Fun and games (and profits too) - Advice for the educated mortgage brokerArt "Ski" Swiatkowski commercial lending, education
During the time I served as manager of business development for
a small national commercial wholesale lender, I came to realize
several things about residential mortgage brokers namely, that most
of them were unaware of the great potential that exists with small
commercial lending. Residential brokers were either too busy with
residential business that commercial lending never crossed their
radar screen, or they were so intimidated by the commercial lending
mystique that they pretended those deals weren't worth the effort.
You might say that small commercial lending was an unintentional
industry secret, and those few residential brokers who were aware
of this untapped market didn't know how to get started.
These conditions are a function of a lack of education, and it
is important for residential mortgage brokers to become educated
about the benefits of venturing into the commercial arena. They
must also discover how to find the right deals and lenders, submit
commercial loan packages correctly, and learn how to properly
counsel their clients.
Based on this line of thinking, InterBay Funding LLC made a
strategic decision earlier this year to become an education
advocate for the mortgage community. We wanted to wake up
residential brokers to the opportunities in small commercial
lending. Additionally, we wanted to assist the National Association of Mortgage
Brokers in stressing the importance of education as the means
to broker survival in the often-turbulent mortgage industry. This
initiative gave birth to two very exciting educational tools for
brokers. The first is a four-hour accredited course, co-developed
with NAMB. The second is a commercial lending board game that's
right, a board game.
The accredited course titled "Small Commercial Lending for the
Residential Mortgage Broker" debuted at the Commercial Symposium
held in conjunction with the Illinois Association of Mortgage
Brokers 14th Annual Fall Conference and Exhibitor Marketplace at
the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Ill. The course is intended
to create a simple starting point for entry into the commercial
arena. It is also a primer for the more advanced Commercial I and
Commercial II courses that are already part of NAMB's educational
In addition to explaining the differences between residential
and commercial lending, "Small Commercial Lending for the
Residential Mortgage Broker" will offer practical information such
as how to interview a lender, how to screen prospective borrowers
and teach what kind of prospects to look for. The course will also
be available to NAMB's state affiliates, for delivery to their
membership. Check with your state association to find out when the
course will be offered in your area.
The board game, which was introduced at the NAMB 2003 Annual
Convention and Showcase in Baltimore, is appropriately named "The
Small Commercial Real Estate Lending Game." The brainchild of
marketing guru Cecilia Flexer, this game is modeled after another
very famous real estate board game the begins with an "M." You know
the one I'm talking about. If you don't, you should go straight to
jail, without passing "Go" and not collecting $200.
Thanks in large part to InterBay's Paul Visokey, who
painstakingly put together actionable rules for "The Small
Commercial Real Estate Lending Game," this game is fully functional
and will teach you about originating small commercial and
income-producing property deals through real transaction scenarios.
If you want a fun way to find out about this growing segment of the
mortgage business, then this is it. In fact, some mortgage brokers
have started using the game to teach their loan officers about
small commercial deals. To obtain a copy of the game, log on to www.namb.org and click on the
"Education" and "Products" links.
As interest rates begin to rise, the pool of potential borrowers
will begin to shrink. This will certainly affect broker income
levels. In fact, if this contraction is severe enough, some brokers
and loan officers will not survive, which can be attributed to a
lack of knowledge. It is unfortunate that more mortgage brokers
don't take a proactive approach to their own education and that of
their employees, especially when education can have a positive
impact on loan production.
Whether learning new sales and marketing techniques, how to work
new market segments or how to use new products, applied knowledge
can often mean the difference between success and failure.
The "Small Commercial Lending for Residential Brokers" course
and "The Small Commercial Real Estate Lending Game" are just two of
the many educational tools available to the broker community. But
the individual broker or loan officer must first make a personal
commitment to their education, in order for these tools to be
useful. I sincerely hope that those of you who are reading this
article make that commitment. Explore your options and make a plan
that will help to keep you in the money, and then take action. This
is the key to making success happen.
Art "Ski" Swiatkowski is director of training of InterBay Funding LLC. He may be
reached by phone at (215) 283-4520 or by e-mail at email@example.com.