Commercial Loans: What Works, What Doesn't: Got excellent credit, property, occupancy and income history? Great!--Now prove it!

Commercial Loans: What Works, What Doesn't: Got excellent credit, property, occupancy and income history? Great!--Now prove it!

October 19, 2001

How to Recruit and Retain the Best OriginatorsDaryl Wizelmanrecruitment, retention, loan originators
As with many other businesses today, the key to the success of
any mortgage lender stems from the quality of employees that are
hired. This especially holds true with loan originatorsthose on the
front line, working directly with customers. But these days, how do
you build and maintain the best team possible for company
With the evolution of technology in the mortgage industry, it's
easy to lose sight of the importance of high-quality loan
originators and employees. Granted, technology does make office
matters more efficient, but it will only support your originator's
effortsnot replace what a top-notch loan originator can offer.
Effective Recruiting Strategies
Keep in mind, fierce competition among lenders is making it more
difficult to recruit and retain high-quality loan originators. When
a reputable loan originator looks to make a job change in the
industry, there are plenty of suitors knocking at their door.
However, anyone can (and will) throw money at them to bring them
aboard. Below, we'll explore some other strategies to put your
company on top of the candidate's list.
Sell Your Company
Experienced loan originators look for a high degree of support from
lenders, so emphasize what you have to offer. Some of these
services include loan opening, processing, underwriting, secondary
marketing, loan document preparation or funding, and many of these
services can be found in each branch office. Decentralizing the
loan process is a big key to attracting and retaining loan
It can be difficult to convey every positive attribute of your
company in one interview, so it is beneficial to invite any
potential candidates back to meet and interview other loan
originators, staff members and managers. This will allow them
access to first-hand experience and insight into how your company
is managed.
Highlight the Products You Offer
Whether conventional or sub-prime markets, present in detail what
products your company has to offer, and explain how new recruits
are educated and encouraged to excel.
Reputation, Reputation, Reputation
For the most part, recruiting is based upon the quality and
quantity of the current staff, and the product and pricing
provided. But don't overlook reputation. Assess the reputation your
company has in the broker communitya large portion of it hinges on
your current loan originator's and employees job satisfaction.
But in the end, it also comes down to likeability, or the
age-old question, "Does the candidate like me?" If so, you are that
much closer to bringing them on board.
Retaining the Superstars
Once you've recruited your candidate of choice, you must follow
through on your original promises and build trust in order to
retain them. In my experience, these are the most critical
ingredients in loan officer retention:
1. Honesty, Integrity and Loyalty
At United Pacific
Mortgage, we expect our loan originator's to be responsive,
knowledgeable and caring when it comes to dealing with clients.
Thus senior management must also exhibit these attributes towards
every employee. Particularly, loan originators perform at their
best after they've built strong relationships, whether with
customers, real estate agents, loan processing staff or
2. Accessibility to Management and Resources
Managers and executives must be approachable and accessible, both
physically and personally. Schedule regular staff meetings and make
certain that all lines of communication are open, in order to
encourage trust and an ongoing exchange of ideas. A well-maintained
Web site, e-mail channels and Intranet with online forms, flyers
and other valuable information, provide convenience and assure loan
originators that they are "in the loop," and can quickly find what
they need, when they need it.
3. Team Environment
Make sure that you clearly communicate your mission statement and
vision for the future. This is important for recruitment and
retention efforts. Any quality loan originator will want and need
to know how they are expected to support these company objectives.
Individuals work harder and more efficiently as a team when
everyone understands and accepts the company's mission.
4. Training
Keep updated with the ever-changing mortgage industry by providing
ongoing training and coaching for loan originators. Maintain an
open dialogue to ensure you're meeting their training needs.
5. Recognition
Once again, recognition is extremely important. It requires more
than an annual banquet or an occasional memo. If you don't already
have one, create a comprehensive recognition plan and carry it out
consistentlyperhaps you can offer a vacation to reward
top-producing loan originators each year, or maybe can institute a
benefits program for those who reach certain goals. Whatever the
end result, make sure you don't overlook the day-to-day recognition
that's so important for retaining and encouraging top-notch staff.
Take that extra step to acknowledge outstanding performance when
you see it, whether it's a simple phone call, quick e-mail or
verbal recognition.
You can automate the loan process as much as possible, but
without a solid team of loan originators, you cannot expect to see
your company grow and flourish. Employing the strategies I
mentioned above will help put you on the road to recruiting and
retaining high-quality loan originators.
Daryl Wizelman is president of United Pacific
Mortgage. He may be reached by phone at (800) 400-7166, ext
226, or e-mail