Residential Magazine

Confront Today’s Challenges With Confidence and Hope

Double down on your business relationships in a time of turmoil

By Laura Brandao

Hope is that intangible little gem that resides deep inside the brain, a force of positive energy when things appear the bleakest. In a 2017 study, Chinese psychologists found that hope protects the brain against anxiety. The psychologists defined hope as an important part of positive psychology, referring to an individual’s expectations that include both the desire to achieve goals and ways to achieve them. Does this “desire to achieve” sound like you?

What does all of this have to do with mortgage lending anyway? Simple. When things are at their most challenging, banding together with your team of business partners is a natural way to foster hope and inspire excitement. And things are challenging at the moment as interest rates are much higher than a year ago, housing inventory is in short supply and home prices remain stubbornly high.
But the mortgage industry has been here before. The difference between then and now is that mortgage professionals are better trained on how to navigate the challenges being experienced across the industry. Now is the time to call in your team for a talk and then do it again. Why? Because of hope.
It is natural to seek out others in times of turmoil. Everyone needs an extended hand. As you look forward to the rest of this year, tap into this good energy and welcome the challenges ahead with confidence and hope.

Past connections

Your book of business probably looks much different today than it did a year or two ago. Whether it’s an abridged version or a total rewrite of last year’s book, it’s still yours, and the connections you’ve retained are still with you for one reason: relationships.
Let’s start with the families who relied on you to get them to the closing table. Don’t just let them ride off into the sunset with their moving vehicle with nary a wave or nod. Keep in touch. How? Be proactive by creating a post-closing follow-up checklist (and do this before your loans close). Borrowers have a lot of “new” in their lives right now and they will appreciate you checking in regularly to head off confusion.
The mortgage industry has its own language and if your borrower is new to having a mortgage, it’s a guarantee that they are not fluent in all of the terminology. Let them know to expect mail in their mailbox — and to open it. Caution them that mortgage mail is unfamiliar. It could easily be mistaken for junk mail and not recognized for being valuable.
Did they get notified to send in their first payment? Who did they send it to? Was their loan sold or will it eventually be sold? This might require some careful explanation by you, their trusted mortgage originator. Check in again after 90 days to confirm that they received a copy of their closing package. If they did not, you are once again at their rescue, educating them on their rights and how to obtain these important documents. Were escrows involved in the mortgage? Your 90-day check-in would be a good time to ensure these items are up to date and correct.
Check in at least monthly with each of your contacts via phone or email. Make it personal by using their first name at the beginning of an email. If you’re currently doing business with them, this is not the moment to discuss the loan file, but a “saw this and thought of you” email is a helpful reminder that you are looking forward to their future business.

Industry expert

Do you have a customer relationship management platform? If you do, is it automated to send out drip campaigns, seasonal greetings, etc.? If you don’t have one, get one. And set it up to send your referral partners news they can use.
This information is available by reading industry trade publications every day to see what is happening in the mortgage business. Did you see anything that grabbed your attention? Chances are it also will be of interest to your business partners. You need to share this with them. After all, you are their industry expert.
Are new lenders contacting you? Listen up. They might have something to offer that you’ve never sold before. This might blow your mind, but there’s more to mortgage lending than the simple refinance and purchase loans — e.g., disaster lending, renovation programs, manufactured homes, chattel property, construction-to-permanent loans, downpayment- assistance programs and so on. Niche products are a lender’s pride and joy, so learn about them and then share the knowledge. Putting good vibes into the universe returns the same.
Winter months are not a time to hibernate. Spring is right around the corner and historically it’s when the purchase business picks up. Invite your lending partners to learn about niche programs that today’s buyers need. So many homebuyers are first-timers and are unaware of the options available to them. Your lending partners need you to be the industry expert so they can take care of these neophyte clients. Renovation loans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs? Nonqualified mortgages? Downpayment-assistance loans? Learn about them and teach them. Pick up this rhythm and add your own beat to it.
Social media is not just for entertainment. These are the platforms many turn to for information. Are you maintaining your relationships by liking other people’s posts? Are they liking yours? If not, there’s no time like now to bust out your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts to freshen up the space. Not up on social media? Well, no one uses rotary phones anymore either. It’s time to step into the current century and get started. Your competition is already doing it.
Clients and referral partners want to see you as their trusted industry expert (emphasis on “see”). Social media has literally put free marketing in the palm of your hand. You are the captain of your own marketing ship — hoist the sail and start to post your own brand of hope and possibilities with a side of tasteful humor to make it memorable. Post cheerfully and post often.
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When the loans start coming in — and they will — continue to remind your business partners how important their relationship is to you. You are there for them. The weekly or biweekly check-in should never be a condition of market volume. You have your clients’ and referral partners’ backs, and they will have yours. That is the reward for thoughtful business relationships. ●


  • Laura Brandao

    Laura Brandao is chief growth officer and a partner at mortgage lender EPM, where she oversees operations and business development. She also serves as the CEO of Lighthouse Lending Capital, a new division of EPM that specializes in unique loan programs and private lending. She serves with several organizations dedicated to lifting others, including as chair of the visionary program for the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA) and on the Mortgage Bankers Association of New Jersey’s women's committee.

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