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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   June 2018

Recruiting the Best Requires Commitment

Top originators want companies to keep their promises and to reward good work

r_2018-06_tierce_spot.jpgTurnover in the mortgage industry is high, which leads to a variety of issues for both the employer and mortgage originators. Whether you are working for a large national or international bank or a small local mortgage company, people and relationships are vital to business success, which means a high turnover rate can be a drag on growth.

If the mortgage industry wants to stem rampant turnover and continue to expand, change must first come at the company level. In this current climate, especially as recruiting efforts are at an all-time high with a strong focus on attracting young originators from the ranks of the millennials, a seismic shift needs to happen to respond to the changing expectations of employees. 

The mortgage industry is a behemoth, with U.S. home mortgage debt totaling in excess of $10 trillion. Competition for borrowers and talent alike is fierce, however. Determining what really works when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, then, is a challenge that must be met, if a mortgage company hopes to compete effectively.

Don’t disappoint

The performance of a mortgage company’s loan originators is often a main determining factor of whether borrowers will come back to the company again and again for their borrowing needs. Consequently, recruiting top originators is a goal everyone in the industry is focused on.

The common recruitment techniques normally involve promising originators big checks, written upfront, with the objective of getting those originators to move their business to the mortgage company doing the recruiting. Along with that big check normally come promises of better back-end service and career-growth opportunities.

Nearly everyone recruiting originators says the same things, and it all sounds fantastic. So, why is there so much turnover? The problem is that even though the same promises are echoed by many companies in the recruiting phase, in a lot of instances, those promises are never kept after a hire is made.

Some originators, for example, move their entire book of business and staff to a new company based on promises of greater marketing assistance and support only to find that they are given the same set of tools every other mortgage originator has at their disposal, and then they are expected to achieve within that limited framework.

To go from autonomy and a position of respect for being a top producer in one shop to being forced into a system where you became just another number doesn’t feel right and, ultimately, that disappointment leads to more turnover. From existing top performers to lower-producing originators that still show great potential, if mortgage companies hope to attract and retain that talent, it is important for them to understand what creates the ideal work environment for originators.

Create a plan

There must be a better way to attract and retain talented mortgage originators. Part of finding that path involves thinking outside the box at times. Sometimes you need to zag when everyone else zigs. The goal should be to develop a program that ensures everyone wins.

When you achieve that goal, success is the natural outcome. This creative mindset should be applied to creating programs that incentivize originators who aren’t normally satisfied with simply plugging into the daily grind of the status quo.

It’s important to put incentives in place to show that the company’s employees are the No. 1 priority, and not just numbers in a system.

Create a plan to ensure that your originators’ hard work and enduring commitment to get better and grow the business is properly acknowledged. Why? Because true success comes from not only providing employees what they need today, but also in helping them to plan and secure a better future for themselves and their families.

So, when it comes to recruiting and retention, does your compensation model feel the same as those offered by other regional mortgage companies, national players or big banks? If so, it might be time to think about the process more organically. An exercise that can be helpful is to think of the perfect company — one in which mortgage originators are happy and want to stay. That involves more than compensation. You also are selling a culture.

Build loyalty

With the right formula in place for recruiting and retaining productive mortgage originators, the company will make more money and its market share will grow, fueled by the goodwill that is generated in workplaces where employees feel valued and recognized.

It’s important to put incentives in place to show that the company’s employees are the No. 1 priority, and not just numbers in a system. In order to operate at maximum productivity, employees must not only feel valued today, but also have the peace of mind to know that their company is committed to them and their careers over the long term — and is willing to reward them over time for their performance.

Think about setting up programs to reward originators who meet minimum production standards for annual loan production, for example, or perhaps establish a program that is based on loan quality. Loyalty works both ways, and the results of such reward incentives will be readily apparent in the ongoing commitment demonstrated by originators who feel valued and supported. This paradigm shift will promote the retention of top talent by changing the way your originators look at their careers.

•  •  •

Whatever recruiting and retention program you set up to attract top originators, the most important factor is that the benefits promised must be delivered, so they are not seen as a carrot dangling in the air, just out of reach. Everyone must win.


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