhere. Finally, the mortgage underwriter jobs entail appraisal liaison work. They ensure that the appraisal of the purchased property is sufficiently valued to support the loan.
If they approve a loan, the mortgage underwriter transfers the file to a department that draws up loan documents for closing. Mortgage underwriter jobs sometimes require formal training. Career schools offer certifications from online or classroom settings. It is not necessary, however, to go to school to obtain a mortgage underwriting job. Some underwriters use the job itself as a training program.
All mortgage underwriter jobs involve experience in the field. Underwriters often start out as junior processors or assistant loan officers then work their way up to mortgage underwriter. Many underwriters work for a lender or bank and support that institution's guidelines. Occasionally, they work as freelancers, but it is difficult to learn the policies of varying lending companies.
Lenders who hire mortgage underwriters often do not have funds to train or certify them. It is an advantage to hold a Direct Endorsement (DE) certificate. The DE can be earned in a class or seminar. The certification indicates that the underwriter understands traditional and non-traditional types of loans.
As a mortgage underwriter gains years of field experience, opportunities for managing or directing may open. Senior underwriters, or directors, may manage other underwriters or mortgage institution employees. Job prospects for mortgage underwriters depend on industry status. When mortgage rates are low and the number of people looking to buy is high, more mortgage underwriters are needed in the job market.