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Top-notch senior management: Investigate the people behind the company and their experience through market cycles. Successful leaders will show exceptional levels of quality and integrity as well as a high level of market production.
An experienced capital-markets team: A team that is responsible and focused on growing quality originations while minimizing secondary-market risk is crucial to success. Its relationships with investors and credit facilities also are key. They should have multiple warehouse lines available as well as the ability to customize rate sheets. In addition, make sure that the company employs a certified public accountant or has one at its disposal.
Marketing and strategic planning: Find out what tools and resources geared toward business growth the company makes available to its partners. Ask if the company provides education to help you recognize marketplace opportunities. Some companies also offer automatic loan-status updates, marketing assistance and similar tools.
Integrity: In many cases, a branch partner will want its own employees and affiliated mortgage brokers to pass a background check. Look into what sort of background checks might be required. Weigh the pros and cons of these investigations and figure that into your decisionmaking.
Beyond these things, look into what the company offers in the way of assistance with human resources, accounts payable and licensing. Finally, ask yourself what else is important to you.
For example, if you have worked hard to establish your company and brand, it will be important to find out if you can maintain the look and feel that customers already know.
It’s also important to find out how much each company charges to become an origination partner. Monthly fees can be as inexpensive as a few-hundred dollars.
As wholesale lenders disappear or downsize, it’s harder to maintain long-time relationships with people inside those operational teams, especially underwriters. Brokers can help increase success for all parties involved by developing new and trusting relationships with the people inside of any branch system they may decide to join.
As you consider joining a branch partnership, recall that your current business practice will likely change as a result. Be prepared to deal with that change.
Although branch partnerships aren’t for everyone, they can provide a path to success in today’s troubled market.
Brent White and Bob Patterson are vice presidents of branch development with NetMore America Inc. White has more than 18 years of wholesale-mortgage experience and has previously worked for WaMu, Citigroup, KeyBank and Metwest Mortgage Services.
Patterson has 26 years of mortgage-banking experience and has worked for American Home Mortgage, E*Trade Financial Corp., GreenPoint Financial Corp. and North American Mortgage Co. E-mail White at firstname.lastname@example.org and Patterson at email@example.com.
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