Commercial Underwriter Job Description
Commercial underwriters process loan requests from clients, structuring payment agreements and verifying all paperwork to complete financial loans. Banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, and financial institutions of all types hire commercial underwriters to work independently within a team-oriented environment. Commercial underwriters typically work daytime business hours with paid holidays off, and primarily report to the loan department manager. Some travel is required, as commercial underwriters may travel to meet with current and potential clients to discuss the details of financial agreements.
Commercial Underwriter Duties and Responsibilities
Commercial underwriters perform varied job duties based on the number of clients they work with, the amount of money they lend, and the financial history of potential clients. However, there are several core tasks associated with commercial underwriting that are common in all financial institutions, including:
Perform Credit Analysis
Commercial underwriters look over financial documents to analyze credit for clients and companies.
Identify Potential Risks
Commercial underwriters spot potential risks with requested loans. When risk is too great for the requested loan amount, commercial underwriters design alternative loan agreements.
Manage Credit Requests
Commercial underwriters manage and respond to requests for credit, processing applications and financing. This includes approving or denying loan requests.
Structure Credit Agreements
Commercial underwriters work with clients to design money-borrowing policies with comprehensive payment schedules.
Create Summary Reports
Commercial underwriters summarize loan applications and credit analysis in concise reports.
Adhere to All Company Policies
Commercial underwriters follow financial policies and guidelines at all times as set forth by the hiring financial institution.
Train New Employees
Commercial underwriters provide training to new underwriting and loan department staff members.
Commercial Underwriter Skills and Qualifications
Commercial underwriters are problem-solvers with an eye for detail and excellent customer service skills who process complex loan applications and create comprehensive loan agreements. Financial companies seek commercial underwriters who have the following specific skills:
- Customer service – commercial underwriters use customer service skills to guide clients through the lending process and give them a positive loan experience
- Time management – commercial underwriters work against tight deadlines and prioritize tasks to perform efficiently in fast-paced environments, which requires good time management
- Personnel management – commercial underwriters train new hires, so employers look for professionals with strong management skills
- Mathematics – because commercial underwriters work with complex financial matters all day, strong math skills are essential
- Communication skills –commercial underwriters regularly speak with clients and business representatives about their financial matters, so strong verbal communication skills are crucial for this job
- Analytical thinking – commercial underwriters use analytical and critical thinking skills to analyze detailed credit reports, determine the risk associated with every potential loan, and find alternative loan solutions for clients
- Computer skills – commercial underwriters frequently use Microsoft Office, spreadsheets, and other software programs, all of which require computer skills
- Attention to detail – commercial underwriters use attention to detail to carefully analyze financial documents
Commercial Underwriter Education and Training
Most employers seek commercial underwriters who have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a similar field of study. Candidates who have advanced degrees or certifications – like a master’s of business administration (MBA) degree or a certified public accountant (CPA) or chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation – are highly desirable to employers, though not usually required. Some employers prefer commercial underwriters who have past work experience in collections, credit, or banking in addition to education.
On-the-job training is provided to commercial underwriters so they can become acquainted with company policies and standards. Commercial underwriters in training work closely with a loan department manager or supervisor. The length of this training period varies by employer but generally lasts no longer than a few weeks.
Commercial Underwriter Salary and Outlook
Loan officers, who perform many of the same duties as commercial underwriters, earn $64,660 in yearly median income, or $31.09 hourly, according to job data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Data from PayScale shows that commercial underwriters earn a median annual salary of $56,927. The BLS expects employment in this field to grow 11 percent through 2026. This is faster than the average U.S. job growth rate.
Most financial institutions provide complete benefits packages to commercial underwriters. These include health insurance with vision and dental coverage, life insurance benefits, and retirement planning options. Commercial underwriters also receive paid bank holidays, vacation leave, and paid sick days.
Find training programs, education resources, career strategies, and tips for finding success as a commercial underwriter with these books and websites:
Commercial Finance Association – CFA offers ongoing education training programs, news updates, upcoming events information, and networking communities for professionals in commercial finance
The Successful Lender’s Field Guide: Commercial Lending Strategies That Maximize Value for Both Bank and Borrower – use this commercial lending field guide to learn new strategies and techniques to maximize success with commercial loans of all types
Risk Management – learn more about the risk management process with the continuing education resources, certification programs, and upcoming conferences listed at this website
Commercial Banking: The Management of Risk – learn tips for managing risk and maximizing profits in commercial banking with this guidebook, which offers information from the point of view of the banker and the borrower
National Association of Mortgage Underwriters – study mortgage underwriting, explore certification programs, and find training courses at the NAMU website
Fundamentals of Credit and Credit Analysis: Corporate Credit Analysis – get back to the basics with this book that covers the fundamentals of credit analysis and provides real-world tips for commercial underwriters
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