Residential Magazine

More Movement at the Top Is Needed

The mortgage industry has ground to make up in opportunities offered to women

By Linda McCoy

Thirty years ago, few women occupied top leadership positions in the mortgage industry. Although things have improved, the industry as a whole still has a long way to go. Look around today and men still fill the top jobs at most mortgage companies. There needs to be a concerted effort to elevate women into leadership roles and recruit young professional women into the mortgage business. Why? Because women have the skill set to succeed in the mortgage industry and deserve the chance to do so.

Women aspire for greatness. They are willing to work as hard and as effectively as their male counterparts. But women definitely need to have a bigger voice in the industry’s future.

Take a look at higher education, the legal profession and politics. Other industries have shown a willingness to accept women at the highest levels of their professions. When they receive the opportunity, women quickly become top leaders.

Fulfilling occupation

Women early in their career should consider loan origination, underwriting, processing or other related tasks in the mortgage business. If you are a young woman who is searching for that perfect career, why would you choose the mortgage profession? There are plenty of reasons.
You can usually set your own hours, the pay is great, and you have the chance to be entrepreneurial and treat your career like you own your own business. Perhaps the most important thing is that you are helping others reach their dream of homeownership. In turn, you are enjoying a lucrative and personally fulfilling occupation.
You can deliver a service to people who need it. There are people who might not have the best credit profile. Maybe they believe all the myths about what it takes to get a mortgage or they don’t know where to start. They may even have had a bankruptcy in the past. In your career, you’ll find people who have tried to get a mortgage and have been turned away.
Everyone who walks through your front door or calls you on the phone has a different scenario. That’s a challenge, but you will never get bored. People are out there just waiting for the right mortgage professional to help them and you could be their point person.

Passionate mentors

Women have long been top mortgage originators, expert underwriters or first-class processors. Too often in the past, however, the door was closed for them to move beyond these roles in the mortgage ranks. Part of the reason for not having room to advance was a lack of women mentors.
This was simply a matter of numbers: There were too few women leaders. But that’s changing. The ones who have broken through to the top are passionate about helping other women rise to the top of the profession. They can reflect on their own struggles in fighting to rise to leadership positions.
Mentorship groups by women and for women are starting to emerge. These groups work toward the goal of assisting women to succeed in business and helping them achieve what they aspire. If you’re a woman who is new to the profession or looking to reach a higher level, you should consider joining one of these groups. They’re often free, and their only goals are to help you climb the corporate ladder or improve your skill set in your current position. These mentorship groups offer an excellent way to network with professionals who have been in your shoes. More women are getting involved in these groups every day.
Additionally, some of the oldest, most venerable associations in the mortgage industry are supporting women, embracing them for leadership roles, giving them a seat at the table and fostering an opportunity to succeed. The next generation of powerful female leaders in this industry will rise from these mentorship groups and other professional organizations.

Aspirations of greatness

Women aspire for greatness. They are willing to work as hard and as effectively as their male counterparts. But women definitely need to have a bigger voice in the industry’s future. And to do that, women need to help other women in this business.
It’s already happening as women are helping other women get a foot in the door and succeed once they’re here. Female leaders in the industry are looking to inspire, empower and share experiences with others. If you’re a woman who is new to the business, you should reach out and join a mentorship group or professional organization to further your development.
Conversely, if you’re a woman who has been in the industry for some time and have gained experience and skills, you should consider giving back to the next generation. Reach out to these groups to offer your voice and support for other women.
You could pursue any career in life. The reason to choose mortgage origination is to earn a strong income for your family while helping others reach their goal of owning a home. This is a wonderful profession and one that more women should consider. ●


  • Linda McCoy

    Linda McCoy is the owner of Mortgage Team 1 Inc. in Mobile, Alabama, and she is the immediate past president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB). She was the first woman elected as NAMB president in 25 years and helped to start Inspire, a women’s mentorship group. She has been in the mortgage industry since 1993 and started her own brokerage because she felt banks were not helping people who deserved a chance to buy a home. 

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