MReport November 2021

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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22 | M R EP O RT FEATURE job. Perhaps you want to propose a new idea for generating business to your manager, only to stop yourself because you've realized your ideas will be shot down. If you're feeling this way, you know it's time to move. But where? What to Look for in a New "Home" F or many loan officers, the decision to move to a new company is easy. Perhaps it came with a promotion or the promise of more business opportunities. But given the aggressiveness with which lenders today are recruiting salespeople—especially high per- formers—it can be difficult for a loan officer to know whether they are making the right move. There was a time when most loan officers left companies simply for the opportunity to make more money. However, the profit motive is not as alluring as it once was. In fact, according to a 2019 Glassdoor survey of 5,000 people, 77% of respondents said a com- pany's mission and culture were very important considerations when applying for jobs. Younger people were even more motivated by culture: the survey found that millennials are more likely to prioritize culture above salary. What constitutes a good com- pany culture? I believe it's when team members do not compete against each other but work to- gether towards a common goal— such as making borrowers happy. A company with a strong culture is also a place where people feel trusted, valued, and supported in their ability to reach their highest potential. Creating that sort of positive environment comes from the top. Early in my career, I was lucky enough to work for someone who advised me to always maintain "an abundant mindset" and to be opportunistic. That advice has had an immense impact on the way I approach my work and how I manage people. Mindset is a critical component of success in business and in all aspects of life. Those with an abundant mindset maintain a positive at- titude and realize there is plenty of business for everyone. That positivity flows down the ranks and touches all employees. Another important thing to look for is an organization that helps its people maintain a healthy work-life balance. Traditionally, people attracted to sales careers have struggled with balancing their personal and professional lives and are prone to overworking themselves. Thankfully, there is a greater awareness today of the benefits of maintaining a healthy balance be- tween work and home, especially after a year of working remotely. What to Avoid B efore deciding on a move, it's critical to understand what's not working out with your cur- rent lender, so you know what to avoid at your next one. Most importantly, you'll want to steer clear of companies where people aren't happy and passion- ate about what they do. This may seem difficult to detect, as every lender looking to attract talented loan officers will want to put on its best face. For this reason, you may want to avoid companies that seem overly aggressive with their recruiting tactics. These companies often spend more energy bringing in new people than they spend making current employees happy. For the same reason, you'll want to avoid companies that aren't able to open their doors and show you all the different ways they help people reach their highest potential. Good, successful lenders give people the freedom to think outside the box and find new ways to build successful relationships with borrowers and referral partners. I would advise loan officers and branch managers consider- ing a new employer to look for a company that focuses on bringing teams and processes together to produce positive results. Seek out a company that makes its people feel empowered and valued. Personally, that is one of the best parts of my role. What really drives me is knowing that I'm able to help people realize all of their potential. In this day and age, it also makes little sense to switch to a lender that lacks a real commit- ment to DEI—diversity, equity, and inclusion. A quick way to tell whether a lender provides equal opportunities to all its people is to look at its leadership and managers. Do they reflect the rest of the company or its customers? It's important to ask what your prospective lender's DEI strategy is—or if they even have one. DEI is not just about creating a welcoming environment and equal opportunities for everyone, although these things are certainly important. A lender that commits itself to hiring people who reflect the borrowers it wants to serve is more likely to generate more business. Diversity among a com- pany's team members also creates an environment where a broader range of ideas can flourish, which can also help a company's bottom line. Tools for Success Y ou'll also want to find out how well a prospective employer is prepared to meet the needs of today's borrowers. It's critical for lenders to be able to provide both a high-touch customer experience as well as being able to deliver services digitally. The demand for digital mortgage processes accelerated during COVID-19. If you're look- ing to switch lenders, how well a company has navigated the pandemic should rank high in factors to consider. For example, did the company act quickly to set up employees working safely from home? And did it still close loans on time? It should go without saying that a good home for any mort- gage professional is a lender that provides the widest possible range of loan products, as well as the back-office support needed to help loan officers serve borrowers looking to finance their dream It's important to mention here that our industry is about to transition from a refinance market to a purchase market.

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