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Struggles That Loan Officers Face During COVID-19

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Whenever we need financial support, loan officers are among the first few people that we face. But many of us have a complicated relationship with them. To put it bluntly, we might even hate some loan officers that we’ve encountered. And it’s for a myriad of reasons. But we also have to see and understand things from a loan officer’s perspective. They, too, are facing many challenges due to their work. And they faced even more challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s how the pandemic affected their work and how their employers may be able to help.

Dealing with the Mental and Emotional Impact

The job of a loan officer entails many things. As the representatives of a bank, credit union, or other financial institutions, it’s their job to analyze borrowers’ credit and financial needs. From there, they should be able to know which would be the best loan for them. They can show the best mortgage loans for prospective homeowners. They also know which are the best loan packages for new business owners. Then, they assist the borrowers throughout the whole process of a loan. They are the main contact of the borrowers from the start to the end of the engagement. And they deal with the massive piles of paperwork.

Because they face the borrowers, they also bear the brunt of the borrowers’ frustrations. But the COVID-19 pandemic made this so much worse. Because many people were losing their jobs or businesses, they turned to banks and other institutions. And, as much as loan officers would want to help them, they just couldn’t say yes to everyone. So they have to muster up the strength to reject even the individuals who are most in need of a loan.

Employers of loan officers can help them deal with the mental and emotional impact in many ways. For one, they can make sure that morale would always be up and steady in the workplaces. They need to make sure that their loan officers are happy all the time so it would be a bit easier to deal with borrowers. Another way is including mental health in their medical insurance. This way, if their work takes a major toll on their mental and emotional health, they can reach out to a professional for help.

Ensuring Their Health Safety

Much like any other office in the world, banks and other financial institutions faced a number of COVID-19 cases. For example, more than a third of the employees at Farmers & Merchants Bank in Ohio contracted the coronavirus. But, unlike many other businesses, banks absolutely needed to stay open because their services are essential to the public, especially during a pandemic.

On the bright side, loan officers and bank tellers are among the essential workers classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so they would have priority in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

But even with this priority, it would still be good to ensure their health safety by adjusting their operations. Employers can transition at least some of them to remote working for the time being, if possible. If not, then make sure that they’re able to properly practice social distancing in the workplace.

Transitioning to Digital Services

During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the biggest banks in the country transitioned to remote working. Over 85 percent of the workers at Bank of America, almost 90 percent of the workers at Citigroup, 75 percent of the workers at Wells Fargo started working from home.

But during the fourth quarter of 2020, many banks started working back at the office. JPMorgan Chase & Co. was one of them. But even so, many other banks still opted to stay working from home for the time being.

Thus, many loan officers struggled with transitioning to communicating with borrowers online. Some might say that this would make it easier for them to cope with the stress. But some would also say that it’s much harder and many borrowers are even more frustrated when talking online.

Employers, too, can help with this by making sure that their workers are still able to connect with each other even if they’re working from home. This way, again, morale is being kept high.

We might feel frustrated with loan officers because of the complicated process of applying for a loan. But the most common reason is, of course, they rejected our request for a loan. It won’t matter if we have laid down our entire life story and the challenges we’ve faced to our loan officer. If we have bad credit, then we just won’t get a loan. It’s as simple as that.

But it’s important for us to understand what loan officers also go through. This way, we’ll be able to let out some frustration and be more empathetic.