Mortgage Essentials

Mortgage Career Resources

Mortgage Loan Originator Salary

Mortgage Loan Originator Salary - What to Expect?

by The CE Shop Team

How Much Does a Mortgage Loan Originator Make? 

As with many different job titles in the mortgage industry, Mortgage Loan Originators and Loan Officers typically earn their income off of commissions. Depending on where you work, say a bank or other financial institution versus a sponsored broker, you may earn a base salary with commission as a bonus. You’ll also find that as you gain years of experience as an MLO, you’ll have the chance to earn more. The mean wage estimate for Mortgage Loan Originators as of 3/31/2021 is $76,930.

Your earning potential as a Mortgage Loan Originator can increase as you gain experience and develop your career with additional education. As a career that earns commission, you’re also able to gain clients through marketing yourself and referrals, in turn giving you an opportunity to increase the number of home loans you originate. The mortgage industry and mortgage financial services are tightly intertwined with the real estate industry, so you can expect an ever-changing market.

If you’re curious about the average salary by state, experience levels and how they affect income, and how MLOs are paid, stick around.

Average Mortgage Loan Originator Salary by State 

Depending on which state you practice in, your annual average base salary as a full-time Mortgage Loan Originator will vary. Factors that affect your compensation include the cost of living in your state and the demand for MLOs in your area. Your ability to advance in this field may depend on where you practice, as well as what the real estate market is doing in your area. The information in the table below is current as of 9/30/2021.

Here are the average salaries by state, taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).


Average MLO Salary (USD)















District of Columbia














































New Hampshire


New Jersey


New Mexico


New York


North Carolina


North Dakota










Puerto Rico


Rhode Island


South Carolina


South Dakota














West Virginia






Note: Actual salary range will vary based on experience and mortgage company.

Does Experience Impact Mortgage Loan Originator Salary?

As a full-time MLO, you’ll find that the more experience you have, the more you stand to earn. With opportunities to negotiate commission, develop your career with certificates and designations, and market your services, you’re able to increase your earning potential.

According to BLS, annual Mortgage Loan Originator salaries are as high as $129,900 and as low as $33,650. The majority of MLO salaries currently range between $45,540 (25th percentile) to $93,490 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $133,850 annually across the United States. The average pay range for a Mortgage Loan Originator varies greatly (by as much as $70,000), suggesting there may be many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location, and years of experience.

Pro tip:

If you’re looking to boost your earning potential after taking your NMLS exam, there are certifications available to Mortgage Loan Originators. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is a great resource that provides extra mortgage education including webinars, certificates, and designations. A certificate or designation through MBA’s School of Mortgage Banking costs just under $3,000. It may also be helpful to you to have a Bachelor’s degree in the Finance field, especially if you plan on advancing in the future.

How Are Mortgage Loan Originators Paid?  

Typically, an MLO’s salary is based on commission, but compensation will vary from office to office and state to state. Pay will also depend on the loan they originate and the percentage they’ve negotiated. Some Mortgage Loan Originators and Mortgage Loan Officers are paid on commission only, which is common for smaller state-licensed mortgage brokers. If an MLO is hired by a bank or larger financial institution, they are often given a base salary as well as commission and benefits. Some brokerages have a limit on the dollar amount an MLO can make from a single loan, and this is to be negotiated alongside the commission fee.

The typical MLO is paid 1% of the loan amount in commission. On a $500,000 loan, a commission of $5,000 is paid to the brokerage, and the MLO will get the commission percentage they have negotiated. For example, if the commission for the MLO is 80%, they will receive $4,000 of the $5,000 brokerage commission.

Finding Mortgage Loan Originator Jobs 

Once you’ve done your Pre-Licensing education (PE), passed your NMLS exam, completed all of your state’s application requirements, have been granted a license, and received a sponsor, the only thing left to do is start your career as a mortgage professional! If you need assistance with landing your first MLO job, National Mortgage Staffing and Mortgage Banking Jobs are great resources to utilize in your job search.

Another way to get your foot in the door is by bringing your resume into different mortgage offices. With low mortgage rates and a hot real estate market, MLOs are in demand, so getting your name out there is a great start. Beginning as a Mortgage Loan Originator Assistant or Loan Processor can also be a good way to gain experience and start working your way up.

All in all, becoming and staying a Mortgage Loan Originator can be a highly lucrative career. The longer you practice, the more chances you have to earn additional income, set your own hours, and negotiate your commission. With the real estate market as hot as it is today, there are many opportunities for MLOs in each state across the country.