We have heard many reasons over the last couple of years of why the mortgage broker would not and should not survive. Yet today, it is quite apparent that the naysayers missed one key factor that will not only ensure the mortgage broker’s current survival, but a factor that will also allow the mortgage broker to survive in the future: They are resilient … the quintessential entrepreneurs whose shoulders this industry was built upon.
Most brokers are small business owners who work closely with real estate agents, builders and developers in order to remain connected to and active in their local community. They are in tune with local economic and market activity. Brokers also recognize that the key to their success is measured in meeting and exceeding their customers’ expectations through a clear understanding of their customers’ financial situations and goals.
Although many, including the President himself, have seemingly levied the majority of the blame for our industry’s challenges on the broker, it is pretty clear to most that this is an unreasonable accusation. As is the case in most situations of this magnitude, there is rarely one person or entity that should sustain the brunt of the responsibility and continuing to point fingers proves unproductive and irrelevant.
Instead, we need to focus our efforts on rebuilding trust and credibility within our industry for the future. Although new regulations imposed on the industry initially created fear and confusion for the mortgage broker community, these regulations also helped to “separate the wheat from the chaff” as they say. In other words, the brokers who are still standing and thriving today have worked diligently to adapt to the new regulatory environment by making necessary changes to their business model and educating their team and customers.
Today’s new breed of broker clearly understands the relationship between happy and satisfied customers and repeat and referral customers, which are the cornerstone of their business model. They are also aware that, although mortgage originations are down from a few years ago, there are currently fewer competitors and the opportunity to capture incremental market share and “wallet” share is very good. Because of this, brokers are extremely selective about and loyal to the lenders they choose to partner with.
With the focus on building a sustainable business model through repeat and referral business, it is imperative for brokers to find a lender that can provide all of the tools necessary to help them succeed. The successful mortgage brokers I have met identify these attributes as the key criteria and characteristics of an ideal lender partner: A competitive selection of loan programs with minimal overlays, a technology and operational platform that is customer-centric (clear, consistent communication and service that exceeds expectations) and empowers the broker, and competitive pricing.
Today’s broker is looking for a lender partner who they can trust and who can provide them with the tools and support needed to help them take care of their customers and ultimately succeed. Through their perseverance, hard work and desire to succeed, these brokers are survivors and can truly be recognized as the best of breed today. Most importantly, these brokers reflect the future of our industry.
Al Crisanty is vice president of national wholesale production for 360 Mortgage Group and is responsible for overseeing territory sales managers as the company seeks to expand operations to all 50 states. Al has accumulated more than 25 years of management and leadership experience in the mortgage industry, holding positions in secondary marketing, retail, wholesale and correspondent lending. Formerly the national wholesale director for Caliber Funding, Al was responsible for the development and expansion of Caliber’s wholesale production channel. Additionally, Al served as executive vice president of national production for American Home Mortgage, successfully transitioning the 500-member production team from Capital Commerce Mortgage Company after its closure. Al may be reached by phone at (916) 761-1624 or e-mail [email protected]