In a world where almost everything of value costs money, it is refreshing to find educational tools and resources absolutely free. They only cost you time. Few activities that take up your time are more valuable than extending your education. As technology continues to evolve rapidly, online offerings continue to increase. There is an overwhelming amount of online and free resources for loan officers to utilize for educational, training, and professional purposes. Where do you begin the search?
We have collected ten free resources for you. You will find something for every loan officer level, from fresh out of college, to an entry-level position, to a seasoned professional. There are free courses offered by reputable universities, a blog, a couple of podcasts, some webinars, and a hub offering multiple resources. Take some time to peruse through each one, check them out, and see what sparks your interest. It is a great place to start.
ABL Advisor Blog
The Equipment Finance Advisor, Inc publishes the ABL Advisor Blog, which is a great free resource for loan officers. The publisher, Michael A. Toglia, has been in the commercial finance industry for over 25 years. The blog aims to provide expert information and commentary on the evolving needs and relevant topics that affect the asset-based lending industry. The blog is an excellent free resource offering innovative, comprehensive, and high-quality content that is educational for loan officers at any stage in their career.
The blog “Challenges of Staying Competitive & Relevant in Asset-based Finance” discusses the rapid growth rate of asset-based lending and the disruption that advanced technology, like FinTech, has had on this industry. “A Look at Systems for Survival in the COVID-19 Era” addresses the global effects of the pandemic on the financial services industry and what systems need to be put in place to adapt. Finally, “The Lifeline of Supply Chain Finance for Lenders” talks about the consistent growth in supply chain finance amidst the decline of the economy and how it could benefit lenders.
Accounting for Decision Making Course
The Accounting for Decision Making course, offered by the University of Michigan, is a free course available through Coursera. It is an intermediate level course entirely online and takes about 28 hours to complete. Loan officers spend a lot of their time analyzing their client’s financial statements and need an in-depth knowledge of accounting practices. Therefore, this is an excellent free course for loan officers.
Throughout the course, students will gain a foundational understanding of accounting. They will study the purpose of the two primary financial statements: the income statement and the balance sheet. Exploring the elements of business transactions helps loan officers understand how these components ignite decision making. Students get to dive deep into the details of these statements, learn how to create them, and examine the accounting cycle. Some of these details include revenue, costs of goods sold, accounts receivable, tangible and intangible assets, and economic concepts that impact a business’s finances. Gaining insight into business accounting is essential for commercial loan officers.
Behavioral Finance Course
Loan officers handle clients all day long who are making big life decisions. It is helpful for a loan officer to understand why and how they are coming to the financial decision to purchase a loan so they can better guide them through the decision-making process and loan application. Duke University offers a free course in Behavioral Finance through Coursera. This online free course will take about five hours to complete.
Students will have gained an understanding of behavioral finance, behavioral economics, how they affect decision-making, and what role cognitive bias plays in the process, by the end of the course. The course will describe and explain how psychological emotions and biases play a part in the financial decisions we all make daily. Students learn how to recognize the errors and biases and avoid them to improve their financial decisions. They study many examples showing the theory of expected behavior versus actual behavior, how the “rule of thumb” way of thinking can cause errors, and the adverse effects of biases.
Connecting with Sales Prospects Course
Northwestern University has created a 100% online free course entitled: Connecting with Sales Prospects. This beginner course can be completed in about eight hours. All types of loan officers are salespeople. They must have a solid knowledge of how to connect with their clients to “sell” them the right loan to fit their needs. Mortgage loan officers are sometimes responsible for conjuring up their own business, so knowing the best way to connect with business prospects is crucial.
Within the first couple of weeks, students will learn five disciplines to help them run an impactful meeting and set them apart from their competition. They will study and practice how to ask the right questions and converse effectively. In the final two weeks, students focus on how to handle the hurdles and rejection that objection brings, how to navigate and communicate through complaints properly, and how storytelling is powerful and connects to the emotions behind decision-making for clients. This free course teaches loan officers how to become high-performing conversationalists.
Intercultural Communication & Conflict Resolution Course
Our nation, America, is one of the most culturally diverse in the world. Although it is a beautiful thing, it also brings language barriers, cultural differences, and unique worldviews, which cause challenges and potential unexpected conflicts in the business world. As a loan officer, you work with people of all different types of cultures. It is essential to gain an understanding of how to communicate and handle conflict that may arise.
The University of California, Irvine, has designed a free online course through Coursera in Intercultural Communication & Conflict Resolution. It takes only five hours to complete. The course covers communication strategies, stereotypes, communication styles, and generalizations that are found across cultures. It will show how important it is to understand differences amongst cultures. Students learn how to identify barriers, examine complications, analyze dimensions, and plan and implement successful intercultural interactions and conflict strategies. Loan officers will gain a better understanding of the expectations their multicultural clients may have and how to best communicate with them.
Introduction to Financial Accounting Course
A significant part of any business is accounting. It is how a company organizes, records, and understands all of its financial transactions and information. Even though a loan officer may not perform accounting for an individual or a business, it is imperative they know how accounting works to read and analyze their client’s financial statements properly. The University of Pennsylvania offers the Introduction to Financial Accounting course. This free online course takes 13 hours to complete and is a part of two of the University’s specializations.
As students learn each concept throughout the course, they will perform a case study revealing the start-up company’s accounting process. The course begins with practicing and building upon accounting foundations like syntax, grammar, and idioms. It continues into financial reporting, defining assets, liabilities, equity, debit-credit bookkeeping, the translation of transactions, and ratio analysis. Students will be able to understand, analyze, and prepare a balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows.
Loan Officer Freedom Podcast
The Loan Officer Freedom Podcast is said to be the #1 podcast for loan officers. The host, Carl White, has been in the business of assisting loan officers in finding success for the past 20 years. He is the co-owner of Mortgage Marketing Animals & The Freedom Club. His goal is to equip loan officers with the knowledge of how not to be a slave to their job anymore and implement strategies that increase loan production in a lesser amount of time.
Within the most recent of the 130 podcasts, Carl hits on several helpful topics. He sits with his friend, who lost a large amount of his loan business due to the pandemic, and used Zoom and a virtual pizza party to increase his business. Carl also speaks about how a loan officer can achieve freedom and become a millionaire. There is a rag to riches story shared by a loan officer and another episode showing how you can expand your network with refinances.
Loan Officer Hub
The Loan Officer Hub is a “one-stop-shop,” an all-inclusive resource for mortgage loan officers. It is packed full of an extensive amount of free resources for loan officers to help deepen your knowledge, keep you informed, and enhance your business. Resources include tips, blogs, programs, training events, video strategies, mortgage infographics, and podcasts.
Some of the training includes live and recorded webinars, videos, and classroom opportunities. There are links to tools, such as a Down Payment Resource, Mortgage Coach, and MBS Highway that helps loan officers expand referrals and loan volume. Access to mortgage reports for generational trends and home price appreciation and mortgage calculators for down payments, home affordability, and monthly payment exist to assist loan officers. They can search through different resources and find social media, referral, and consumer strategies. Blogs provide the latest insights into news, industry trends, and events related to mortgages. The infographics include information on topics like new tax changes, leveraging Facebook Live videos, the Millennial generation, and credit score.
Lykken on Lending Podcast
The Lykken on Lending Podcast is hosted by David Lykken, a mortgage professional. It is a 60-minute radio program that airs live every Monday or can be listened to later as a podcast. There are 721 episodes and has had over 555,000 listens. All types of mortgage professionals benefit from the content throughout this free resource. To be successful and better than their competition, mortgage loan officers can tune in, hear from the experts, and stay up-to-date on current mortgage industry trends, issues, and other topics.
Every week, the podcast offers a tech, market, and legislative update, tips on financial management, and discussions about a mortgage industry “hot topic.” The CEO of Insellerate shares how technology can assist lenders in adapting to the rapid change in borrower engagement. Walsh and Parker discuss the statistics for Independent Mortgage Banks. An executive from Finastra, Steve Hoke, speaks about the meaning behind the current increase in mortgage applications. And several executives talk about whether to replace or enable loan officers with technology.
MGIC Connects Mortgage Webinars
The Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC) has been serving lenders since 1957. It provides the MGIC Connects Mortgage Webinars at no cost. This free resource is constructed to educate mortgage industry professionals, especially loan officers, in technical training, customer service, sales, and presentation skills. It teaches on essential business topics that impact mortgage businesses and give loan officers a deeper understanding of how to conduct their business.
One of the webinars provides a comprehensive view of your self-employed borrowers’ business tax returns, giving you the opportunity to delve deep into their income and learn how to analyze their business finances. Another workshop takes you through how to review and evaluate an appraisal properly. The LinkedIn Strategies for Loan Officers webinar shines a light on the incredible resource LinkedIn can be to your business in networking and expanding your audience. Finally, the webinar entitled Fundamentals of the Mortgage Process provides insight into the skills needed to process and underwrite a mortgage application.
How was your experience looking through the list of free resources for loan officers? Did any of them impress you and cause you to look into it further? The courses cover essential parts of a loan officer’s job like financial accounting, behavioral finance, accounting for decision-making, connecting with sales prospects, and intercultural communication. The blog hits on relevant topics that impact the asset-based lending industry. The podcasts and webinars equip mortgage loan officers with current trends, news, expert insights, and success strategies. Finally, the hub has an expansive library of podcasts, blogs, training events, and infographics.
Consumer, commercial, and mortgage loans are not going anywhere. The borrower and the lender continue to need loan officers to conduct the business efficiently and effectively for both parties. As the loan officer job market is expected to grow in the coming years, it is an excellent industry to get into if you’re looking for a career. If you are already a loan officer, there is no better time than now to continue your education and stay competitive. Since you know where to start, what are you going to do about it?
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