Commercial Magazine

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The right technology can help mortgage companies retain employees and reduce expenses

By John Ricciardi

A decade ago, employers attempted to stave off the continual tide of employee turnover with workday comforts such as in-office gym facilities, stocked kitchens and a relaxed dress code. More recently, however, the best ways to reduce turnover have shifted toward offering employees a sense of stability and support in a tumultuous world.

The commercial mortgage industry has had to pay close attention given that its turnover rate is already high and teams are thin. While borrower demand has provided consistent opportunities for mortgage brokers, other factors such as increased interest rates, continued project delays and high prices for construction materials make it more challenging to identify properties that are worthy of investment.

“Mortgage company leaders are responsible for ensuring that team members get the support they need, otherwise they risk losing employees.”

Global real estate leaders are also feeling the pinch as the outlook for growth potential is gloomy compared to this time last year. Only 40% of real estate industry leaders expect revenue growth in 2023, compared to 80% heading into 2022, according to surveys conducted by Deloitte. In this environment, having and keeping the right people in place is critical, and being able to do more with less is even more important.

Why employees leave

Gartner estimated that employee turnover in 2022 was likely to increase by 20% from pre-pandemic averages. Meanwhile, a McKinsey & Co. study from last year showed that a lack of meaningful work and unrealistic performance expectations were two of the top four reasons that employees left their jobs.

Keeping employees may seem like an impossible task in these times, but a few key factors can significantly improve job satisfaction.

These include:

• Fulfillment. Everyone wants the feeling that their work has value. Work can’t feel trivial or redundant. It should feel like each step builds on the last to achieve something worthwhile.

• Employee support. Avoiding the dreaded burnout is more challenging than ever. Resources should be available for team members to reach out when they need help with their workload, mental health or education.

• Fair compensation. Employees want to feel appreciated and valued. This requires being paid a fair wage so they can focus each day on the work at hand without worrying about keeping up with the cost of living.

Benefits of technology

Mortgage company leaders are responsible for ensuring that team members get the support they need, otherwise they risk losing employees. The good news is that some of the best ways to reduce turnover can also benefit the business.

This includes embracing technology that enables employees to do their best work while contributing to the company’s broader goals. Giving team members the right tools can add to their job fulfillment and provide greater support, making them feel more secure in their positions and less likely to seek employment with another company. Plus, the right technology stack is especially helpful in allowing smaller teams to glean more value out of their daily work, then channel more of that value back into the company.

Noncritical tasks in the commercial mortgage space can bog down employees with trivialities, especially with fewer co-workers to provide support. For example, analysts or associates in the finance department often find themselves in the throes of compiling, reconciling and reformatting data across a variety of siloed sources as their chief value-add responsibility.

Rather than adding true value to deal diligence and analysis, much of their time is spent piled under disparate spreadsheets late into the night, duplicating data entries into a central location so that analysis can happen effectively. All of that manual heavy lifting can lead to a short shelf life for the rising talent in these institutions.

Deal management tools

Leaning on a comprehensive deal management tool can help teams avoid these taxing hurdles. Manual data reentry can be eliminated by migrating data from an Excel spreadsheet into a cloud-based solution, where it can be accessed for other processes. Employees can continue to use familiar software and entry systems while the company benefits from aggregated and tracked data.

The data, now easily accessible in a common format, can reduce processing delays, improve visibility into the risk associated with commercial real estate investments and help teams make smarter mortgage-related decisions. What’s more, centralized data can overhaul traditional approaches to ongoing asset and portfolio-level performance reporting.

Performance reports, quality assurance status reports and detailed credit memos are critical for intelligent commercial mortgage business management. But this type of work can take hours to complete. A technology solution can take these chunks of manual data triage and pull them together for teams of any size to effectively analyze.

Increase employee fulfillment

An investment in technology may seem like a counterintuitive move if you’re dealing with a tighter headcount, but keep the long-term savings in mind. The cost of employee turnover can be double the employee’s annual earnings, due to the time and labor involved in attracting, interviewing and training new personnel.

At a time when one-third of global real estate professionals are looking to cut costs, it’s more important than ever to slow the rate of turnover. Well-collected, well-stored and well-analyzed data can be the edge your company needs to retain staff and build value.

A deal management solution provides an opportunity for team members to continue using their existing data processes while eliminating data reentry and improving the usability of the data. By spending less time on data entry and analysis, team members can avoid frustration and burnout. They can instead focus on improving client relationships, creating new business for the organization and driving projects forward. ●


  • John Ricciardi

    John Ricciardi is the senior subject matter expert in commercial real estate for Built Technologies. He works with banks and fintech startups that are focused on commercial real estate lending. He also helps financial institutions grow and work more efficiently with customers to manage their construction loans.

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