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National Mortgage Professional
Aug 17, 2008

Serving a real estate office, bank or builder? Your job is differentDave Hershmanloan officer, career path, in-house, loan originators, builder rep If you peruse training for the mortgage industry, you would think that every originator had the same task in front of them. Obviously, this is not so, and one of the best examples of this differentiation comes from studying those who are "in-house" loan officers, servicing banks, builders or real estate companies. If you currently occupy this space, you certainly know what I am talking about. My first job was to service three real estate offices for a mortgage company that was owned by a real estate company. I went on to manage sales forces in this segment of the industry. One of the stops on my career path was a national bank. So certainly, I recognize this difference. How is this job different? For one thing, it takes a different person to thrive in an in-house environment. All too often, managers try to hire "good" loan officers that do not fit the mold of the in-house originator. Why? Well, let me give you a few examples. Many times, a loan officer serving an office or a builder site must have office hours. And these hours must coincide with the times that the target most needs their services. Many originators are free-spirited salespeople, and one of the things they love the most is the flexibility and ability to set their own hours. In addition, many loan officers are used to choosing their targets. Don't like a certain agent? Just fire them. Now they are in the same family. It is hard to fire your children or brother. In short, this person must like belonging to a team and their personality must fit the team. I have had loan officers fail in one real estate office and thrive in another. Do not underestimate the fit. And the most important part of the fit is the manager of the office or the sales agent on the site. This is a relationship business, and the relationships you will develop inside will be paramount to success. Service delivery is also different when you are inside. It is said that bad news travels 100 times faster than good news in an office, not that all loan officers are not supposed to be great service providers. And it is not as if those who are in-house do not have an advantage with regard to easier access to their targets which facilitates communication. But when an "outside" loan officer has a real service issuethey can virtually disappear (authors note: certainly not recommended). For an in-house loan officer, there is nowhere to hide. In addition, it is said that agents and other targets hold their own companies to a higher standard. I cannot believe how many times I have heard the phrase: "It is like I am putting my name on the line twice." So, the question is: When something goes wrong (and this will eventually happen), how do you react? If you are not a leader under crisis, this will show much more vividly when you are in-house because your targets will see you under fire. Builder reps have an even more unique challenge. It may be six to eight months from loan application to closing. That is a lot of time in which to deliver service. It is also a great deal of time in which the client can be shopping or being inundated with calls, e-mails and letters from outside loan officers. If it seems that all I am giving you is bad news, that is not the case. Many loan officers like being part of a team, and certainly having first-hand access to targets of which other loan officers can only dream of. The one thing to remember is that this access comes with great responsibility. Your targets are in business to make money. They all have goals. There are plenty of outside loan officers who are willing to help them make more money. So my question is: How are you doing that? Good service must be a given. To really succeed, they must know they have an expert at their disposal. If you don't know what being an expert in the mortgage business really means, e-mail me at [email protected] for a copy of another article I wrote on this topic. Why would they want to refer their clients to anything short of an expert? But being an expert is more than just knowing how to close loans. You need to be an expert that will help them make more money. That may mean many different things in many different situationsfrom training to lead generation. You need to ask yourself: Are you sitting around waiting for referrals to come to you, or are you proactively partnering with your targets so that you are a significant part of the process? Even more importantly, do you see the big picture? What is that? The big picture is actually the sphere of the office, site or company. When you open your eyes and see this sphere, you will see opportunities that you could not believe existed. Dave Hershman is a top speaker and leading author in the mortgage industry with seven booksincluding two best sellers for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. He also delivers his targeted "Joint Venture/In-House Loan Officer Training" for the industry. For more information, call (800) 581-5678 or e-mail [email protected].
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