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Building a Team for Growth in 2012

Leif Boyd
Jan 27, 2012

Over the last year, the mortgage industry has gone through numerous changes, most notably compensation reform. Now that the dust has begun to settle, it is time to plan a growth strategy for next year. Building an origination team and using the right tools can have a positive impact on your company’s bottom line. Knowing when to grow Knowing when to grow is just as important as knowing how to grow. It is important to understand the need to invest in your business and spend money in order to make money. By investing resources in new hires, a company can make money over time. Strategic hires allow branch managers and bankers to focus on what they are good at and offload tasks other staffers can handle. Banking industry reform in 2011 created additional processes on the path to getting a loan approved. These processes take time and effort, detracting from new business development. With a staff on-hand, senior management can have the support they need so they can focus on prospecting and building their business. Know the steps Before hiring for the sake of hiring, a manager should develop an outline of the process of closing a loan from beginning to end. Every mortgage banker has a different process that works for them. I detailed a 65-step process and identified which steps I had to do and which steps I could hire others to do. Delegating a portion of the process gave me free time to build more relationships and put more loans in the pipeline. I found that I could hire employees to accomplish 65 percent of the work, and I could keep 35 percent, freeing me up to grow my business. Know who to hire There are two basic philosophies on hiring after you determine what you need. You can hire the best all-around candidate, or you can hire the best person to do certain tasks in your process. I decided to hire a team of three individuals who could complete certain tasks within the process I had developed. These people were each highly skilled, willing to learn and motivated to succeed. I knew that once they were trained and well-versed in their responsibilities, they would thrive and my branch would increase the number of loans closed. Know how to train and manage One of the most important things to remember is that micro-managing will not lead to increased productivity. You should hire a staff that can be trusted and empowered to do their job, knowing they will make mistakes in the process. Ask yourself, “How controlling am I?” The high-touch, high-value tasks should remain with the senior person to mitigate long-term damage, but the other tasks should be delegated to trained staff. Know the reward It is sometimes difficult to remember the old adage, “It takes money to make money,” especially in a time when finances are tight. However, when a loan originator hires staff, their branch will become more productive. This is exactly why the assembly line was started and continues to be an important part of our manufacturing industry today. It allows staff to focus and specialize in a particular area. No one needs to be an expert at everything—they just need to be the best at the tasks they are given. Once I hired and trained my staff, I went from closing three to four loans a month to more than 20 a month. The first assistant I hired now runs the branch I started and is one of the top mortgage bankers within my firm. Had I not realized there would be a reward for spending the money to hire staff, I would still be working long hours, but would not have attained the success I see today. Know the tools Beyond hiring more staff, there are certain tools that can increase productivity, simplify tasks and help realtors and customers to choose one loan originator over another. There are three basic tools that every loan originator should be able to access: Fulfilled marketing support, customer relationship management software and lead generation technology. Fulfilled marketing support My firm creates and sends loan originators all of the marketing materials they request. When an LO asks for materials, our team develops a custom marketing piece and sends out a digital file to the originator. The file can then be printed or e-mailed to prospective and current clients. Customer relationship management Using a quality customer relationship management database can determine the difference between having solid repeat business and losing clients after just one sale. This database allows LOs to track every marketing piece that the client has seen, check on the status of loans and look back at the date each meeting took place. Lead generation technology My firm, American Pacific Mortgage, uses a proprietary lead generation system, APMConnect. This system lets loan originators access relevant data and connects them with appropriate industry partners to develop new leads. Knowing the steps it takes to build a relationship and close a loan, hiring the right team and using the right tools allows loan originators to be more successful. It takes effort to succeed, and having a team to help complete the steps and utilizing the right technology can help a senior manager build toward that success. Leif Boyd is senior vice president of production for American Pacific Mortgage. Since joining American Pacific Mortgage, Leif has taken an active role in overseeing all aspects of mortgage origination, including the oversight of the production department and 114-plus branches. He may be reached by phone at (916) 960-1325 or e-mail [email protected]
Published
Jan 27, 2012
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