Two days after receiving my mortgage license, I stepped off a plane in D.C. to attend the 2013 NAMB Annual Legislative & Regulatory Conference in March. To this point, my experience in finance consisted of purchasing a home in 2007, working at a bank right out of college and passing my licensing exams.
How did one with so little exposure to the mortgage broker business end up in D.C. at a national conference? My husband and I were relocating to Billings, Mont. for his work. I commenced house hunting and called the home loan company that was listed first on my Google search. The broker and I ended up talking for three hours at the first appointment. I sent her my resume to see if she knew of any career opportunities. Her response was, “Have you ever thought about being a loan originator?” and my honest answer was, “No.”
That was last December. We never found a house, but I plunged headfirst into the world of the mortgage broker. When I got to the NAMB Legislative Conference D.C., it was apparent to me that I would be one of the youngest attendees at the age of 29.
During the conference, I learned the industry was still licking its wounds from the financial meltdown; how new regulations were affecting companies like my own employer; and I learned how rules and regulations that were coming down the pipeline could even further damage the mortgage industry which I was now part of. The Dodd-Frank Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) were no longer answers to multiple choice test questions, but now were regulation hurdles to my future success.
By far, the most frequent question I received was usually why I decided to begin a career in origination at a tumultuous time like this in the industry, at my age and in the state of Montana. Truth be told, I didn’t have an answer then, a mere 48 hours after being licensed. Since then, I have wrapped up the Wyoming state test, the Uniform State Test and now have a little over a month of industry experience under my belt in originating. My perspective on the economy, the ways of lending and mortgages themselves have been crafted.
Today’s young people are driven. One can blame it on energy drinks or designer coffee, but we are. We want to be in control of our income and require intellectual stimulation on a daily basis. When I finished up grad school, there was a moment where I wasn’t sure what to do with a master’s degree in consumer psychology aside from an ad agency or in-house marketing department. Since 2009, each origination has a little psychology built into it while calming the fears of customers. With today’s mortgage application turned into an investigation into the life of each applicant, it’s easy to build Consumer Behavior 422 into each day.
I am not the only member of Generation Y walking the halls of Division Mortgage Group (NMLS Entity #140614). I am one of three, in fact, that Tavell Peete, CRMS, broker/owner of Division Mortgage Group, brought on within a month. She attributes it to the perfect storm between a flexible schedule, challenging industry and the ability to earn as much as you desire (i.e. commission-based comp plans).
“Hiring young people ensures the broker’s existence,” said Peete. “They bring new ideas and a fresh perspective to the industry. On the flip side, we, as brokers, can offer all of the perks the younger generation is looking for, such as work-life balance and upward mobility.”
With 63 percent of my office under the age of 33, you can bet the office is high-energy and tech savvy with healthy competition among originators. The mortgage industry doesn’t have the sexy allure of ad agencies and fashion icons, but for someone like me with advanced degrees plus professional experience in marketing and advertising, it requires all of the skills I’ve been striving to use. Therefore, my approach to the market is probably very different from someone with 20 years on their resume.
“Young people view the mortgage industry as being in repair,” explained Peete. “They are aware of the meltdown and see an industry they can improve upon. It’s a chance to make a difference in how one of the biggest financial transactions takes place.”
I think my motivation and approach are indicative of my generation. I incorporate technology into everything. I aim to be responsive and available to customers outside of the normal office structure. I headed out to D.C. to understand how decisions being made on Capitol Hill trickle down to every customer and loan originator, even out here in Montana.
My ambitions go far beyond the standard nine to five workday, but into making the brokerage business beneficial to the customer and subsequently successful, a sentiment echoed by all of my peers thus far. It may be interesting for the wise and the new to share space for a time. We respect what the industry has gone through and aim to learn from the unfortunate events to create a positive lending environment for the next wave of homeowners.
Tara R. Nygaard, MA is a loan originator with Division Mortgage Group (NMLS #140614) and a member of NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals. She may be reached by phone at (406) 690-0098 or e-mail email@example.com.