All individuals or groups that support the strategic growth of the production side of the mortgage banking industry must make an effort, daily, to put themselves in the shoes of the individuals where it all starts in this business--the originator. Sure, we can all point to facets of the business that exist prior to the originator’s effort--and by no means am I diminishing that value, but volume drives the bottom line and the originator drives the volume. In the Hammerhouse LLC 2012 Core Mortgage Lending Components Survey, we received responses that inform how an originator or leader of originators feels about six key topics that we refer to as “The Six Core Components” (Leadership, Culture, Business, Operations, Technology and Geography) in our industry. A snapshot of the results included:
Key positive responses to survey questions
►89 percent believe that compensation at their firm is “fair and compliant”
►89 percent believe their firm’s pricing is “consistent” and “competitive”
►88 percent believe their firm consistently closes loans “on time”
►88 percent believe the relationship is “excellent” or “acceptable” between originators, managers and leaders
►85 percent believe that the reputation of their firm is “outstanding” or “good”
Key responses indicating room for improvement
►32 percent of professionals surveyed believe that their firm’s technology “needs an upgrade,” is “inadequate” or “hurts my business”
►28 percent of professionals surveyed believe that internal communications are “inconsistent,” “muddled,” “left open for individual interpretation” or essentially non-existent
►24 percent believe their firm leader’s vision is “unclear,”“illogical,” “disconnected” or essentially non-existent
►24 percent believe that originators have “insignificant,” “very little” or “no” impact on operations at their firms.
The questions and subsequent answers related in the survey are vitally important to any self-evaluation. However, when an originator is serious about evaluating their goals and is committed to an active role in their personal success there is one vital question missing: Who Are You?
“Evolution is a constant is this industry.”
Think about this for a moment. When was the last time you really looked beyond some of the obvious questions related to the business and considered the real foundation for any possible success … YOU? On a recent consulting call, I was told by an originator that although he had a real desire to grow his business and had specific goals (more like outcomes … volume related, not strategy), he felt most companies were pretty homogenous today. He said he felt that there was really nothing special that could be added to his tools and resources that would create value for him or his referral partners. As he committed to additional time consulting we uncovered--that although his current employer’s business model was really geared towards Agent referral partners, he had been unsuccessful breaking into that referral base. Moreover he admitted openly that he really didn’t “enjoy knocking on agent’s doors.” When we dug into WHY, the originator said the reason he got into the business was due to a family friend that happened to be a builder and introduced him to the industry. He enjoyed working with builders, had builder contacts, and felt comfortable rubbing elbows with the builder community. He LIKED it … this motivated him. All that said, he had settled for a business model whose Core Components did not match WHO he is.
As an advocate for the business and for those “on the street” two things come to mind as we consider this level of evaluation.
►If you are a recruiter (external or Internal) of producers or a manager recruiting producers in this business, you owe it to the originators you are recruiting to think beyond the stats. Without the dedication and accountability that comes with truly getting to know WHO your “candidates” are, you will never be able to truly IMPACT their goals, their business, and their lives.
►If you are an originator, ask yourself if you have a trusted partner that knows WHO you are and can objectively consult with you on key topics that support your overall goals. This could be a professional coach or recruiter that is willing to invest the time necessary in a process of discovery with you and not simply a transactional conversation resulting in the “possibility” of an employment changing event.
Evolution is a constant is this industry. Markets change, regulations change and technology changes. However, through it all, most mortgage companies and/or banks (depositories) will want you to be part of their team simply because of your production numbers. That which defines you--that makes up the core of WHO YOU ARE is most likely a secondary consideration. Armed with a clear understanding of WHO YOU ARE, and a trusted consulting partner that is committed to adding value to your business, you can create consistency and predictability in an ever evolving business climate.
Eric Levin is a managing partner at Hammerhouse LLC, an expanding national recruiting and strategic growth firm for the financial services industry with mortgage sales and leadership placement at its core. He may be reached by phone at (828) 358-0053 or e-mail email@example.com.