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The challenge to change

Dec 27, 2007

How to lock up your past borrowers for repeat transactionsScott Tuckerleads, past borrower, automated systems, past borrower retention system While most are now looking for something else to do for a living, those serious about staying in the mortgage business are again thinking hard about what they can do to make it possible to stay. Many of those determined to stay in the business have decided to stay because they've seen all this before and know we're nearing the bottom and soon there will be another move upward. Besides, all the folks who weren't serious about this business have already left. That started last spring, and the last few months of credit-market wobbliness put a good scare into them. So, now that all the "non-hackers," used car guys and refi boomers have left the business, let's talk candidly about smart things you can do to keep the money coming in. Well, let's at least talk about one of them. I know, I know; everyone wants leads. Folks can never get enough leads. But you know what's better than a fresh, new lead? A past borrower is better. You are most likely currently ignoring yours. It's not your fault, because that's what most loan officers and brokers do. But is it smart? Is it something you should be doing--something you can afford to keep neglecting in this challenging market? It costs a lot to get a new borrower. But it costs very little to stay in touch with automated systems and a past borrower retention system. What's that? Well, an effective past borrower retention system has the following features: 1. Periodic "just calling to see how you're doing" voicemail messages left on your past borrowers' voicemail/answering machines in your voice No, I do not mean that you have to spend all day Saturday calling all of your past borrowers. This is done for you automatically by a voice-broadcast system that leaves messages only on voicemails and answering machines. You record one message, and then they're delivered for you, right onto their voicemail! Hundreds are sent all at once. Your past borrowers think you called and left them a message just to check in and see how they're doing! 2. Periodic personalized picture postcards from you Just take a picture any old time with your digital camera, whether it's with your dog, playing with your kids or at dinner with your wife. It doesn't matter what the picture is, but it should be a part of your private life that your borrowers wouldn't normally see. This picture gets made into a picture postcard, you write a little message once and it gets mailed to all your past borrowers the very next day. 3. Periodic hardcover books on financial topics Nope, you don't do these one by one either, and you don't pay full price for these books. You buy them for 10 cents on the dollar from a remainder house, have them shipped for you in personal-looking padded envelopes by your mailing house and have your very own handwriting font used to do the addressing and write a little note that goes inside the envelope. Your past borrowers come away thinking that you shop for them at Barnes & Noble! This is a very high-impact technique. What each of these things does is get past borrowers chasing you on the phone to say "thanks," say "hi" and call to see how you are doing. Some will call and say, "I've been meaning to ask you about ... " and ask you for a new loan. But even if a customer is only calling to thank you for the book, pitch him on refinancing, buying a bigger house or a second house, referring a friend to you or whatever else is appropriate for his situation. These are only three of the very easy and automated things you can do to your past borrower list. Just keeping in touch, saying "hi" and sending little gifts let them know that, yes, you're still in business and that you are the guy where you live that does what you do! Morning, noon and night, large brokerages and lending firms are trying to steal your past borrowers like foxes in the henhouse. You must put a fence around your property and keep the hens from being snatched right out from under your nose. By using this past borrower retention system, not only do you keep past borrowers from being stolen from you, but you make money on the whole thing, as well. A nurtured past borrower list can be counted on for a few refis per month, no matter what the rates are (and a couple referrals a month, too). Done right, you make far, far more than you spend. In fact, I most often see a return on investment of $100 for every $1 spent! Getting new borrowers is fine, but keeping past borrowers is not only easier, but much, much more profitable! Scott Tucker is a veteran Mortgage Broker and loan officer concentrating in sub-prime mortgages. He may be reached at [email protected] or through his company's Web site at
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