So we’re finally here! It’s already 2014, the biggest year of regulatory changes the residential mortgage industry has seen to date. Interestingly enough, the regulatory changes may not place the level of burden the media has portrayed on our industry. The big question is what the housing market will look like after applying this new regulation, combined with a significant reduction in origination volume during a job market recovery. I’m not going to get into statistics or regulatory analytics, but simply focus on the business formula you need heading into the future of the new mortgage industry. Here are a few key items and bullet points to focus on when building your strategic plan for 2014 as a mortgage professional.
You must be aware of your surroundings and have long-term, career-minded objectives. You must balance your sales and marketing with regulation education and how that will impact originations. Doing this will help you close more loans. No more working through the motions of a job title or piggy-backing on others. Pay attention! You must understand the analytics of the industry and regulations we face, as well as the position you are in to prepare for change. Self-brand your business, image and team. Be nimble if necessary and pay attention to changes in your surroundings and don’t let any sales pitch develop ignorance. Do your own research and follow the data and patterns to help predictions and establishing a clear vision.
Don’t blame the market or rising interest rates for any lack of production. Be proactive rather than reactive. Only compare your success to the person in the mirror and no one else. Set realistic goals around where you are and where you want to be. Don’t surround yourself with any naysayers or those that bring a negative vibe, instead, surround yourself with those who can motivate and inspire you. It doesn’t matter how far volume drops in the media or for someone else. There are thousands of people in your local market buying homes each and every month regardless of interest rate or economic volatility. The question is what percentage of them will choose you for their mortgage needs?
There will be a number of changes and challenges to adopt in 2014 with restricted revenues and heightened regulation. Creditors must deal with and adapt to these changes with more challenges than at the origination level, but certainly originators must respect what creditors are facing and understand the details. Whether you are employed by a creditor or not when originating loans, these adjustments to the market always trickle down to the consumer, and ultimately, trickle down to your business. You must be able to effectively adjust and clearly communicate these changes to your clients.
Prepare for the worst financially, but be motivated and work hard for the best. Build reserves and reduce liabilities. When you have periods of success, save your money. Do not allow failures to pull you down, but learn from them and use them to lift you up. Take only calculated risks, but only if the budget allows for it. Budget your time on tasks that bear the most fruit and invest marketing dollars only in those resources that produce the most favorable return-on-investment (ROI).
The year 2014 may be a challenging one, but it will be a year of opportunity. Down or restricted markets always expose an area of great reward and future growth. For those who embrace the change and enter the year motivated and excited, you’re more likely to see these opportunities and seize them. Remain positive and focused, and set professional and personal goals.
Andy W. Harris, CRMS is president and owner of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Vantage Mortgage Group Inc. and 2010-2011 president of the Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals. He may be reached by phone at (877) 496-0431, e-mail [email protected]
or visit www.vantagemortgagegroup.com.