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With the average age of a loan originator sliding toward 50-years-old, a hot topic in the mortgage profession is the lack of young professionals entering the industry. Lenders across the U.S. are asking the question: “How do we get young people into mortgage banking—a career that provides them the chance to ‘be in business for themselves’ and to enjoy unlimited economic potential?” For many recent college graduates, they simply may not be aware of these and the other tremendous advantages that the mortgage industry has to offer or they don’t know where to start.
The challenge to attract young recruits inevitably leads to unique corporate initiatives; for example, employee referral bonus programs, the creation of personal and professional development teams, and the launch of career development programs. All of these solutions are designed to get young recruits in our doors and once they are here, make sure they get off to a strong start.
Lenders like Academy Mortgage are seeing success turning bright and eager graduates from top universities into self-motivated, driven loan originators through career development programs. A solid career development program has these components:
►Paid training, relocation incentive, and benefits package (medical, dental, vision, etc.).
►Personal instruction and guidance from a mortgage career development coach.
►Preparation to pass the licensing exam and opportunity to take the exam at no charge.
►Hands-on training on how to market products, gain business partners and grow a client base.
►One-on-one mentoring from the top producers in the field.
►Support from a company that believes in its employees and wants them to succeed.
Rookie training can be structured in phases, yet it is important to provide a clearly defined career path. Initial training may occur in a lender’s home office, where rookies can meet and learn from key executives as they are introduced to the company and the industry and prepare for the licensing exam with the help of a mortgage career development coach.
After completing this phase at the home office, rookies may then join a field branch for a short-term apprenticeship to gain hands-on experience, while being mentored by a top producer. They can then transition to full-time loan originators, groomed to be top performers focused on growing business relationships and increasing production volume.
Job fairs, college career fairs and university job listings are great places to start to get the word out about a lender’s career development program. In this day and age, young recruits are also always looking for job opportunities through sources like LinkedIn. Lenders may consider dedicating recruiters just to finding and screening interested recent college graduates.
Beyond adding talented members to our teams, career development programs benefit all those involved with the program, no matter their position or length of time in the industry. By participating in these programs, managers and mentors often enjoy increased personal production, enhanced leadership skills, and the satisfaction that comes with helping shape a rookie’s future.
Of course, the most obvious benefit, as our junior loan originators succeed, our branches and companies as a whole will succeed.
Mike Anderson is senior manager of the Digital Marketing and Personal & Professional Development Departments at Academy Mortgage Corporation. He has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, technology and education. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/mikeander.
This article originally appeared in the September 2015 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.