As the economy continues to remain in a volatile state, concerns are surfacing as to the future success of the loan officer. It is now a good time to redefine your goals and evaluate your strategies:
•Confer with seasoned loan officers who have been through
bumpy times. Learn what they have done in the past to remain active
and strong in this business.
•Increase your knowledge of new programs or review guidelines for rules and changes. For instance, the payment option ARM has been a hot product lately. Some requests have evolved for the 40-year note. Ask yourself if this program really makes sense for your client.
•Contact old customers. If you served them well the first time, it is likely they will come back to you. Clients who have 2/8 or 3/27 ARMs may now be eligible for refinancing or improving their financial condition or cash flow. Of course, past clients may have prospects as well!
•Network! Do not stop now if you are in a slump or business is slow. Keep meeting new people at various venues. Planting seeds will harvest sales in the near future.
•Attend outside sales seminars as well as required state training. Look, listen and learn new sales ideas. Now is a good time to increase your professional knowledge.
•Remain committed. Remember, top NBA players do not become superstars in their first few years. Often, it takes two or three years to possibly become a star.
•Establish your own code of ethics. Pledge that you will work hard to treat your clients with respect, and obtain for them the best loan program and maximum savings.
•If this is your first position out of college, commission sales can be tough. Be patient and study loan products just like you would any course materials, such as accounting and management principles.
•Credit reports are crucial in this industry, so make sure you completely understand the reporting system. Order you own report and review it for accuracy. Advise your clients to repair their credit. This will enable you to assist them in the future.
•Fluctuating interest rates are influenced by a changing economy. The mortgage officer's income will be affected by these cyclical downturns. Learn more about the bond index as well as leading and lagging indices. For example, the lack of job growth might keep the rates intact, as opposed to lower unemployment, which may result in higher rates. The economy is difficult to predict. However, a working knowledge will enable you to appear more like a consultant and less like another salesperson.
These are volatile times for mortgage executives. Apply the concepts outlined in this article to make yourself sharper and better equipped for answering your prospective clients' questions. Remember, knowledge is power! Your confidence, your sales and your income will increase over time. The tough and difficult days will be over before you know it! Jeff Barr is a competent toastmaster and speaker in Louisville, Ky., an adjunct professor of communications at the University of Louisville and a mortgage loan officer. He can be reached at (502) 777-9555 or e-mail [email protected].