Residential Magazine

Mortgage Originators Need to Think Like Business Owners

Too many people in this industry see themselves as employees when they’re not

By Nathan Rufty

You are a licensed mortgage originator who generates your own loans. You are not receiving a 9-to-5 paycheck. You need to produce or you’re not getting paid.

Your company did not give you your license to conduct business within your state. You studied, took the test and paid the fees to obtain your license in order to quote rates, programs and have the ability to sign home-loan applications.

This is why you need to treat yourself as a business within a business. You chose this field. No one is going to drop loans in your lap. You must build your business to sustain a long and prosperous mortgage career.

You are the business, and your company where you hang your license is the facilitator of your business. Your company has the line you need to fund your purchase and refinance loans. Your company has developed a business plan to remain in business, and you must have the same strategy and thought process.

Expand your sphere

If you are waiting for business, you will be waiting a very long time. You need to build your business and develop systems that will generate leads and turn those into closed loans. Establish the strategies that will get your phone to ring and your e-mail inbox filled with prospects looking for your products and services.

Successful businesses have and will continue to develop revenue streams to ensure their longevity and sustainability. For a mortgage originator, that could be sending out direct-mail flyers, creating an internet presence and building a client-retention plan, such as a discount for returning clients. Areas where an originator can generate leads include affiliate partners, your sphere of influence and local business organizations.

Affiliate partners can be real estate agents; divorce attorneys; tax preparers; CPAs; insurance brokers; escrow officers; furniture (indoor and outdoor) sales associates; laborers, such as electricians, plumbers, roofers and even people who work for pool companies; and landscape-design businesses. These partners can land you leads when they hear of someone who needs a home loan.

Explore how you and your partners can benefit from each other’s services. Also, listen to your borrowers. Why are they seeking to refinance? Is it to redo the roof, or to build an addition onto their home? Or maybe they’re putting in a pool? If so, refer them to one of your vetted affiliate partners to obtain a quote.

You have a bigger sphere of influence than you think. Write down the name of everyone you know. You may be surprised at how big your list is. Next to their name write down the business they are in (if you know it) to draw connections that benefit your business and theirs. Reach out to people on this list to let them know what you do, and let them know that you are looking to make connections to anyone in their sphere of influence, such as their family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. You don’t know how many of these people are looking for home loans or considering refinancing a home.

Seek out local organizations that you can join that would benefit your career. Organizations can include Business Network International (BNI), Toastmasters International, any chamber of commerce or Rotary group, or any real estate professional groups. is a service that allows people with similar interests to connect online and in person.

Do your research to see which organizations best fit your personality and which ones you can have the biggest impact on. This isn’t a one-way street. Many of the professionals in these groups also need referrals, so be prepared to contribute at each meeting.

Cultivate an online presence

Most originators want to establish an online presence. That is where marketing seems to be headed. But this is a constantly moving and evolving space.

Originators should be wary of overwhelming themselves. Start off by selecting one platform at a time to launch your social media efforts. Good places to begin are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google My Business or YouTube.

One of the most effective strategies that you can undertake is to create a website. With a website you are able to host a blog, post videos and other content. A well-run website that draws people in will help you dominate your local mortgage market and create an audience for your loan products.

Direct mail is an effective marketing tool. Can you remember a time within the last month that you checked your mailbox and did not have any mail? Direct mail has a better return on investment than print media. With direct mail you can target renters when their lease is about to expire or existing homeowners who have an adjustable-rate mortgage that’s coming up, or who have a good amount of equity in their property and might be looking for a second mortgage.

Originators also need to use their databases to reach out to past clients. Finding new prospects this way is a must. These borrowers should be in your customer- relationship management (CRM) system and/or Excel spreadsheet.

Reach out to them on the anniversary of their escrow-close date, birthday, wedding anniversary and/or some important moment in their career. Once these dates come up, reach out to your borrower with a card, e-mail, text or a phone call. Do not overlook these touch points; this attention to detail will secure a referral and bolster your business plan.

• • •

You are a business within a business. And business is constantly changing. If one development plan does not work, shift to a new one that will have a different result.

The first quarter is coming to an end. It’s time to assess your business-development plan for the remainder of the year. Evaluate how your business has been doing in the last three months, and adjust your efforts on what is working and discontinue those efforts that are not.


  • Nathan Rufty

    Nathan Rufty is a mortgage coach and trainer with Mortgage Marketing Pros, a company that works with loan officers to develop marketing plans that increase leads and closed loans. Mortgage Marketing Pros was created by a producing loan officer and a master marketer to teach mortgage professionals how to create their own businesses without relying so much on one or two streams that can dry up without warning.

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