As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, April 2012.
Although the mortgage industry is still struggling to return to its former prominence and profitability, there are plenty of reasons why pursuing a career in origination can be a wise choice for young professionals. Of course, current mortgage brokers and originators already are aware of this, but brokerages and banks may still be struggling to recruit new talent.
With that in mind, it’s becoming increasingly important for brokers and originators to thoroughly reflect upon the benefits of a career in the mortgage industry. In other words, why is a job in loan origination a great move for recent or soon-to-be college graduates?
If your business is struggling in its recruitment efforts — or, for that matter, if your organization is just beginning its recruitment efforts — here are a number of reasons why the mortgage industry is still a promising career environment for young professionals.
1. A new era
In the wake of the recession that radically changed the industry from what it was only a few years ago, we’re now seeing the start of a new chapter for origination. The emerging industry is one that’s characterized by strict adherence to responsible-lending policies and procedures, all of which are designed to make the loan process safer for all involved.
Still, this doesn’t mean that the industry is boring; helping individuals and families buy or refinance their homes can be far more rewarding than many other careers, especially those that provide fewer opportunities to directly witness the positive impact one can have on other people’s lives.
One of the key responsibilities of future brokers and originators will be helping consumers prepare themselves to become homeowners. Originators will be much more involved with their clients — helping them financially prepare themselves long before they even apply for a loan. In short, as the mortgage industry rebuilds itself, it’s a great opportunity for quality professionals to make a substantial difference in many people’s lives.
2. Regulatory changes
Arguably, with so many regulatory changes that affect how the industry functions, it may be more cost-effective for companies to train new originators than attempt to retrain existing personnel who may be resistant to change.
In this sense, recent graduates with little or no experience in the industry have a great opportunity to learn the correct way to originate their loans from the outset of their careers. Some savvy lenders and brokerages are even willing to offer recent graduates training programs and other forms of support to ensure that their producers are well-prepared for the industry’s new era.
Ultimately, the opportunity to get a solid base income and still possess the ability to earn sizeable bonuses and commissions is very unusual for a job that recent graduates can get.
Of course, income can, and does, vary widely by individuals, as well as by the specific banks or brokerages that employ them. Nonetheless, recent regulatory rules have made originator compensation more structured in terms of how that compensation is determined — a fact that may be appealing to new recruits. Further, as the economy continues to get itself back on track, origination salaries may become more and more appealing.
Recently, there’s been a prevalence of recent graduates starting their own businesses because of a lack of employment opportunities. The days of working the same job for 30 years are over — in the spirit of self-reliance, many young Americans are increasingly interested in careers that provide them with at least some degree of entrepreneurship.
Even in working for a large bank or a brokerage, the career of a loan originator is certainly entrepreneurial in nature. New employees are expected to build their own base of clients and referral partners, the size and quality of which entirely depends on them. In addition, new employees make variable incomes that grow or diminish based on their individual success in meeting the needs of their clients.
Most significantly, however, potential new employees should know that their success will in turn breed more success. Quality originators will always be in high demand by lenders in the business, as consumers are more loyal to the person who helped them — not necessarily the name of the lender on the door.
Recruits also should know that there are dozens of positions within the mortgage industry that a person can choose to pursue — from sales management to operations to servicing. The industry includes marketers, writers, web-developers, accountants, attorneys and trainers, among many others.
That said, regardless of the ultimate career that a young professional may pursue within the industry, experience as a broker or originator can provide an understanding of the industry at its core level. Many of the best employees of the industry began their careers as loan originators, even if they eventually moved on to different jobs within the field.
• • •
Although current mortgage professionals should do their best to convince new talent of the merits of the industry, they certainly shouldn’t sway potential recruits into the field under false pretenses. The mortgage industry has come through one of the most trying times in its history, and more trials may be right around the corner.
Still, for recent graduates who are prepared to at least consider a career in loan origination, there are myriad reasons why such an opportunity remains well worth pursuing.
John Walsh is the president of Total Mortgage Services, an expanding mortgage banker.
Walsh founded Total Mortgage Services in 1997 with a customer-centric approach and a mission of responsible lending. Reach Walsh at email@example.com. For more information on Total Mortgage Service, visit totalmortgage.com.