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Slow Down, Take a Deep Breath and Execute

Al Crisanty
Mar 19, 2013

We are all extremely busy. But in our busyness, we must remember to do all the little things that differentiate the best from the rest. Whether it is in our interactions with co-workers or our customers, being busy is no excuse for failing to live up to the highest possible standards. Busyness does not justify being short with people or taking shortcuts in our work. Professionals always give their best. I recently read a new survey of loan officers that was conducted by the highly-regarded mortgage industry recruiting firm Hammerhouse LLC. The survey asked several hundred loan officers to rate their firms on six core business components: Leadership, Culture, Business, Operations, Technology and Geography. I asked Drew Waterhouse, managing partner at Hammerhouse what his primary goal was for the survey. “No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important.” —Mary Kay Ash “We wanted to take a snap shot in time regarding general satisfaction levels of loan officers with their firms—what’s going well and what needs improvement,” said Waterhouse. The results of the survey demonstrate that despite this being an incredibly busy time for lenders and loan officers, there is a widespread satisfaction among loan officers regarding their firms’ performance. A few positive findings of the survey included: ►91 percent of loan officers believe they were “born to do” or “love” their job ►89 percent of loan officers rated their firms highly on compensation, meeting service standards and pricing ►85 percent of loan officers rated their firm’s reputation as “excellent or “good” These results say to me that many experienced loan officers and capable firms have found each other and are working hard to get the current job done—closing high volumes of primarily refinance business. But my concern comes from the survey answers that indicate room for improvement: ►32 percent of loan officers surveyed believe that their firm’s technology “needs an upgrade,” is “inadequate,” or “hurts my business” ►28 percent of loan officers rated their firm’s communication as being poor ►26 percent of loan officers were critical of their firm’s professional development efforts ►24 percent of loan officers believed that their leader’s vision and acceptance of loan officer input were areas of weakness These areas for targeted improvement: Technology, Communication, Professional Development, Vision and Inclusive Culture are all key ingredients of long-term business success. When things are busy, it is easy to brush aside these areas with excuses that often resemble: “We have to prioritize our activities given our workload. We can always improve our (insert any core business component being short-changed) later when things slow down.” The problem is that repetition creates habits, and habits are hard to break. For example, firms which are slow to integrate new technology now may accept the status quo and eventually overlook the need to do so in the future, and will likely remain at a significant competitive disadvantage. Similarly, lending firms that have a culture that fails to value loan officer input now, will struggle to change perceptions, improve morale, and retain top talent in the future. My advice is simple, slow down, take a deep breath and focus your resources and efforts on leveraging your core competencies in order to effectively execute your business strategy. Your team will be inspired by it, your customers will appreciate it and these changes aren’t just inevitable, but absolutely necessary for long-term success in the highly service-oriented, purchase market that will dominate our industry in the not too distant future. Al Crisanty is vice president of national wholesale production for 360 Mortgage Group and is responsible for overseeing regional sales managers as the company seeks to expand operations to all 50 states. 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. Al may be reached by phone at (916) 761-1624 or e-mail [email protected]  
Published
Mar 19, 2013
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