Known by several different titles in various financial institutions, a loan officer functions as the liaison or intermediary between an institution that provides personal and business loans to consumers and the applicants for a loan. A basic responsibility of loan officers is to seek to find a loan arrangement that is in the best interests of both the applicant and the bank or financial institution that has extended the loan.
Sometimes referred to as a lending officer or a loan counselor, the loan officer possesses a comprehensive knowledge of the types of loans that are provided by a financial institution. Along with understanding the general terms related to each loan type, the loan officer will also have a complete working knowledge of the requirements or conditions that are necessary for applicants to successfully qualify for each type of loan. In addition, a competent loan officer will have the latest information on any upcoming promotional specials on loans, including any special interest rates that are extended for only a short period of time.
The loan officer will also be an expert in evaluating the financial condition of loan applicants. This can be especially important when the applicants may be in the process of overcoming adverse financial conditions, or just beginning to establish a credit history. A competent loan officer will be aware of loan opportunities that may be of interest to persons who are seeking a loan, but have a range of extenuating circumstances that are necessary to address. Typically, the loan officer will be aware of loans that will fit just about every economic situation, assuming that it is possible to determine that there is both an ability and a willingness to repay the loan according to terms.
Persons who are trained as loan officers may work in a variety of different types of lending institutions. Banks usually employ several loan officers in each local branch, often with various officers focusing on particular types of loans, such as personal or small business loans. Loan officers or associates are also common in commercial lending institutions that cater to national and international business expansion funding, credit banking companies that specialize in consolidation loans, and organizations that specialize in underwriting educational loans.
The advent of the Internet has made it possible for loan officers to accept and evaluate online applications for loans, resulting in the ability of an applicant to interact with loan officers representing a wide variety of loan institutions, rather than relying more on local banks and lending companies.