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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   November 2017

Pack a Punch With Team Power

Assembling a stellar group of assistants elevates your production potential

r_2017-11_black_spotAs we wind down 2017 and start to plan for 2018, what can you do as an individual originator to increase your overall mortgage production? That is a question we all contemplate as we plan for a new year.

To reach that goal, you must first recognize that your ability to increase production is limited in today’s lending environment if you are working on your own. The extensive compliance, regulatory and system burdens that exist simply overwhelm a sole operator.

You can, however, create a team to conquer those barriers. With a team in place, you can then work together, like a well-oiled machine, to unleash far greater production potential.

Team building

The premier mortgage loan originators in the U.S. have a common theme to their success: Their team members have defined roles and execute those functions at a high level.

This is not an overnight process. It requires a lot of planning. A core foundation of success is knowing who you need and, more importantly, how they will work with your customer base.

Who are the players? Top mortgage originators assemble teams that include all the pieces that make their production puzzle come together. These teams include the following:

  • A loan coordinator (or junior loan officer);
  • A loan assistant; and
  • A processor.

The loan coordinator

A loan coordinator is one of the most important pieces of the team for growing a business. This person serves as your face to the public, or your application taker. A coordinator handles the tasks you want to free yourself from, so you can do what you do best.

All originators have individual strengths within their skill sets. It may be a selling ability, organizational skills, or product/process knowledge. When you construct your team, hire to supplement your deficiencies — not your strengths

If you can easily secure Realtor relationships, for example, but find dealing with borrowers more of a burden, consider hiring a loan coordinator who is good over the phone to handle borrowers’ questions and convert your Realtor referrals into mortgage applications. You can build a quality network of referral partners while your coordinator handles the critical job of taking the applications and moving them through the system.

With the support of a good team, you can unleash your true potential.

On the other hand, if you have a passion and great skill at converting shoppers into buyers, and love the challenge of structuring a loan, then your loan coordinator can be the person who goes out on field visits and keeps your name in front of Realtors or builders to drive business in for you to convert. It is critical that your loan coordinator be licensed to quote rates and take applications, so do your research to verify the individual you want to hire is qualified to carry out these key loan functions.

You then must commit to developing that loan coordinator’s skill set to your standards. This will require educating the individual about your processes and expectations and monitoring subsequent performance.

The loan assistant

As your volumes grow, the next phase will kick in — which involves administrative reports, loan-status reports and marketing support. To address these functions, you will need to bring another player to the team: the loan assistant.

In the mortgage industry today, tracking the progress of a loan through the approval system is a time-consuming task. While you are busy selling in the field or taking applications, and your loan coordinator is handling other selling functions to increase your monthly volume, you do not want to be slowed down by administrative or marketing pitfalls.

A good loan assistant is someone who may have been a processor, or does not enjoy the selling function required to be a top-flight originator. This individual does know the business, however, and is well-organized and has the skills necessary to become a great liaison between you and the loan-processing team.

The loan assistant may not engage in a lot of direct borrower interaction, but rather will act somewhat like a traffic cop — setting up closings, ensuring all the technical parts of the job are well-executed and identifying problems and coordinating with you to execute solutions. Organizing a customer-relationship management system and producing marketing campaigns also falls within the loan assistant’s wheelhouse.

Setting up your database and coordinating marketing campaigns to effectively reach referral sources and past customers is key to volume growth. Without a quality marketing campaign, your volume will stagnate.

Marketing involves a variety of methods and strategies. Consider what is the best for you and your team, whether that involves marketing direct to potential clients, setting up functions with Realtors or borrowers, sponsoring events in your community, etc. Have a cohesive strategy and hire an assistant who can consistently execute your marketing efforts.

The processor

One important part of this entire team strategy is the quality of the work you can rely on from your processing support. Bringing a great processor onto the team is a key step toward greater success. The best processors can make you a better originator because of their knowledge of the mortgage process and what it takes to get a loan through the system most effectively.

Today, with advances in automation and loan origination systems, an originator can find even greater success with the right support and under-standing of technology. Therefore, look for a processor who can make the loan sail through the system or catch problems before it is too late.

A good processor knows how your underwriters or investors think and what they want, and then makes sure your loans are properly packaged to minimize unnecessary conditions for your borrower. Once you grow your volume enough to warrant hiring your own processor, make sure, again, that your hire compliments the entire team’s needs. Do your best to ensure that person’s business philosophy aligns with yours so you can work for a common goal and result.

•  •  •

Building a stellar team is not easy, but if you want to ramp up your production dramatically, make the time to start developing a team heading into 2018. Building a solid team, however, will be a process. Plan on anywhere from six months to a year to build a full team. As your success grows, adding a loan coordinator, a loan assistant or a processor can help you achieve the highest production level possible.

Selling is a skill you may possess, but becoming a quarterback, or leader of a team, is not only critical in the long run, but also rewarding and, if done well, ultimately very profitable. With the support of a good team, you can unleash your true potential because your team will help break down barriers that hinder loan-volume increases. Invest the time and get the desired financial return, which will be achievable and sustainable once you have a well-organized, skilled team in place. Good luck and good selling.


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