Loan officers use a process called underwriting to assess whether applicants qualify for loans. After collecting and verifying all the required financial documents, the loan officer evaluates this information to determine the applicant’s loan needs and ability to pay back the loan. Some firms underwrite loans manually, calculating the applicant’s financial status by following a certain formula or set of guidelines. Other firms use underwriting software, which analyze applications almost instantly. More often, firms use underwriting software to produce a recommendation, while relying on loan officers to consider any additional information to make a final decision. The work of loan officers has sizeable customer service and sales components. Loan officers often answer questions and guide customers through the application process. In addition, many loan officers must market the products and services of their lending institution and actively solicit new business. Commercial loan officers generally need a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, economics, or a related field. Mortgage loan officers must be licensed.