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Sep 15, 2023 PropStream

The Top 10 Cities for Loan Officers in 2023

U.S. loan officers make a median salary of 63,380 per year without needing a degree (though it can be helpful to have one). If you’re looking for a new career in real estate, becoming a loan officer could be a great option. 

Loan officers are licensed representatives of financial institutions who help consumers apply for home loans. Their primary role is to match homebuyers with the best mortgage for their situation. Since applying for a mortgage can require a lot of confusing paperwork, loan officers play a critical role in the home-buying journey.

As a prospective loan officer, your odds of finding a job and how much you can earn depend heavily on where you work. To help you decide where to pursue a career as a loan officer, we compiled a list of the top ten cities for loan officers in 2023:

Table of Contents

1. Atlanta, GA

2. Los Angeles, CA

3. Detroit, MI

4. Washington, D.C.

5. Charlotte, NC

6. Dallas, TX

7. Chicago, IL

8. Philadelphia, PA

9. New York City, NY

10. Durham, NC

Tips for Becoming an MLO

1. Atlanta, Georgia

Known for its southern hospitality, Atlanta is Georgia’s capital and most populous city, with half a million residents. It also has 6,140 loan officer positions, the average annual salary being $129,580, more than in any other U.S. city.

The total value of Atlanta’s real estate is $531 billion (the equivalent of Berkshire Hathaway’s or Thailand’s value), indicating a lot of potential mortgage revenue. With a 2023 gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 0.5%, the city also has the 15th fastest-growing economy of any U.S. city.

Georgia also ranks 12th for the state with the lowest cost of living, meaning loan officers’ salaries will stretch further here than in 37 other states.

2. Los Angeles, California

Home to Hollywood, Los Angeles (LA) is the world's entertainment capital. It’s also the second-most populous U.S. city, with over 3.8 million residents. So, if you want to work with an expansive potential client pool or even celebrities, this might be the place!

The average annual salary of LA loan officers is $79,520, and there are 16,010 loan officer jobs here, more than in any other U.S. city.

Another interesting statistic: The total value of LA’s real estate is $2.289 trillion, which is the equivalent value of Amazon and Alphabet combined!

3. Detroit, Michigan

3. Detroit, Michigan

Also known as “Motor City,” Detroit is the birthplace of the American automotive industry. It has a population of over 600,000 residents and 8,290 loan officer jobs.

What makes Detroit especially attractive is loan officers’ average annual salary of $123,450. When you consider Michigan ranks 15th for the state with the lowest cost of living, becoming a loan officer here could be a great way to stretch your dollars further.

The total value of Detroit’s real estate is $348 billion, the equivalent of Mastercard Inc. or the country of Denmark.

4. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., is the U.S. capital and, consequently, the country’s political center. Out of a metro population of over 6.3 million, 282,666 are government employees—more than any other U.S. metro area. This makes D.C. an excellent place for loan officers who want to specialize in serving government workers.

Washington, D.C., holds 6,550 loan officer jobs, the average annual salary being $106,450. The city also maintains a total real estate value of $826 billion, roughly that of Alphabet Inc. or Saudi Arabia.

5. Charlotte, North Carolina

With 897,720 residents, Charlotte is the most populous city in North Carolina. It’s also a major banking and financial hub where Bank of America and Wells Fargo have headquarters, making it an excellent place for loan officers to connect with mortgage lenders.

Charlotte loan officers make an average of $88,430 annually, and the city has 6,340 loan officer jobs. Charlotte's total real estate value is $248 billion, the equivalent of Coca-Cola or the Czech Republic. Charlotte also has the twelfth-fastest growing economy among U.S. cities, with a 2023 GDP growth rate of 0.8%.

6. Dallas, Texas

Dallas is the ninth largest U.S. city, with a population of 1.3 million. Last year, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro grew faster than any other U.S. region. Additionally, it has the seventh-fastest growing U.S. economy with a 2023 GDP growth rate of 1.3%. For loan officers, there’s a lot of potential to grow a business here.

Dallas loan officers make an average of $80,670 annually, with about 10,690 loan officer jobs. The city’s total real estate value is estimated at $628 billion, about the value of Facebook or Taiwan.

7. Chicago, Illinois

7. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is a central U.S. economic and transportation hub located on Lake Michigan. It’s also the third most populous U.S. city with 2.6 million residents and has 8,260 loan officer jobs, the average annual salary of which is $90,960.

The city’s total real estate value is $906 billion, the equivalent of Alphabet Inc. or the Netherlands. Additionally, Illinois ranks eleventh for the state with the lowest cost of living, which helps loan officers stretch their income further.

8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Considered the “birthplace of America,” Philadelphia is rich with historical landmarks and buildings. It’s also home to over 1.5 million residents and 6,290 loan officer jobs, the average annual salary being $87,240.

Additionally, Philadelphia loan officers have $577 billion worth of real estate to work with, representing a value equivalent to that of Facebook or Taiwan.

9. New York City, New York

9. New York City, New York

New York City (NYC) is by far the largest U.S. city. With its population of over 8.3 million and its total real estate valued at over $2.8 trillion (the equivalent of Apple and Microsoft combined or the U.K.), it’s an ideal destination for loan officers.

NYC has 13,170 loan officer positions, the annual salary being $108,840. If you like big cities and want to have many loan officer positions to choose from, NYC is an excellent place to go.

10. Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina, is the smallest city on our list, with a population of 291,928, but it’s still one of the best cities to become a loan officer in due to the high pay. The average annual salary for loan officers in Durham is $108,110.

Additionally, the Raleigh and Durham metro area has the fourth-fastest growing economy of any U.S. metro area, with a 2023 GDP growth rate of 1.6%, indicating much growth potential.

Tips on Becoming a Loan Officer

Now that you know the top cities for loan officers in 2023, here are some tips on how to become a loan officer:

Meet basic requirements. Mortgage loan officers must have a high school diploma (or equivalent education) and be 18 years old.

Complete a pre-licensure course. Per the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act, loan officers must complete a pre-licensure course that takes 20 hours. Courses typically cover federal laws and regulations, ethics, lending standards, etc.

Pass the SAFE MLO test. Loan officers must pass the SAFE mortgage loan officer (MLO) test with a 75% or higher score. The test measures your knowledge of state and federal mortgage lending laws and practices.

Obtain a loan officer license. Each state may have slightly different licensure requirements and fees.

Keep up with mortgage regulations. Lending regulations can change at any time. So it’s important to stay current with them.

Invest in continuing education. To keep your loan officer license active, you must complete eight hours of NMLS-approved continuing education coursework each year. 

Use PropStream to find homeowner leads based on mortgage history. With PropStream, you can analyze homeowners across the U.S. with mortgage and interest rate filters such as loan type, total estimated monthly payment, estimated interest rate, and interest rate type. 

Ready to take your loan officer business to the next level? Try PropStream today with our free 7-day trial!

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Published by PropStream September 15, 2023