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The Essential Element — Conducting Status

Don’t let management of your pipeline curtail production

Dave Hershman headshot
Dave Hershman
Reaching potential

An often-overlooked essential part of a loan officer’s job is the successful management of their pipeline. Poor pipeline management will essentially keep a loan officer from reaching their potential in the long run. Every day there will be issues coming up on loan files, conditions or stipulations returned by underwriters, delayed settlements, and more.

The process of managing a pipeline can be totally encompassing for anyone who maintains a medium-to-heavy load of production and even derails lower producers. Without a way to organize the many, many tasks that must be accomplished, it can also lead to the curtailment of future production or recruiting if the producer is also a manager. Or many times in this industry it has led to burnout.

I know this because I have not only witnessed the inefficiencies and burnout, but I have also managed a pipeline of over 100 cases before the era of automation. I had to learn by trial and error. The truth of the matter is we have spent little time helping loan officers learn what it takes to effectively manage a pipeline. In my experience, there are basically two types of loan officers:

  • First, those who throw their loans into the office and say — see you to collect my paycheck after the loan is closed.
  • Second, those who hover over the processor — trying to micromanage the process and growing cobwebs in the office (or at home).

You can understand that either style is not effective. There needs to be a balance. This is why I have always advocated the conducting of status.

What is status?

Status is a regular meeting between processor and loan officer. This meeting goes over the pipeline and determines what tasks must be accomplished to make sure the customers are served.

How often is status accomplished?

There is no set rule, but generally it is more effective to status one time per week. One time per month is not often enough and conducting status every day is exactly what we are trying to avoid.

What day of the week is most effective?

This will also vary. I tried to hold status on the same day we had our sales meeting. That way, theoretically, the loan officers were in the office only one day each week — assuming they and processors are not remote.

What is accomplished during status?

During status, you are determining what needs to be done on each file. For example, some loans need to be submitted to underwriting, others need to be locked, and still others need a conversation with the applicant(s).

What results from status?

Status should result in more than a list of items that need to be accomplished. Status will also result in agreement as to who is going to accomplish each task. You should note that the determination of who will be accomplishing each task might vary from week to week. For example, if the processor has a heavy load one week, the originator may help with some phone calls. If the pipeline is light, the processor should be doing everything possible to take the burden off the originator.

There should also be no general rule in place that covers all circumstances. For example, perhaps the processor procures all conditions. But there may be some conditions that are so important they need to be discussed with the applicant, and the loan officer is the proper person to conduct that discussion. Perhaps the condition is a larger down payment. Do you want the processor calling to say that we need an extra $50,000 down?

The rules of synergy as applied to pipeline management.

As always, we try to integrate the rule of maximum synergy marketing. It might seem that procuring tax returns is a very simple condition. But should the loan officer take this opportunity to meet the accountant? This could be a major contact that could help further the goals of production. Remember, every action could have a second objective. And some targets are more effective than others!

What happens after status?

After the status list is produced, each participant should know what his/her job entails more specifically. At this juncture, the actor can keep the other person updated via email, letting them know that the task is finished. It will not eliminate all verbal communication — but it should help organize the task, and that is what pipeline management is all about.

What if processing is remote?

Remote processing will call for remote status as well. This could be over the phone or even video conferencing. What makes status quite impossible is the spread of one loan officer’s caseload over several processors — sometimes referred to as rotational processing. I personally am not a fan of this setup, but it does have the advantage of more even distribution of the numbers. No large producer wants to be dealing with four or five processors.

Again, management of a pipeline is a key skill that can make or break a loan officer. A manager is responsible to make sure that they are helping their sales force develop these skills to contribute to the growth of their personnel. It also grows the capacity of operations — something very important when mortgage companies are trying to increase efficiencies.

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine February 2023 issue.
Dave Hershman headshot
Dave Hershman

Dave Hershman is an author for the mortgage industry with eight books and several hundred articles to his credit. He is also senior vice president of sales for Weichert Financial Services, head of OriginationPro Mortgage School and a top industry speaker.

Published on
Jan 30, 2023
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