Jeff Van Note is a leading financial expert in the New York area, with over a decade of experience in the mortgage industry. He prides himself on getting to the closing table within 30 days, as well as driving new business opportunities via innovative services. Van Note is also a recognized leader in the realm of customer service.
Covering a variety of topics, Van Note was keen to shed some light on common issues that could affect businesses, as well ways to drive business in a difficult economy. Despite his youth, Van Note’s experience has been varied and has made him a top-earner for a good portion of his career in the mortgage industry. We started with recruiting obstacles and continued to cover a multitude of topics over the course of our Q & A.
Van Note on recruiting …
“This is a relationship business. If anyone is going to be recruiting someone, it should be a sales manager, someone who can manage you day to day. You need someone who is going to be in the trenches with you. It’s important not to be promised the world because you’re not going to deliver on it. If you’re selling your company to someone, you shouldn’t be out there, that means you’re a salesman, not someone to be trusted to hire anyone or recruit anyone. Recruiters are worthless.”
Making a comparison to New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Van Note states that: “You’re not going to send the bat boy to recruit a talent like that. You need to send someone who’s in charge of scouting, someone high up in the company.”
“I’m looking for people who know the business, can open doors and meet expectations. I think the people who recruit are desperate. You can’t just go out and recruit,” Van Note said. “You need to hand-pick who you want. Everyone has a different system, but this is what works for me. For me, it’s always been about my gut feeling. You need to see a sales side and see the operations side. You need to see how the operation works, top to bottom, depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re closing three deals a month, you’re not a tremendous asset to the company. You want someone who’s worth their weight in gold.”
What does Van Note look for?
Some of the more tangible aspects of what recruiters or those looking to hire talent are looking for, according to Van Note, include: “Operations. That’s number one. Without operations, you cannot be a top originator. You could originate $100 million a year, but without the products and the bank behind you, what good is it?”
On large banks vs. small banks …
“I think the larger the company is, the more important it is to have infrastructure in place. Small banks can have a niche, but they’re less likely to take on a huge loan,” Van Note said. “Big banks have the edge because they have more outlets. More overhead, more corporate mentality. To be honest, I’d rather work with a smaller bank that has a more personal mentality.”
The difference between a successful loan officer and a failure …
“They make excuses. If the first thing they say is ‘my rate’s too high,’ I know they’re a bad salesman. I can sell to anyone, at any rate,” Van Note said. “You’re not in the rates business, that’s the bank’s deal. If the bank is charging us 10 percent, that’s the rate. Most of the time, everyone makes excuses. You need to weed out who is full of it and who has an issue to work out. It all comes down to working harder. You need to have a drive from within. If someone has it, you can work with them. I think that we’re at a time where people with a great work ethic who are willing to learn and work within our system could have a tremendous opportunity for entry.”
Van Note’s opinions on recruiting and the principles behind selling may seem like something out of “Glengarry Glen Ross,” but there’s no denying that he’s a top figure in the mortgage industry. In future installments, Jeff Van Note will answer more questions regarding topics in the mortgage industry, while also offering personal approaches to common issues.