MReport June 2021

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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M R EP O RT | 19 COVER FEATURE are outside of our control and how we handle these situations will determine success. M // What are 2-3 ways you believe the mortgage industry needs to innovate or evolve? MIKHAIL // I believe one of the opportunities the industry has is to reevaluate how appraisals are conducted. Appraisers now have access to more databases than ever before; they can use these platforms to effectively access and opine a home value without inspecting the property in person. If this process becomes standard practice, it will expedite the time spent during the appraisal process and provide a higher level of customer service for all consumers. Michael Oursler COO, NewDay USA M // What is the best career advice you have received during your time in the mortgage industry and why? OURSLER // Always have the confidence to surround yourself with people smarter than you. Because our industry is incred- ibly complex and constantly evolving, it is impossible for one person to be an expert at every- thing. Relying on people smarter than you is a sign of strength, not weakness. M // What advice would you pass on to someone entering the mortgage industry? OURSLER // The mortgage industry is a key pillar to the U.S. economy, and there are multiple facets behind its impact. To become the most effective mortgage banker, learn as much as you can about as many differ- ent facets as possible. M // What are 2-3 ways you believe the mortgage industry needs to innovate or evolve? OURSLER // 1. We need to get better at pro- cess efficiency. On average, it still takes over 30 days to close a mortgage. While there have been significant improvements recently, there are still more technological advancements we can use to collapse this timeframe. 2. On that note, our industry needs to focus more on the customer lifecycle. Most bor- rowers experience multiple platforms when going from applicant to mortgage customer to servicing customer. They should only need to experience one. Shashank Shekhar Founder & CEO, Arcus Lending M // What is the best career advice you have received during your time in the mortgage industry and why? SHEKHAR // I think the best career advice was from Tim Davis. He's at Movement Mortgage now, but he was a marketing coach back in 2009. Back then, I was new to the country, I didn't know anyone, and I was struggling. In the first 12 months of my career, I'd closed only seven loans. Tim told me that instead of focusing on small tactics, I should focus on building a brand where clients see you as an expert. That's the advice that he gave me early and said that very few people do it, if any, at all in the mortgage industry. He advised me to write blogs and possibly a book, look at social media—things that very few people were doing then. I also read a book by Jeffrey Gitomer, called The Sales Bible. Gitomer says that to be consid- ered an expert, you should either speak or write. Thankfully I did both. I started first writing blogs and then started speaking at real estate offices, boards, and confer- ences. Then I realized that if you can combine speaking and writ- ing with being featured in the media, then you build a personal brand, like no one else. M // What advice would you pass on to someone entering the mortgage industry? SHEKHAR // Work on your personal branding. Even before that, I tell people to come in with the right mindset. I think this industry from the outside looks like an industry where easy money can be made. "Oh, you can make an easy $5,000, $6,000 per transaction, just look at my friend from high school, he's already making like six figures." That misconception is why my biggest advice to anyone entering the businesses is that you have to come with the mindset that this is probably one of the most competitive industries to be in. It's so important to come in with that mindset, so then you will bring the necessary work ethic, and you will bring the discipline. Furthermore, you will bring your strategy to match that. If you come in with the mindset that this is going to be easy money, you would get disappointed and distracted early because you come in and you don't see any easy money. Then you either leave the industry or, worse, you stay as a below-average performer for decades. Yes, that's the reason that you meet people who have been in the business 20 years and still struggle to consistently close two, three loans a month. M // What are 2-3 ways you believe the mortgage industry needs to innovate or evolve? SHEKHAR // I'm very passionate about consumer experience in the mortgage business. That's some- thing where we, as an industry, have failed with our consumers. I know we are heavily regulated and there are some things that are beyond our control, but the industry itself has taken a long time to evolve into where we are. Some of the things that we do right now, we could have done five years back. And some things that we are working on putting in place four or five years down the road are things we should be working on today. We have this mindset that closing in 45 days is not a big deal. We still continue to average over 40 days on closing for the home purchase, and about 35 days for refinanc- ing. That's inexcusable where we are in terms of the consumer journey. I'm not saying that we need to close in seven days. A lot of people buying the home don't even want to close in seven days, because the sellers need to vacate the home, you need to prepare for moving, etc. But there is no reason for us to take 45 days. The second place where I think we have failed the consumers is the enormity of requirements from them: the entire task of getting the documentation and information. We have not taken it upon ourselves, and why not? The technology already exists to automatically verifying income and employment and credit and liabilities and assets, all of that can be done. Just because we have

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