Ultimately, loan officers have the ability to earn several hundred thousand dollars a year (or more) if they work hard and make the right connections. While this can be a stressful job, a loan officer has the potential to make a lot of money. In addition to their salary, loan officers have a variety of incentives that allow them to obtain additional compensation. The broker or bank, or whoever employs the loan officer, may provide sales opportunities to the loan officer, or they may be completely alone when it comes to buying a business, inventing their own sales and marketing to introduce potential borrowers.
According to the BLS, loan officers typically work from offices, either in bank branches or other professional facilities. However, there are still positions in banks where a mortgage loan originator license (MLO) is not required. Three years ago I wanted to become a loan agent, but I was afraid because I had a friend whose husband didn't make money as a loan broker, had no leads, etc. This means that the total compensation can vary significantly depending on the sales performance of the loan officer in question.
Loan originators can expect to earn more as they gain work experience, however, most move on to other careers after a while. If you break it down as an hourly wage, it could be too high if the volume of loans is strong and efficiency is also high (that is, not many hours are wasted chasing bad leads). If you work for a wholesale mortgage lender and are an account executive (the equivalent in LO), the fee could be even lower, sometimes less than 10 basis points per loan. Now that we're in the wake of the housing bubble's collapse, are loan officers still making money? The answer is a resounding yes, but it's likely that the number of loan officers has fallen by half, if not more, in recent years or so.
By that, I'm referring to 1-2% of the loan amount, which may or may not be divided with your broker or mortgage company. You'll probably also learn a lot more with a broker because you'll work with a variety of different lenders and loan programs. Those who are able to create and manage a large business portfolio may end up with a lot of suitors, and it's not out of the realm of possibilities to be offered a six-figure bonus to switch companies. The downside of working with loan officers who work for big banks is that they generally don't have much flexibility when it comes to rates and fees.
Of course, they may also be the ones who tend to work in call centers and simply enter numbers into a loan application, rather than finding creative lending solutions.