Residential Magazine

The Drive to Get Better Starts Within

Mortgage originators need to put in the work to stay ahead in a challenging industry

By Mat Ishbia

You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. It’s a saying that applies whether you’re a loan originator, an athlete or an artist. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing your job or how skilled you are — you can always learn something new.

Those who are continuously looking to improve are in a better position to succeed than those who think they’ve got it all figured out. This is especially important in the mortgage industry, where there’s always competition for business and things are always changing.

When a borrower is shopping for a mortgage, they want to work with somebody who is a knowledgeable resource they can count on to help guide them through every step of the process. Mortgage brokers are personalized-financing shoppers, licensed experts and true advisers who can walk a borrower through the biggest financial transaction of their life.

Brokers and loan officers who want to be that knowledgeable resource have to put in the work to become masters of their craft and then stay on top of their game. Here’s some practical advice to accomplish that.

Changing landscape

In the mortgage business, the technology landscape is ever changing. There’s always a new tool, service or advancement that is making the loan process more seamless for originators and borrowers. Originators who stay ahead of the curve on these enhancements have the upper hand on the competition because they’ll be able to deliver a faster, easier experience.

It’s not enough to simply “know your stuff.” Mortgage brokers have the upper hand because they partner with wholesale lenders who are nimble and have great technology, so you should ensure you are working with lenders who will not only provide you with access to new technology, but also will take the time to train you to use it.

Get familiar with local real estate agents through social media and real estate websites, and cultivate relationships with agents who are involved with loans in your current pipeline. Then educate those real estate agents on why mortgage brokers are the best business partners.

Real estate professionals need to understand that mortgage brokers can close loans just as fast, if not faster, than online lenders because of all the technology and personalized service they have access to through their wholesale lending partners. It’s up to brokers to educate real estate professionals on the benefits they provide and why those advantages are important.

Prepare and practice

Prepare questions and practice before you call. Championship teams put in hours of practice before they step onto the court or field. Brokers and loan officers should think the same way when it comes to their business. When you’re calling real estate agents, ask about the types of buyers and properties they work with to understand more specifically what they need or expect from you.

 Better yet, find out how you can improve upon the service they’re already receiving or provide them with something they’re not currently getting. Originators who put in the work and prepare are setting themselves up to be successful.

Write down your goals and share them with others. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there? Some people don’t like to set goals because they’re afraid they might fall short. Brokers and loan officers who set monthly and annual goals are going to be successful because they have something to shoot for.

Don’t be afraid to set goals. Even if you miss them, you can learn from that experience and figure out what you have to do better the next time. Setting goals is a great way to make sure you’re constantly striving to get better.

Learn from others

One of the best ways to improve is to identify best practices from other loan originators and use those ideas to get better. The market share of mortgage brokers is growing and there’s an entire community of brokers who have come together to share ideas in an effort to empower each other and grow the wholesale channel.

Industry groups like the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME) have become great places for brokers to network and come up with new ways to help each other grow their businesses. There’s a huge opportunity for originators to learn from others in the industry by joining these groups, following and engaging with them on social media, and attending their events.

There are plenty of resources available for mortgage originators who are looking for ways to improve. Originators who want to continue their education can sign up for AIME workshops and its Fuse National Conference, or any other industry training classes. Brokers and loan officers also should subscribe to industry newsletters and social media pages to stay current on the latest trends and relevant market topics.

• • •

Becoming a better mortgage professional starts with making a commitment to get better every single day. The competition for business is only getting stronger. Brokers and loan officers who are truly invested in their future are always looking for ways they can improve and for new ideas that can help them win more loans to grow their business.

There are all kinds of resources out there for those who want to have a long and successful career as loan originators, and those tools are right at your fingertips. It’s up to you to take advantage.


  • Mat Ishbia

    Mat Ishbia is president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM). His company offers Success Track, comprehensive training in a series of courses for mortgage brokers, whether they’re new to the industry, transitioning to wholesale lending or looking for a resource for recent hires. One of the nation’s leading advocates for mortgage brokers, Ishbia has changed the lending platform, turning UWM into a $41 billion company and the No. 1 wholesale lender in the country. 

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