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Going from order-taker to difference-maker

National Mortgage Professional
Aug 13, 2007

ABC's Advisor Seminar Series spotlight on: Sue Woodard, vice president of the Mortgage Market GuideMortgagePress.commortgage planning, client needs, wealth planning Sue Woodard is a national sales trainer and home loan originator based in Minneapolis. Sue started on the ground floor of the mortgage business in 1993 as a loan processor and, over the years, worked in a variety of operational roles. But since deciding to originate full time in 1998, she has consistently been a top producer, along with managing a highly motivated team. Sue's profitable business is 100 percent by referral. Sue is an active originator and a highly sought-after industry speaker, trainer and writer, while also hosting her own financial radio show every Sunday morning. She is the vice president of the Mortgage Market Guide (MMG), as well as the lead writer for the Mortgage Market Guide Weekly. Woodard is a member of the Mortgage Association of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Board of Realtors, the Women's Council of Realtors and is on the advisory board for Ellie Mae. Sue Woodard is just one of the featured speakers at American Brokers Conduit's successful nationwide Advisor Seminar Series. Other industry experts who will be presenting at ABC's Advisor Seminar Series throughout the United States are Todd Duncan, Jim McMahan, David Kuiper, Barry Habib and Greg Frost. The Mortgage Press recently sat down with Sue before one of her seminars to get a briefing on what Sue would talk about during her ABC's Advisor Seminar Series presentations. The Mortgage Press: Everyone seems to be talking about mortgage planning, but why do you believe it is important? Sue Woodard: The climate is changing by the day! We can't just want to be better, we have to be better! Just watch, read or listen to any media outlet for a few minutes--you'll hear about the mortgage industry, most specifically related to the recent issues in the sub-prime arena. Brokers need to understand that we have a significant responsibility to our clients, and we must raise the bar on knowledge to help clients meet their long-term objectives. True mortgage planning is based on the foundation of understanding each client's comprehensive financial picture and long-term goals--and perhaps more importantly, their hopes and dreams! With this knowledge and the help of other members of a client's wealth creation team, including those such as a CPA, estate tax attorney, insurance agent, financial planner and investment advisor, a broker can offer the most suitable loan product and help a client fund their retirement needs, plan for a child's college education, reduce taxes and protect assets. This is real mortgage planning--and it adds real value to a client. It offers the broker the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition and better position themselves for long-term success. TMP: What are clients saying about the wealth planning and mortgage planning approach? SW: We are finding that clients are in real need of this collaborative financial advice. Really, clients want to be asked about their goals and dreams and objectives--and be provided with solutions and strategies to help make those a reality! Right now, the very harsh reality in the United States is that many are not financially prepared for retirement or paying for a college education for their children ... or, worse yet, they have maxed out their credit cards and are living paycheck to paycheck. The right mortgage--and let me be clear, the right mortgage is not simply the lowest priced mortgage--utilized in the right situation can have a significant impact on a client's life. TMP: What will you share with the mortgage brokers attending your ABC's Advisor Seminar Series presentation today? SW: My seminar is titled, "Changing Lives with Wealth Creation and Mortgage Planning Strategies." I will be sharing the keys brokers need to jumpstart a client's wealth creation plan, including developing a wealth creation team, identifying a client's financial needs and goals, calculating blended debt rates, preparing for college expenses, determining retirement planning strategies, analyzing estate tax issues and using trusts as a solution, helping financially protect your clients and their families, and understanding the [alternative minimum tax]. And perhaps most importantly, I want each broker to understand how they can apply these principles to their own financial lives. To make sure their own family and finances are protected. TMP: Where can a mortgage broker gain a deeper understanding of mortgage planning in order to be in a better position to help clients and become part of a wealth creation team? SW: First, mortgage brokers can start by attending one of ABC's Advisor Seminars on wealth creation and mortgage planning. ABC's Advisor Seminars are being held throughout the country throughout 2007. Second, brokers can pursue certifications that can increase their financial knowledge and expertise regarding the tax and financial planning implications of various mortgage strategies. Through organizations such as the Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist (CMPS) Institute, brokers can receive ongoing training that integrates sound financial planning advice into the mortgage process. For example, CMPS Institute offers a three-day intensive high-level training course for mortgage brokers called CMPS Live! This training provides educational information geared towards increasing a mortgage brokers' financial knowledge to help them become CMPSs. The CMPS designation is becoming a widely recognized mortgage planning certification in the industry with the curriculum incorporating five essential skill sets related to integrating a client's mortgage, debt and home equity strategy into their overall financial plan. And in the competitive market we are operating in currently, it's more important than ever to show your clients and referral partners that you are a step ahead and a cut above the rest of the pack! TMP: You have been a motivating and successful trainer for many years. Do you have any results to share with our readers on what kind of success mortgage brokers have had following your advice? SW: Zoomerang recently completed an independent survey of brokers that have attended my seminars and become members of MMG, and after at least one year of being a member, they found that as a result of their membership, 91 percent of our members do more loans per year, 93 percent make more money and 85 percent developed more referral partnerships. In fact, 100 percent of survey respondents rated MMG as very valuable for their business--and I'm very proud of that! Having the opportunity to work with ABC at their very successful Advisor Seminar Series in order to help raise a mortgage broker's professional standards and build a more sustainable business is truly a winning partnership. For more information, visit
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