Questions to consider when contemplating a branch partnershipJohn Knowltonincrease profits, reducing administrative costs, obtaining licensing For many Mortgage Brokers, a branch partnership can be an extremely rewarding and profitable way to succeed in today's mortgage industry. There are many benefits to branch partnership programs, which help Mortgage Brokers increase profits by reducing administrative costs, obtaining licensing, and granting access to numerous lenders and programs. However, not fully researching the options you have when choosing a partner can be detrimental to your business. Make sure you answer some of the following questions when you're choosing a business partner: Do you have a banking division? With some of the recent changes we have had in this industry, and with even more on the horizon, it is very important to have the ability to close loans with your own company, as well as the freedom to broker them when necessary. There isn't one lender out there that can do everything you need, so having access to several is crucial. However, if you can do the majority of your business with your own company, it will result in better loans for you and your clients. What type of programs and how many different programs do you offer? The amount of programs and products offered will have a direct impact on your pocketbook. Products and programs such as Federal Housing Administration/Veterans Affairs, reverse mortgages, construction and commercial will add to your list of specialties, thus allowing for more business. Do you have experienced support staff to help with administrative functions? One of the primary benefits of partnering with another mortgage firm is to reduce time and cost spent on administrative functions, such as compliance, human resources, information technology, marketing, payroll and processing, giving you the ability to focus on doing what you do bestclosing loans. The more administrative support available to you from your partner, the more effective you will be in reaching your goals. How can you help me attract top producing loan officers? In addition to the benefits mentioned above, you will want to know if a company can offer you and your employees certain benefits, such as health/dental care, disability, flexible spending and 401k. The combination of all these benefits will be a very useful tool in recruiting productive employees. What are your compliance policies? Compliance can cover everything from licensing, background checks, file review and closed loan audits. When you partner with a company, you will become one of many branches. It is extremely important that the company you work for is taking the necessary steps to be sure every loan is being done within the rules and guidelines we have in this industry. These are just a few of the questions you need to consider when looking at branch partnership. If at all possible, go to the company headquarters and meet with some of the key personnel. In addition, make a call or two to some of the existing branches to get their perspectives. Be sure to do your research—you need to find a partner that is a good fit for your individual situation. John Knowlton is president of First Choice Mortgage. He may be reached at (262) 513-9853 or e-mail [email protected].
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