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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   January 2016

To Be or Not to Be a Mortgage Banker

Deciding whether to transition from broker is a matter of measuring desired outcomes

Various regulatory and industry changes over the years have led to predictions by some experts that the end of the mortgage-broker profession has arrived. Although those dire warnings have not panned out to date, brokers today looking to make a change do have a number of attainable and attractive career paths within the industry available to them, including venturing into the world of the mortgage banker.

The benefits of transitioning to a career as a mortgage banker are many. Becoming a mortgage banker typically means you are joining a bigger organization. Bigger can entail a variety of factors — including the number of years the company has been in business, the number of home loans closed, the geographic footprint of the company and so on.

Determining how these factors, and more, work in your favor can be relatively easy when you compare them to the resources, systems and numbers you have available to you as a solo mortgage broker or small brokerage business.

Quantifying the decision

Typically, the benefits of moving to a larger company will include greater efficiencies, access to better technology and systems, and the added resources that bigger revenue and employee numbers afford. Although some benefits can be easily quantified, there also are a few variables that can’t be so easily measured, but still carry a lot of weight when making the final determination on whether to make the transition from broker to banker. Those include factors like the company’s product mix, growth strategy and culture. Those can end up being benefits or drawbacks, depending on the fit with your experience and goals.

Among the biggest drawbacks of such a career move is it will normally require that you give up some control — including getting used to not being your own boss. Consequently, one of the most important steps in making the transition is to assure that you find a mortgage-banking company that has a product mix and reputation similar to that of the brokerage company you’re leaving behind, and that your long-term goals fit well with the organization you’re considering joining.

It helps to create a target list of the factors that are important to you in the business and as a professional, and find ways to measure, or quantify, them as you weigh your career-transition decision. As part of that process, determine the number that you need to meet or exceed to make the career leap a winning proposition for you and your team.

Expanded reach

A common misconception is that after moving over to the mortgage-banking side of the fence, you will lose some of the loan programs you had available to you while you were a broker. Although you may lose direct access to a few of these programs, a mortgage banker often has the ability to broker out programs not offered in-house.

Another measurable benefit of transitioning to the mortgage lending world is that you will, in all likelihood, have an expanded marketing and advertising budget. Those added resources will help to amplify the effectiveness of your messages and engagements, as well as enhance your name recognition among your clients and potential clients.

An indirect benefit of joining a mortgage lender is that you also will have access to increased support resources via its corporate office. Consider the number of hours that you can free up to focus on growing your business when your human resources, accounting, technology, licensing, training, marketing, compliance and other important tasks — although secondary to closing loans — are handled at the corporate level. Building relationships as a mortgage banker with a single well-oiled corporate operations team also can result in making your day-to-day job more enjoyable — and possibly less stressful than the experience of being a broker dealing with multiple lenders and vendors.

•  •  •

Making the transition from a mortgage broker to a mortgage banker does not have to be a daunting task. Although there is always the potential for delays and other bumps in the road, most transitions can be accomplished in 30 days once the final determination to move forward is made. It makes sense, however, to find ways to quantify that decisionmaking process as much as possible — similar to the way a mortgage broker helps borrowers.

Whether you choose to remain a mortgage broker or make the transition to a mortgage banker, there is no better time to be in the mortgage industry. The mortgage business is positioned to thrive through a variety of loan programs, outlets and terms that promise to propel the careers of brokers and bankers alike. 


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