How To Become A Mortgage Underwriter

You must be aware of the proper procedures when you’re prepared to learn how to become a mortgage underwriter. This kind of position requires specialized financial industry knowledge. Of course, a degree or certification program can help you acquire the necessary financial knowledge.

You will decide whether a borrower will receive a mortgage as a mortgage underwriter. You will conduct the necessary research to determine whether the borrower is eligible for a particular mortgage program. The steps listed below will assist you in becoming a mortgage underwriter if you’re ready.

Steps to Become a Mortgage Underwriter

A bachelor’s degree in business or finance is typically required before working as a mortgage underwriter. However, a college degree is not necessary, and you can work as an underwriter without one. You can choose to enroll in a finance certification program, or you can get an associate’s degree to help you become qualified for this kind of career.

The right education is where it will all start. You should ensure that you gain knowledge of financial markets, financial statement analysis, and financial management. Although earning a degree can be beneficial, you can also enroll in a certification program.

Get your Mortgage Underwriter License

Although you won’t need a license to work as an underwriter, having one can help you advance in your career. Starting out as a loan officer, which calls for a state license, might be necessary. More career opportunities will be made available with a mortgage loan originator license.

The pre-license program takes about 20 hours to complete. You can also obtain a designation to help you meet the requirements, such as the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter.

Complete Mortgage Underwriter Training

On-the-job training will likely be necessary, too. For instance, the business that hires you will probably provide the necessary training if you want to work as a mortgage underwriter.

To become a mortgage underwriter, there are no formal requirements. Employers will, however, probably seek out candidates with excellent attention to detail and decision-making abilities. You will need to gain expertise as a loan officer, junior underwriter, or assistant if you lack the necessary training.

Certification Programs to Help You Become a Mortgage Underwriter

Although an associate or bachelor’s degree is possible, becoming a mortgage underwriter is much easier with certifications. Seven different certification programs are available from the NAMU (National Association of Mortgage Underwriters), including the following:

  • Certified Mortgage Underwriter
  • Certified Master Mortgage Underwriter
  • Certified Ambassador Mortgage Underwriter
  • Certified FHA Manual Underwriter
  • Certified in Mortgage Regulatory Compliance
  • Certified in Commercial Underwriting & Processing
  • Certified Mortgage Quality Control Specialist
  • You must enroll in and complete the desired underwriting certification program(s). Additionally, passing the test and the criminal background check will be required. Every year, you will need to recertify.

    Mortgage underwriter certification will cover many different topics, including:

  • Appraisals
  • Tax Returns
  • Due Diligence
  • Conventional, VA, and FHA underwriting
  • Basics of mortgage underwriting
  • Advanced mortgage underwriting
  • Fair Lending Laws
  • TILA, RESPA, and red flag laws
  • Calculating Income, DTI, and LTV
  • Depending on the program(s) you select, you might even learn more. Besides the NAMU options, there are other certification programs as well.

    Benefits of Certification Programs from the NAMU

    You will benefit greatly if you decide to pursue certification. For instance, those who hold a NAMU certification are more likely to be invited for an interview by a prospective employer.

    It will also help qualify you for higher-level positions. After you begin working as a mortgage underwriter, some of these certifications may help you advance. Of course, having the acronym for the NAMU certification after your name will boost your respect.

    Your knowledge, competency, and skills will increase with the right certification program. Additionally, you will learn how to apply mortgage rules and regulations and get a resume boost.

    Common Skills Needed to Become a Mortgage Underwriter

    You should possess the necessary skills if you want to work as a mortgage underwriter. While some skills can be learned, others are more likely to come naturally to you. Some of the common skills include:

  • Analytical Skills – Your job will include analyzing financial data, which means you need good analytical skills.
  • Mathematical Skills – Good math skills are necessary for those working with financial data.
  • Attention to Detail – A mortgage application can be 100 pages or more. You will need to review this and pay attention to the accuracy of every detail.
  • Organizational Skills – You might need to work on many applications on the same day. This requires good organizational skills.
  • Communication Skills – You will also need to work with loan officers and others when approving and rejecting applications. This means you have to be able to explain why in good detail.
  • As you complete your training to become a mortgage underwriter, many of these abilities will become more refined.

    Duties of a Mortgage Underwriter

    As a mortgage underwriter, you will perform many duties. Making sure borrowers are eligible for a mortgage program will be part of your duties. The primary objective is to confirm that the borrower can repay the loan.

    Tax returns, pay stubs, W2s, credit reports, a home appraisal, and a few other documents will be examined. You can determine whether an applicant can repay the loan by taking into account their debt-to-income ratio as well as their other qualifications.

    Your job will include reviewing the following:

  • Debt-to-Income Ratio
  • Income
  • Credit history
  • A home appraisal
  • Title search
  • Additionally, you must ensure that all required paperwork is accurate and complete. You can make sure borrowers are eligible by thoroughly reviewing the documentation and underwriting guidelines.

    You will ascertain a borrower’s capacity to repay the loan following a thorough analysis of their income and credit. Then, you will decide, typically in a matter of days.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Mortgage Underwriter

    A mortgage underwriter’s typical salary is between $57K and $76K. This salary can vary considerably more depending on location and experience. The salaries include the following:

  • Entry Mortgage Underwriter (Mortgage Underwriter I) – $55K per year
  • Intermediate Mortgage Underwriter (Mortgage Underwriter II) – $66K per year
  • Senior Mortgage Underwriter (Mortgage Underwriter III) – $81K per year
  • Specialist Mortgage Underwriter (Mortgage Underwriter IV) – $99K per year
  • Do I need a degree to become a mortgage underwriter?

    No. Although it’s not necessary, having a degree can be beneficial. Candidates with bachelor’s degrees typically fill about half of the positions in mortgage underwriting. 7% more people hold associate degrees, and 2% have master’s degrees. However, individuals with only a high school diploma or GED fill more than 40% of the underwriting job openings.

    Do I have to be licensed to become a mortgage underwriter?

    You will require a state license if you choose to work as a loan officer. However, you won’t need a license to work as a mortgage underwriter. You will likely need a professional certification, however.

    Are there entry-level positions available for mortgage underwriters?

    You will be able to work as a junior mortgage underwriter or assistant as soon as you complete a degree program, or even if you complete the right certification program. But without any formal training, you might have to start out as a loan officer or processor.

    What is the common work environment for a mortgage underwriter?

    At a financial institution or bank, you will typically work in an office environment. Mortgage underwriters frequently spend the majority of the day at a computer. Attending meetings is also rather common. The business hours you will keep are typical 9-to-5. Some overtime may be necessary to meet tight deadlines.

    How do you become a VA mortgage underwriter?

    You can become a VA mortgage underwriter if you want to focus on working with veterans. At least three years of pre-underwriting, underwriting, or loan processing experience are necessary. Additionally, the most recent year of that experience must be taken into consideration when making an underwriting decision for VA loans.

    Does a career as a mortgage underwriter offer advancement opportunities?

    Yes, you can move up through the many levels of underwriters with more training and experience. You can work as a senior underwriting manager, mortgage credit manager, mortgage credit analyst, or mortgage underwriting manager. Even if you begin with a job as a mortgage underwriting assistant, there are many higher-level positions available.

    Is Becoming a Mortgage Underwriter Right For You?

    You could work as a mortgage underwriter and make a good wage. There are many opportunities for advancement in this field of finance, and you can start working in it without a college degree. But of course, a degree can help you get jobs. You can become a mortgage underwriter and have the career you want by earning the appropriate certifications.


    Is it hard to become a mortgage underwriter?

    No, it is not hard to become a mortgage underwriter. Although a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance, or a closely related field is not a requirement for employment as a mortgage loan underwriter, many financial institutions do.

    How long does it take to become an underwriter?

    Underwriting requires six years of professional experience. That is the amount of time needed to learn specific underwriting techniques, but it does not take formal education into account.

    Can you make good money as a mortgage underwriter?

    Mortgage underwriters make $55,721 per year on average, or $26. 79 per hour, in the United States. On the lower end of that spectrum, or the bottom 10%, mortgage underwriters make about $38,000 annually, while the top 10% make $80,000.

    What are the steps to become a mortgage underwriter?

    Three Steps to Becoming a Successful Mortgage Underwriter
    1. Earn a high school diploma or an advanced degree as the first step.
    2. Step Two: Pursue an Internship or Entry-level Position. …
    3. Step Three: Get Certified.