What is an Underwriter?

Underwriters are responsible for deciding whether a borrower's loan application is approved or not. If a potential borrower applies for a loan from a mortgage, insurance, loan broker or any other type of financial institution, it is an Underwriter who evaluates risk presented by the entire loan application.

An Underwriter will review credit history, assets, the size of the loan, the appraisal of the home for mortgage applicants and medical history for insurance, and then decide whether to approve or decline the application based on the risk presented.

There are three types of Underwriters:

  • Insurance Underwriter
    • Assesses the risk for life insurance
  • Mortgage Underwriter
    • Most common type of underwriter
    • Manages loan applications for potential homeowners
  • Often related to auto loans

Education Requirements


  • Bachelor’s degree in finance, business, economics or mathematics
  • Advancing in this field typically requires certifications through nationally-recognized organizations

      Underwriter Essential Skills

      • Compliance
      • FHA, USDA, VA, FNMA and FHLMC loans
      • Mortgage loans
      • Risk management
      • Analytical skills
      • Problem-solving skills

      Underwriter Roles & Responsibilities

      • Review and verify loan applications and supporting documentation
      • Define the terms and conditions of the insurance coverage and the premium
      • Review loan documentation and vendor reports to identify signs of fraudulent activity
      • Re-assess risk when policies come up for renewal
      • Make loan eligibility decisions and approving or rejecting applications

      Day-to-Day Duties

      • Communicate with loan officers and management to maintain a case-by-case follow-up for potential clients
      • Request additional information beyond the application to ensure thorough and accurate evaluations (when necessary)
      • Offer recommendations on whether or not to approve an application
      • Analyze loan risk
      • Review or renew applications for insurance coverage

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