Mortgage Underwriter Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

A mortgage underwriter evaluates loan applications and decides whether or not to approve them based on the applicant’s credit history, income, and other factors. They must have good attention to detail as they review loan applications for any inconsistencies that may cause the application to be rejected. Strong knowledge of the mortgage loan process and the ability to assess the financial health of the client are necessary skills in verifying loan applications. Mortgage underwriters analyze the risk in approving a loan and may request additional information as necessary.

Mortgage underwriters must have good written and verbal communication skills as they prepare reports documenting assessment findings and inform loan officers whether or not the loans were approved. They must be able to review applications and make loan eligibility decisions using sound judgment. They also have to ensure that the documents comply with regulatory standards, company policies, and guidelines. Mortgage underwriters need to be highly organized, have good data analysis skills, and have solid math skills. Part of their job includes requesting modifications to the application, so they must document their findings clearly.

Sample job description #1


Responsible for the underwriting of the Bank’s residential lending correspondent/agency (FNMA/FHMLC) programs as well as portfolio underwriting. Is proficient and adheres to Bank and Investor credit and collateral loan policies and procedures. Ensures each mortgage loan is underwritten in accordance with all investor guidelines and in compliance with government regulations applicable to the residential underwriting guidelines, office operations and support staff functions. Makes sound lending decisions within their board assigned lending authority up to $500,000. Responsible for supporting the bank’s residential lending programs by providing services of underwriting for all residential loan products and monitoring CRA loans guidelines, requirements, and changes.


  • 5+ years of residential mortgage loan underwriting experience, with specific experience in FNMA and FHMLC
  • Correspondent lending experience
  • Expert with Fannie Mae DU/DO and Freddie Mac LP programs and policies
  • Knowledge of federal and state regulatory requirements
  • Thorough understanding of credit, underwriting, credit policy and financial analysis in portfolio underwriting
  • Strong analytical and decision making skills
  • Knowledge of Fannie Mae Desktop Underwriter and Freddie Mac Loan Prospector
  • Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, borrowers, and internal/external clients
  • Ability to work with Origination and Processing staff
  • Must be familiar with fraud detection techniques
  • Microsoft Office proficiency required
  • Encompass LOS knowledge preferred
  • Ability to manage by taking charge and directing others
  • Leads by building commitment and keeping others involved and takes a strategic approach to problem solving and/or decision making
  • Production-oriented by setting high expectations for self and others and functions efficiently and effectively under deadlines and stress while maintaining a professional and mature demeanor


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Real Estate, or related field, or the equivalent year of experience

Sample job description #2

Job summary

Responsible for reviewing all documentation, performing analysis and making judgment on loan applications; Complies with all regulations which apply within the scope of the position, including Bank Secrecy Act.


  • Perform a variety of mortgage loan documentation duties and ensure all tax, title, insurance, and closing documentation are in place
  • Review appraisal to ensure accuracy and thoroughness to warrant the loan; Specify closing conditions
  • Review and ensure applicant’s income, financial statements, credit history, debt ratios, and savings
  • Approve applications for closing and funding and ensure all applicable regulations are met
  • Collaborate with team members to identify potential solutions/exceptions for denied loan files
  • Provide superior customer service while maintaining knowledge of available loan products
  • Perform other duties as assigned


  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in business or related field preferred
  • Experience: Minimum 5 years of mortgage banking experience specific in underwriting; technical history with FHLMC FNMA FHA VA or equivalent mortgage products
  • Skills/Abilities: Strong analytical and auditing skills along with a firm gasp on math, good decision-making skills backed by relevant details and research, knowledge pertaining to mortgage regulations, excellent computer skills, customer service and communication skills, and the ability to handle delicate situations with diplomacy and tact

Sample job description #3

ABC Company is seeking an experienced, positive and motivated individual to join our Home Loans underwriting team. The successful candidate will possess a combination of deal structuring and underwriting skills and experience underwriting mortgage loans for sophisticated borrowers with complex income streams. Our Mortgage Underwriters are responsible for analyzing client’s financial background, and making lending decisions.

Location: Remote Based

Position responsibilities

  • Underwrite complex mortgage loans for high net worth clients
  • Perform business financial statement analysis along with complex income/tax return analysis
  • Analyze loans within delegated credit authority and in accordance with MSPBNA credit policy and credit culture
  • Proactively manage assigned pipeline
  • Assist in identifying or recommending alternative loan solutions
  • Ensure data accuracy
  • Underwrite within the Private Bank lending standards and risk appetite
  • Private bank lending experience, business relationship management, or commercial credit analysis experience required including providing business financing
  • Minimum 7 years experience credit analysis and underwriting for high net worth individuals
  • Experience underwriting non-conforming loans
  • Experience structuring and underwriting loans held in entities i.e. LLCs and Trusts
  • Pipeline management experience required
  • College degree preferred or equivalent experience, advance degree a plus


  • Ability to comprehend business financial statements and personal tax returns
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including ability to articulate the borrower’s financial profile and associated risks
  • Must have current knowledge of underwriting and credit risk principles
  • Ability to recognize, mitigate, and escalate risks where appropriate
  • Strong knowledge of unique property vesting i.e. trusts and LLC
  • Complex self-employed income analysis is a critical requirement
  • Ability to partner, collaborate with a deal team (comprising of Mortgage Consultants, Relationship Managers, loan processors, Private Banker, and Financial Advisors)
  • Experience with wealth management clients
  • Extraordinary client service aptitude
  • Meticulous follow-up and follow through
  • Ability to work under tight timelines
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • High level of proficiency with Microsoft excel; proficient with Microsoft Office suite

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a mortgage underwriter is $71,800 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$71,400 $96,600 
Los Angeles, California$80,550$109,00 
Denver, Colorado$67,150 $90,850
Washington, DC$81,800 $110,650 
Miami, Florida$66,850 $90,400 
Orlando, Florida$61,650$83,400
Tampa, Florida$62,250 $84,200 
Atlanta, Georgia$65,300$88,350 
Chicago, Illinois$75,050$101,550
Boston, Massachusetts$81,150 $109,800
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$64,700 $87,500 
New York City, New York$85,450 $115,600 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$69,550$94,150 
Dallas, Texas$67,750 $91,650
Houston, Texas$67,150$90,850 
Seattle, Washington$78,100$105,700 
National Average$61,050 $82,550 

Sample interview questions

  • How do you stay up-to-date on mortgage industry trends and regulations? 
  • What red flags do you look for in loan applications?
  • How do you determine the feasibility of approving a loan?
  • What is the key to success when communicating with the public?
  • How do you ensure that loan agreements are complete and accurate?
  • How do you ensure error-free work?
  • What type of software are you familiar with?
  • What do you do if you are unable to find a lot of data about an applicant’s finances?
  • How do you verify income for a self-employed applicant?
  • What method do you use to analyze financial information? 
  • How do you organize loan applicants’ financial information?
  • Can you give an example of a loan you approved and one you did not?
  • Can you provide a time when you dealt calmly and effectively with a high-stress situation?
  • How do you resolve a difficult customer’s complaint?
  • How do you weigh risk and evaluate whether you should approve a loan?
  • What process do you think is most effective for fraud detection?
  • What are debt and loan-to-value ratios? How do they help you make decisions about a loan?
  • How do you present your findings and organize records for future use?
  • What was your greatest accomplishment as a mortgage underwriter?
  • What would you do if you couldn’t make up your mind about whether a risk is worth taking?

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