MReport November 2022

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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32 | M R EP O RT FEATURE lationship based. People fluent in any language still need helpful ex- pertise when it comes to buying a home. Lenders seeking to serve the LEP market would do well to hire more than a couple of bilingual LOs or freshen up their non-English marketing flyers. Strategy and Leadership W hile there are certain- ly technologies, service providers, and other sources of help available for lenders seeking to beef up their LEP capabilities, it starts—as does almost any- thing when it comes to process change—at the top. We've seen "marketing campaigns" for non-English speaking markets in the past that amounted to little more than puffery or token com- mitments. Serving the LEP market requires positioning, resources, leadership, and execution, much like implementing a new LOS or launching a TPO platform. The mortgage lender seek- ing to credibly and effectively position itself to serve the LEP community needs to start with a careful strategy. Consulting with peers, community leaders, and even third-party consultants would be a great start for lenders lacking LEP expertise in-house. Furthermore, just as a region- al bank carefully researches a potential new geographic market, a lender seeking to make LEP service a priority should do the same. Research the community and the culture. Understand the patterns of LEP consumers at all levels of purchase and investment. And have systemic and contin- uous QC protocols in place as well. Past, half-hearted efforts to enter LEP communities have been known to accidentally trip over cultural nuances or even a clear understanding of the language. Building an LEP initiative or strat- egy on the back of a few multi- lingual employees or a translation app is not the recipe for sustain- able success. A Long-Term Solution, Not a Quick Fix N aturally, any LEP-based strat- egy will require budgetary allocations that go beyond start-up and consider the requirements for continuous operation over the long-term. This is no more a one-off process than any initiative designed to kick off a platform or service that will eventually sustain itself and drive revenue. No bank seeking to build new branches in a geographic market where they previously had no presence would budget only for kick-off, then leave those branches to fend for themselves. The same holds true for a lender seeking success in the LEP market. Again, a mortgage originator hoping to woo the LEP market will need robust resources to do so. Research and comprehensive, well-planned marketing are a good start. The lender will also need systemic resources such as technology and qualified staffing in order to make the entire ap- plication and borrowing process, including support, easily accessible to an LEP borrower (application to closing and beyond). But none of these investments will be suc- cessful without strong execution. That means having a transparent strategy from the top-down, doc- umented and made clear to the entire organization. That means continuous training and oversight as well as clearly defined metrics. And it means consistent manage- ment at all levels to ensure contin- uous quality and improvement. Finally, the mortgage lender seeking to successfully incorporate the LEP market needs to have a clear vision. Rolling out an ad campaign with the long-term goal of recouping lost revenues until the next refinance wave comes along brings the potential for nu- merous and disastrous shortfalls and even total failure. Again, entering (or seeking to build a stouter presence in) the LEP market is little different, in terms of planning and execution, from deciding to enter the wholesale lending business or expanding the geographic footprint. However, the potential for significant and sustainable success is very appar- ent. This is a market that is only likely to continue growing for the foreseeable future. It probably won't involve a dramatic recon- figuration of the lender's product mix. What it will require, howev- er, is commitment, investigation, and execution. It's no coincidence that these are the requirements for success in just about any new venture. GEORGE BAKER is the Founder and CEO of Talk'uments. Baker has over 30 years of mortgage experience in all facets of mortgage lending, especially loan production. He developed Talk'uments in 2016 to meet an emerging need for lenders to address compliance costs as well as to help them to better service a rapidly-changing customer demographic. Learn more at Talkuments. com, or contact him at GBaker@ Rolling out an ad campaign with the long-term goal of recouping lost revenues until the next refinance wave comes along brings the potential for numerous and disastrous shortfalls and even total failure.

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