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How to become a Mortgage underwriter

What is a Mortgage underwriter?

A Mortgage Underwriter plays a crucial role in the home-buying process. They assess the creditworthiness of potential borrowers and determine the amount of loan they can receive. If you’re interested in starting a career in becoming a Mortgage Underwriter then this is the place to be, read on to learn what you need to know to get started in this career.

As a Mortgage Underwriter you will:

  • Review and analyse loan applications: The underwriter is responsible for reviewing all the documentation provided by the borrower, such as income statements, credit reports, and other financial information.
  • Evaluate loan risk: The underwriter must determine the level of risk associated with the loan and ensure that it meets the lender’s guidelines.
  • Approve or deny loan applications: Based on their analysis, the Underwriter must approve or deny loan applications that are in line with their mandate or lending authority and provide an explanation for their decision.
  • Ensure compliance with regulations: The Underwriter must make sure that the loan application and all relevant documentation comply with the rules and regulations set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and other governing bodies.
  • Communicate with the borrower and other parties: The Underwriter may communicate with the borrower and other parties involved in the loan process, such as brokers, valuers or solicitors to obtain additional information or clarification.


What are the different requirements for a Mortgage Underwriter?

The requirements to become a successful Underwriter entail more than just a good education. A Mortgage Underwriter must have the necessary skills to fulfil their job responsibilities.

These are the following skills that are desirable as a Mortgage Underwriter:

Problem Solving: Mortgage Underwriters must have the ability to solve problems and find solutions when there are discrepancies in loan applications or when borrowers’ financial information is not complete. You may be required to think outside the box when looking at cases, looking into the ‘grey areas’ and being able to make a decision would be a vital skill to have that will set you apart from the rest.

Attention to Detail: Mortgage Underwriters must have excellent attention to detail as they will be reviewing large amounts of financial information. They need to be meticulous and double-check all data to ensure accuracy.

IT Proficiency: Mortgage Underwriters must be proficient in using loan origination software, database management systems and spreadsheet applications.

Analytical Skills: Mortgage Underwriters must have excellent analytical skills to assess borrowers’ financial information, credit history and loan requirements. They need to be able to interpret financial statements, tax returns, credit reports and other financial documents.

How do you become a Mortgage Underwriter?

To become a Mortgage Underwriter, you can follow these steps:

  1. Study CeMAP – Having the CeMAP qualification can open the door for someone keen to start an entry-level role in the mortgage sector. Some businesses do offer it to employees who are open to studying this, but taking it upon yourself to acquire a CeMAP qualification demonstrates initiative and a commitment to your career path.
  2. Gain work experience – often Mortgage Underwriters are qualified by experience, this means that they have worked their way up to their respective position. Looking for roles that have a natural progression path such as a Mortgage Case Manager or Mortgage Administrator with a desired lender can expose you to the mortgage origination process and gain an insight into the duties of a Mortgage Underwriter.
  3. Trainee Underwriting roles – these may be hard to come by, but if you seek out larger retail banks or building societies, they may be more likely to offer training positions or opportunities to graduates looking to start a career as an Underwriter. For example, Underwriting Assistant roles may be a great place to start for someone who wants to eventually become a Mortgage Underwriter but doesn’t have the necessary experience in mortgages yet.
  4. Consider opportunities with mortgage and loan servicing businesses – This is more of an alternative route; Mortgage and Loan Servicing businesses work on behalf of other lenders. Although you won’t be processing mortgage applications, you will be servicing existing mortgage customers’ needs, and within the role learn about mortgages in the process. You may also be tasked with amending the terms of the borrower’s mortgage. The experience gained can be used to then apply for a variety of opportunities with lenders where an understanding of the mortgage sector is key.
  5. Apply for jobs – This is the easy part. Once you’ve got your desired qualifications and work experience you can start looking for the perfect job; make sure to highlight your relevant experience, qualifications, and certifications in your application – see our blog on ‘What should a Mortgage Underwriter have on their CV’ for some good tips!


What are the different career paths?

From a career standpoint, being a Mortgage Underwriter provides ample opportunities for growth. An underwriter may advance to the position of more seniority, which entails increased underwriting duties such as guiding Junior Underwriters in making decisions and an increased lending authority for more sizable loans.

Career paths for Underwriters include:

Senior Mortgage Underwriter – After gaining experience as a Mortgage Underwriter, individuals may be promoted to a senior underwriting position, where they may be responsible for leading a team of underwriters or underwriting higher-value mortgages. For example, a Junior Underwriter may be allowed to sign off on a loan of £250k, whereas a Senior Underwriter may be allowed to underwrite a loan of up to £1 million.

Underwriting Manager – A Mortgage Underwriting Manager will be responsible for overseeing the department or team of underwriters and ensuring that all underwriters are working to company standards and policies. They will also be responsible for ensuring that the department runs smoothly and efficiently as well as awarding lending mandates to underwriters.

Operations Manager – Some Mortgage Underwriters may eventually move into operations management, where they are responsible for overseeing the overall operations of a mortgage lending department. This could be anything from the processing of applications to the completion of mortgages, ensuring the business runs efficiently.

Head Of Lending – As a Head Of Lending you will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the lending department. You may be responsible for; developing and implementing lending strategies alongside overseeing the loan processing and underwriting process.

Credit Risk Manager – Problem solving, attention to detail and analytical skills are amazing transferable skills to have if considering a career as a Credit Risk Manager. In this role you will be responsible for managing and monitoring the credit risk associated with lending activities. You will develop and implement credit risk management policies, procedures and programs to ensure the company’s risk exposure is within acceptable levels.

Average salary for Mortgage Underwriters

From our enhanced experience in working with and placing Mortgage Underwriters, you can look to earn around £40,000 as a minimum in London. Variables such as experience, the type of mortgage you’ll be underwriting and location can also affect your earning potential.

If you want to know more about Mortgage Underwriters and the different types of roles there are available don’t hesitate to get in touch to speak to our talented team – alternatively, you can view the different roles we have available here – Underwriter jobs or even upload your CV so we can match you to the perfect role.

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