30k Feet

Why the biggest “threat” to the growth and relevancy of the mortgage industry is from within

By February 6, 2018 August 13th, 2019 No Comments

When I travel to attend and speak at conferences, I always take time on the flight back home to write down my thoughts from my interactions with attendees at the event. I call this form of journaling “Thoughts from 30,000 Feet” and I write it as a long form Facebook Post. Someone recently mentioned to me that I should write these as LinkedIn articles and so here we are.

In regards to this article, what is the biggest threat to our industry?

Loan Officers

Before you MLOs start to come after me with pitch forks and torches, hear me out because ironically you are also the industry's greatest asset.

My last two events had me speaking in Atlantic City for AIME's Mortgage Expert Workshop and Charlotte for HousingWire's engage.marketing conference.

In Atlantic City, it was all about Mortgage Brokers and how they can continually grow their community. AIME always puts on a great event for the community, and I was honored to speak to them about building brand awareness on Facebook.

In Charlotte, HousingWire’s second engage.marketing conference brought together some of the best marketers in the industry to mastermind and heard about what is moving the needle in our industry.

One of my takeaways is the excitement I have from seeing a turn, from some, to a new mindset and way of doing business for the modern era. Those that are embracing company culture, modern marketing, adopting tech, process efficiency, and consumer experience are crushing it against those that aren’t. Which brings me to the headline.

What I am about to say next is my own humble opinion based off of talking with originators, executives, board members, and marketers.

The biggest “threat” to the growth and relevancy of the mortgage industry isn't Fintech disruption, but the mainstream apathy of Loan Officers and by extension lenders.

I’m going to let that hang there for a second, so you can let that sink in.

First let me start by saying that I am not referring to ALL Loan Officers, but to those MLOs who are:

🔹 Complacent

🔹 Apathetic

🔹 Unwilling to learn new tactics

🔹 Resistant to adopt tools and tech

🔹 Unwilling to adapt their business

🔹 Wrapped around a scarcity mindset

And as I said, it isn't just the MLOs; it’s also about the lenders themselves. The culture and inability to hold their team accountable has created an era of complacency in our industry where the “if it isn't broke don't fix it” mentality was allowed to create the perfect environment for outside disruption. Which we are now seeing in full force.

During these events as I talked to attendees The common questions to me from execs/decision makers were, “How do we get our LOs to do what you are talking about? How do we get them to adopt the tech we give them? How do we get them to do what you do?” That is the million dollar question, right? It’s like parents asking other parents how to get their kids to eat their vegetables. It is good for them and in their best interest to survive, but that explanation goes over just as well in both cases. At some point you just make them friggin do it, or they don’t get any dessert. That in all honesty is what it has come down to.

But of course nobody wants to do that, right? No lender wants to be first in the pool in this regard as they are afraid they lose production when leading with a heavier hand. However, I would argue that you could attract better producers when you are creating a culture around having a top producer mindset.

During my time in Charlotte I talked to a new LO, just one year in the business from another sales role and he said he was amazed at the lack of accountability. He took this as an opportunity to grab business by outworking his colleagues along with consuming and more importantly executing with the tools he has been given. He is currently doing about 4 million a month after only 12 months of being a MLO.

I talked to another newbie who at just a few months in was also was amazed that LOs at his company could pick and choose what they do to help their business. He told me at his last job if “they didn’t use a CRM and work the tools they were fired regardless of production”. It is crazy to see MLOs be given all the tools and tactics needed to be successful only to find a lack of appetite to act on any of it.

Look, as a former mortgage exec, I get it, believe me I do. But we need to wake up and understand what is happening to this profession and our industry as a whole. Apathy and complacency are what allowed the current state of disruption and will continue to be our achilles heel.

The problem is that the longer the industry allows this “culture” to exist, the harder it will be to compete with new Fintech solutions with hundreds of millions in funding.

If companies want to build a modern platform for consumers, they will need to focus on more than just digital POS, efficiencies, marketing, and social media. They will need to focus most on hiring and championing mortgage ADVISORS who will do what needs to be done to succeed in the modern economy.

This is why the right MLOs will be the biggest asset to the industry. They are the engine of the car and with the right mentality of being the local mortgage expert building awareness and creating a great consumer experience they will have an advantage of online only shops.

The industry needs to evolve its thinking and actions, or we will one day soon understand what it's like to be Blockbuster, Borders, Toys R Us, and the Taxi industry.

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