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What is a mortgage underwriter?

Maurice Bedard


When applying for a loan or modification, the mortgage underwriter is the one who does a lot of the leg work when it comes to processing, analysing, verifying information and approving the mortgage for a lender. This person must be able to understand the complete mortgage process, and verify if the borrower can qualify for the loan or modification. Having good math and analytical skills is also a trait of many who work in this field.

This position is the last line of defense and quality control for mortgage lenders.

Many times people will have to start working as assistants or junior processors before they can slowly work there way up to the underwriting position which can take years.  Usually only seasoned mortgage veterans hold these positions.

They must have a clear understanding on how the loan process works to qualify for this position. Below are examples of tasks a mortgage underwriter must complete in the process:

  • They work as a buffer between the loan officer, processor and the lender for whom they work for and who’s best interest they are protecting during the loan process and closing.
  • They must

    gather all of the borrowers needed information including there tax returns, bank statements, income verification, appraisals, credit report, etc.

  • They then MUST verify all this documentation to be true and correct as well as accurate.
  • A review of the borrowers past credit history, current credit rating, household income, and the down payment will be evaluated. A high credit score shows that you are most likely able to pay the loan back in full without defaulting.
  • The underwriter will determine and verify the borrowers debt to income ratio (DTI).
  • They will condition the borrower for certain items that may needed to complete the loan

With this information they must be able to determine what type of loan the borrower qualifies for. Also how big of a loan the bank is willing to lend.

Once they have officially approved the loan, it will be passed off to a different department that will draw up all of the needed documents for the loan to close. These tasks must be performed with accuracy to ensure the standards that are set forth by the government and the lender.

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