As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, January 2011.
When talking about risk in the mortgage industry, most people focus on compliance and fraud. Quality loan production is everyone's responsibility, however, not just that of compliance managers and processors or underwriters. We must consider what we can do, as mortgage brokers and originators, to reduce risk in the mortgage industry. It often starts with education.
For instance, although some originators and brokers have complained about the new educational and licensing requirements brought on by the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (aka the S.A.F.E. Act), others attest to feeling more competent now than before they took the mandated courses and passed the exams. And the better educated and experienced originators are, the better service and advice they can offer their clients.
As mortgage professionals, we must help our borrowers make the appropriate decisions. When you guide your clients into the right mortgage product based on their needs and goals, you perform your job with a higher degree of competency.
Apart from the mandated education that came with the S.A.F.E. Act, there are other ways you can educate yourself and ensure that you offer the best-possible service to your clients. For instance, when is the last time you read about what is happening in your profession? Choose books and articles — along with seminars, conferences and meetings — that address a wide variety of topics, not just mortgage sales. Reading about credit, business, fiscal responsibility and other related topics can help you better understand the industry and the economy.
Face-to-face networking also is essential. In an age of computers and smart phones, our physical, face-to-face interactions have waned. The days spent with our cronies attending trade shows or networking breakfasts have diminished.
If a networking group doesn't exist where you are, start one. If a group does exist near you, attend a meeting. Make time to interact with other mortgage professionals and learn from them, as well as teach and mentor them. There is quality business for us all, and we must make sure quality business is all we conduct.
Get to know your partners, too. When is the last time you asked underwriters what they are seeing and how you can help ensure high-quality loans? Similarly, when is the last time you sat down with a compliance officer to get updates on changing issues? How about taking advantage of mortgage-insurance companies that offer training through seminars and webinars?
Many wholesale lenders also offer training and fliers on products and procedures on their websites. They are often delighted to assist you and to enhance their relationship with you.
Additionally, by asking questions and attending their seminars, you are telling mortgage-insurance companies, wholesale lenders, compliance officers and underwriters that you are just as concerned about the quality of the loans you originate as they are.
Mortgage originators have the opportunity to make an excellent living while helping every person with whom they do business. With this opportunity comes the responsibility of diminishing as much risk as we can for the industry and for the public. We can do this by knowing our business as best we can, by striving continually to be the best at what we do, and by delivering quality service and quality loans.
Stuart Blend, business development manager for Southwest Funding with about 100 retail offices in 14 states, has more than 20 years of mortgage-industry experience, which includes developing and running the retail mortgage division for several large multibranch mortgage companies. Blend also is known for his training and speaking.
Reach him at (877) 878-8989 or firstname.lastname@example.org.