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Can You "Hear" What Your Clients Want?

Oct 28, 2004

You're Not a Kid AnymoreDave LuczakNational Association of Mortgage Brokers, Pennsylvania Association of Mortgage Brokers, Commonwealth United Mortgage, Regulators, Consumer Advocates At some point in our lives, we have all been told, "You're not a kid anymore." If you are a parent, you have probably said the same to your children. Of course, growing up is signified in different ways, depending on how old you are. At the age of three, for example, maturity means outgrowing diapers. As a young teenager, it means taking on more responsibility. A few years later, you've gained enough responsibility to drive a car and stay out without a curfew. And life goes on ... But what does growing up actually mean, and how does it relate to Mortgage Brokers? When compared to other businesses, the Mortgage Broker industry is still relatively young-analogous to a teenager. And, like any adolescent, the industry has had its free-spirited, I-can-do-no-wrong, I-can-do-anything stage. However, there comes a time when the world expects maturity and responsibility. Society will not tolerate the antics of a child from what it perceives to be a mature adult. When a teenager takes his first job, his employer and co-workers expect him to behave responsibly and carry his weight. If he doesn't, he will be admonished by his boss and disliked by his fellow employees. The teenager must either learn to adapt to his surroundings, or else, find himself without a career. As time passes and responsibilities grow, the teenager must also recognize that his success depends on learning about his profession, networking with colleagues and following industry rules. One of the most important things he can do is to join a union or a professional trade organization, which will provide networking opportunities, business information and protection to help his career. And so it is with the mortgage industry. The "adults"-in this case, regulators and consumer advocates-not only expect responsible behavior from Mortgage Brokers, they require it. They insist that we act responsibly regarding disclosures and fairness to our clients. They demand that we are knowledgeable about the products we sell and expect us to provide a benefit to the customer, instead of simply filling our pockets with money. So, what's a budding broker to do? Just like that maturing teenager who must learn to adapt to adult expectations, brokers must also adjust to the changes around them. This is most effectively accomplished by becoming proactive: Increase your knowledge of the laws governing your chosen industry. Utilize the training offered by your lenders and account executives to improve your knowledge of the products available in the marketplace. Practice uncompromising ethics and quality control, and become actively involved with your industry's trade organizations. The National Association of Mortgage Brokers maintains a library of informational and educational resources. More importantly, it is the only organization wholly dedicated to the protection of the Mortgage Broker industry. By monitoring legislative activity nationwide, NAMB is proactive in heading off unreasonable demands on your business. Legislation does not simply appear out of nowhere. To the contrary, it is drafted in direct response to consumer groups and enforcement agencies. In addition, most legislation is highly politicized. When drafting proposals, politicians are essentially trying to please the majority of their constituents and protect the general public at the same time. It is, in short, a simple numbers game involving people, votes and money. Your membership and active involvement in NAMB provides the figures needed to effectively protect the mortgage industry. Remember, there is safety in numbers. Just like a maturing teenager, the mortgage industry must face and accept the responsibilities expected of it. Increasing your professional knowledge and becoming an active part of your industry's trade association is not merely the right thing to do, it is the adult thing to do. Remember, you are not a kid anymore. Dave Luczak is an account executive with Commonwealth United Mortgage and Western Region Director for the Pennsylvania Association of Mortgage Brokers. He may be reached by phone at (412) 823-1565, by fax at (412) 823-6808 or e-mail [email protected].
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