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Resetting For The New Year

Don’t lose sight of the big picture.

Numbered blocks change from 2021 to 2022
Contributing Writer

When times are busy, it can be difficult to stay on the same page with your teams and perfectly on plan. It can be easy to lose sight of the big picture amid day-to-day operations. The end of the year is the perfect opportunity to take a breath, step back and reassess your teams. With the end of the year quickly approaching and the shock of the coronavirus pandemic settling, workplaces can use this time to plan for the possibility of a post-COVID-19 world and beyond. On the other hand, a failure to appropriately plan for the next year can leave you flat-footed when operations start up are back in full swing again in January. 

Debrief 2021

So much can change in the workplace within a year’s time. Those changes can seem earth shattering when they occur, but they quickly fall to the wayside as time passes. The end of the year offers time for reflection and a benchmark to measure against. Take time at the end of the year to evaluate how your office and teams have changed. Apart from managing changes in the workplace, checking in with your teams allows you to align everyone’s goals and gauge team members’ morale. 

Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact offices and workplaces everywhere. Those changes are often some of the most drastic and noticeable, but their effects are not always as clear. For example, some employees working remotely may not communicate with their superiors as well as those working in the office. It’s important to monitor those changes and incorporate them into plans for next year.

There also have been changes to the mortgage industry itself in the past year. Even after the first year of the pandemic, COVID-19 guidelines and flexibilities continued to change. Fannie Mae’s lender letter 2020-03/ 2021-03 has been updated 13 times, and Freddie Mac issued multiple bulletins. However, while changes due to COVID-19 took center stage, other important credit policy updates and guideline changes may have gone unnoticed.

Planning For 2022

A study conducted at the Dominican University of California showed that you are 42% more likely to accomplish a goal if you write it down. It’s an interesting piece of trivia and psychology, but it also reflects how planning affects outcomes. Making the effort to effectively plan helps in the long term and increases the likelihood of achieving those goals. 

Once you check your knowledge, meet with your teams and identify what makes them tick. Take the information you learned from the past year and apply it to the future. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where have you been successful and where could you improve? Give yourself a goal, so you are prepared to act when the new year comes.

On Tap For 2022

Trends from the end of 2021 often signal what’s to come in 2022. One of the more concerning shifts has been the increase of interest rates. Interest rates could continue to increase in 2022, but the panic it’s caused isn’t proportional to its actual impact. Let’s say you have a borrower with a $300,000 loan and their interest rate went up from 3% to 3.25%. That sounds devastating, but that comes out to a $42 difference in principal and interest payment. The alarm I’ve seen doesn’t match with the actual impact on borrowers. At the end of the day, interest rates are still at historic lows, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

An increase in interest rates could mean transaction types may change to a much higher percentage of purchase transactions rather than refinancing. Who are your referral generators? Have you stayed in touch during the refinancing boom? You also may want to review sales contracts. A seller’s market and bidding wars make for interesting offers with flexible terms. Finally, high appreciation may have created an increased cash-out refinancing market.

No matter what the new year might bring, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Make time during this season to learn from the past year, catch up on any important information your team may have missed out on, and start planning for 2022. Whatever 2022 has in store, stepping into it with a unified team that’s working toward the same goal ensures you will start the year on solid ground.

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine December 2021 issue.
About the author
Contributing Writer
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…
Published on
Dec 11, 2021
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