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You've heard this line before; and have probably even said it: "It's just stuff. It can be replaced." You've probably said this when something in your house gets broken, a car gets totaled or something of that nature. But, in addition to our everyday lives, I think there is a manner in which this applies to business in the mortgage industry.
Sooner or later, we all face a decision that tests our integrity. Maybe it's an opportunity to make more money at the cost of explicitly violating a law. Or, maybe it's a more subtle ethical violation that, while not illegal, is certainly not something that a good leader would do. Whatever the case may be, we often forego the chance to increase our profits when we make the decision to act on integrity. Why do we do this? Because it's just stuff—it can be replaced.
You know what can't be replaced, though? Our reputations. It can be difficult to get out of a hole when profits are down, but it is nearly impossible to bounce back when we lose trust. If we are seen as non-compliant or unethical in our practices, people won't want to have anything to do with us—no matter what we try to do to make amends.
So, my advice: Protect our reputation at all costs. When the time comes to decide between taking a shortcut to increase short term profits and acting on integrity, go with integrity every time. You can make back the lost profits, but your reputation cannot be replaced.
David Lykken, a 43-year veteran of the mortgage industry, is president of Transformational Mortgage Solutions (TMS), a management consulting firm that provides transformative business strategies to owners and “C-Level” executives via consulting, executive coaching and various communications strategies. He is a frequent guest on FOX Business News and hosts his own weekly podcast called “Lykken On Lending” heard Monday’s at 1:00 p.m. ET at LykkenOnLending.com. David’s phone number is (512) 759-0999 and his e-mail is [email protected].