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Paying It Forward Within The Industry

Mentor young LOs by sharing best practices they may be missing

Mary Kay Scully headshot
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Mary Kay Scully
Paying It Forward Within The Industry

Last month, we talked about paying it forward outside your business. This month, I want to dive into more ways to pay it forward within the industry. I’m looking at you, all you seasoned professionals. Let’s talk about important ways you can use your experience and expertise to give back to your company and to our industry.

Reasons to Mentor

There are so many young professionals who have entered the business lately. The average age of loan officers has dropped from 54–59 (2014 per CCowan & Associates recruiting firm) to 47 years old (2019 per STRATMOR data), but new loan officers (LOs) join the industry every day. Before you begin to retire, share all your insights so others can benefit from it and carry on the good work you’ve been doing for years. Ultimately, it’s important to give back to the industry that has given to you.

I recently hosted a loan officer bootcamp where no one in the room had been in the industry for more than two years. These new professionals are excited about the opportunities in the industry and most of them are eager to learn more and grow in their careers. With so much fresh talent comes a host of opportunities to impart the wisdom you’ve gained over the years onto someone new.

Best Practices

While it’s not realistic to try to dump everything you know onto one person, start with the basics. When you find a young LO to mentor, an easy place to start teaching them is by sharing best practices that they may be missing:

• Taking a complete application can, at times, be an issue with new LOs — share your experiences and explain to them why this is so critical. Helping them understand the problems that can occur down the road when a complete application is not taken will motivate them to do what’s needed to start off on the right foot.

• New LOs may not think to figure out each borrower’s communication expectations, but you know how important it is. Share your own stories about knowing what works best for the borrower and figuring out where they are most responsive.

• Setting borrower expectations may not be second nature to new LOs — explain how setting expectations upfront can smooth the entire process and let them know the most important ones to convey, such as documentation requirements and timelines. According to Mike Seminari, Director of Customer Experience at STRATMOR, the number one complaint borrowers have about the loan process is poor communication.

• Best practices like setting a schedule for when to reach out can make a huge difference in an LO’s success — some LOs may stop regular communications once the loan goes to the processor but losing touch at this stage can be harmful. Explain why they should, at a minimum, reach out at the big milestones in the life of the loan such as approval, receipt of the appraisal, etc. Each touchpoint is a marketing opportunity, so they must understand that the more the borrower hears from them, the more likely they are to be remembered and to get that referral.

Practices that may seem so simple to you can be important lessons for younger professionals to learn. By sharing what you’ve learned, you set up your mentee for success, and help their homebuyers have a better experience as well.

Technology

It also can be important to share your experience with technology. You may be thinking, what have I got to teach a younger person about technology? Don’t they already know it better? As with anything, there is good and bad — there are trade-offs everyone must make.

Educate new LOs about these trade-offs and advise them on their choices using your experience over the years. For example, technology can make everything convenient, but the trade-off is there is less of a personal connection between the LO and the borrower. Help them understand when it’s better to be face-to-face and when tech can help them out and save time. Every borrower and situation will be different. You have hundreds of different experiences under your belt — share them.

While it may sound like “extra work,” mentoring younger LOs is critical for the health of your business and the health of the industry. Think of the professionals who helped you over the course of your career. If you wouldn’t be where you are today without them, how important is it that you be that person for someone else?

Mentoring isn’t only beneficial for the mentee, but mentors who are open to learning receive benefits from the relationship as well. Sharing your expertise not only gives back to your mentee, but it betters the industry as a whole for the good of the homebuyers that we serve every day.

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine June 2022 issue.
Mary Kay Scully headshot
Mary Kay Scully

Mary Kay Scully is the Director of Customer Education at Enact, leading the development of the company’s customer education curriculum. The statements in this article are solely her opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of Enact or its management. 

Published on
Jun 16, 2022
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