6 min read May 13, 2024

Mortgage Loan Originator: Meaning, Costs, and How to Choose

Edited By

Megha Mulchandani

Edited By

Megha Mulchandani

Editor, Houzeo

Megha M. is a content editor who loves to play with words. Apart from this, she is a theater artist and a public speaker who transforms into various personas on stage.

Find Megha Here

As a new homebuyer, you will need guidance at every step of the mortgage process. A mortgage loan originator (MLO) is one such guide that will give a smooth landing to your mortgage.

An MLO is an individual, either employed or affiliated with the lender. An MLO solicits, negotiates, and explains the terms of the mortgage loan to the borrower.

Understand The Role Of AN MLO

  • A mortgage loan originator guides borrowers through the mortgage process. They assess the borrower’s financial situation. They also recommend suitable mortgage options and ensure compliance with industry regulations.
  • When selecting an MLO, you must conduct thorough research, verify their credentials and licenses, and evaluate their experience.
  • MLOs may charge various fees including origination fees, mortgage points, and broker fees. The fees can vary based on the loan amount and transaction complexity.

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Definition of MLO

An MLO is a professional who gives mortgage-related assistance to potential homebuyers. They assess the buyer’s finances and recommend the most suitable mortgage loan.

Furthermore, an MLO is well-versed in banking industry rules and regulations. This not only eases the mortgage process but also continuously educates buyers in making an informed decision.

Purpose of MLO

An MLO’s purpose is to help buyers navigate the complicated mortgage process from application to closing. The mortgage loan originator fulfills the following duties:

  1. Assesses your financial health to determine loan eligibility.
  2. Guides you through the loan application process.
  3. Assists you in collecting the required documentation for the application.
  4. Explains different mortgage options and their benefits.
  5. Presents loan offers, including rates and terms.
  6. Provides personalized guidance and advice.
  7. Acts as a liaison between the borrower and the lender.
  8. Coordinates a smooth loan closing process.

Additionally, it is the responsibility of an MLO to review the legal clauses of the loan agreement. They make sure the agreement terms are accurate and in accordance with mortgage policy.

How Do I Choose a Mortgage Loan Originator?

A loan search is not only about securing the lowest interest rates. Choosing the right MLO and lender is important to attain your financial goals. When choosing an MLO, follow these steps:

  1. Conduct research and gather recommendations from trusted sources.
  2. Verify the credentials and licenses of potential originators online from the NMLS portal.
  3. Review the experience and expertise of each candidate.
  4. Evaluate their communication and responsiveness during initial interactions.
  5. Compare the loan options and rates that each originator offers.
  6. Assess customer reviews to gauge their reputation.
  7. Seek transparency and honesty regarding fees and additional charges.
  8. Schedule consultations with potential candidates.
  9. Trust your instincts and choose someone you feel comfortable working with.
  10. Request referrals and testimonials from previous clients.

These steps will help you find the ideal MLO who will match your needs and offer top-notch service to buy your house.

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How Much Does a Mortgage Loan Originator Charge?

The mortgage loan originators’ fees can vary based on several factors. These include the loan amount, the complexity of the transaction, and the specific policies of the originator or lending institution.

Here are some common service fees that MLOs charge:

  • Origination Fee: This is the fee that the originator charges to process and facilitate the loan. It is typically a percentage of the loan amount, often ranging from 0.5% to 1% of the loan.
  • Mortgage Points: Mortgage Points are fees paid upfront to the originator in exchange for a lower interest rate on the loan. Each point represents 1% of the loan amount. The number of points and their cost can vary. Borrowers may have the option to pay more points to further reduce the interest rate.
  • Broker Fees: In some cases, mortgage loan originators may work as brokers. They may charge a fee, which can be 1% of the loan amount or a flat fee.

Additionally, they may charge fees for processing the loan application, such as credit report fees, appraisal fees, or underwriting fees. These fees cover the costs associated with verifying information and ensuring compliance with lending guidelines.

Loan Originator vs. Loan Officer: What’s the difference?

The terms “loan originator” and “loan officer” are often used interchangeably, but there are key differences in their roles.

Here’s a table with general distinctions:

Loan OriginatorLoan Officer
A loan originator is an individual or entity involved in initiating and processing loans.A loan officer works directly for a lending institution, such as a bank or credit union.
MLOs are professionals who connect borrowers with lenders, such as mortgage brokers or loan consultants. Loan officers often specialize in specific types of loans, such as mortgage loans, personal loans, or business loans.
They can work independently or for lending institutions. They work in the institutions as employees to evaluate loan applications, review documentation, and make lending decisions.

Bottom Line

You must choose your MLO carefully and make sure they have an NMLS license. They simplify the loan process and provide valuable support to borrowers in their home-buying process.

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or seeking to refinance, partnering with an MLO can greatly enhance your loan journey.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do loan officers need to be licensed?

Yes, since 2008, loan officers need to be licensed to ensure consumers have a safe mortgage experience. Licensing requirements may vary by jurisdiction.

What is a mortgage loan origination agreement?

Mortgage origination agreement is a contract between the borrower and a mortgage lender. The agreement includes the terms and conditions relating to the origination and sale of mortgage loans.

What is a mortgage loan broker?

A mortgage broker is an intermediary who brings mortgage borrowers and mortgage lenders together. It's important to note that they don't use their own funds to originate mortgages.

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