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Most of us have heard that the average age of a mortgage loan originator (MLO) today is 54 years of age. That number may vary a little, but needless to say, the mortgage industry is in dire need of younger talent. This number should open our eyes to look down the road and see that we may have a problem if we don’t train and educate the next generation to grow in this industry. This is important for our industry and certainly important for the consumers we serve. We must embrace Millennials in this industry and strategically recruit and train them the right way to succeed and be attracted to what this great industry has to offer.
I’ve battled with this for the last several months, specifically as a business owner through our growth and demands. Do we hire experienced mortgage loan originators or do we hire green and train? Unfortunately, re-training people already in the business with bad habits I find to be much harder. With a quickly changing industry requiring constant adaptation and speed, I’ve found it’s certainly hard to teach an old dog new tricks. I’d rather have a fresh, new and motivated employee with limited experience and a clean slate than one with quantity (not always quality) experience or challenging habits.
I believe Millennials get an unfair reputation at times with being entitled or lazy. The lazy ones are certainly out there, but there are also thousands of very intelligent and motivated Millennials I believe offer huge opportunities to our industry. Many of them are more innovative due to modern knowledge and technological abilities. They were raised in an environment where any data they seek is literally at their fingertips. They can adapt well and need little training when it comes to most computers and systems. That certainly cannot be said for most of those from older generations.
Here are a few statistics according to the American Bankers Association (ABA) that I find somewhat shocking:
►Born between 1980-2000, Millennials are the largest generation in American history, at 83.5 million people.
►By 2022, they will comprise 44 percent of the nation’s workforce.
►Only 26 percent get married before the age of 32.
►Eighty-six percent put money into savings every month.
►Seventy-five percent of those who are college graduates have student loan debt, averaging $29,000.
I don’t know about you, but if you actually think about these statistics I see a huge market of untapped potential. Think about the stats and what our industry could offer young entrepreneur-spirited individuals. The sky is the limit, but they need the right training. We work in a great industry with unlimited possibilities. Finding the right motivated younger talent could be a huge asset to your team, and of course, a great opportunity for someone entering this industry today. I suggest that we all brainstorm with our teams to motivate, recruit and train new younger talent in this industry to get that average age down moving forward.
Andy W. Harris, CRMS is president and owner of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Vantage Mortgage Group Inc. and past president of the Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals. He may be reached by phone at (877) 496-0431, e-mail AHarris@VantageMortgageGroup.com or visit VantageMortgageGroup.com.
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.