MReport February 2018

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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20 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE MReport/DSNewsAd.indd this to heart and adapting strate- gies to approaching clients. Importantly, as women increas- ingly exercise their economic independence, recognize that they want, like all buyers, to feel assured and confident when working with lenders. Ultimately, homeowners want to understand the process, have access to the best resources, and have an expe- rience that they can trust. If lenders understand their market and take proactive steps to be attuned to the sentiments and behaviors of the clients served, not only will the outcome be the success of a happy client, but a growing business as well. Insist on Embracing Digital Evolution I n an era of constant digital evo- lution, it is impossible to ignore how technology is continuing to grow and is an integral part of the industry. The next step to successful lending is technological education—for both professionals and their clients. Lenders, for instance, use technology to make mortgage applications easier and more efficient. A process that was typically known to be time consuming and paper intensive has evolved so that it can now be done online in minutes. What's more, there's still the ever-important option of having the help of an in-person mortgage expert, depending on the cus - tomer's preference. Incorporating technology, appropriately into businesses processes can create the perfect balance between ap- plying digital tools and engaging in person with clients. It's no secret that the lending in- dustry, for many reasons, has been slower to adopt technology even as it tries to simplify a traditionally paper-intensive process. However, the industry is now at an age where lenders can be part of the change. As approaches are modernized to work better with clients, let's also be mindful of how lenders can sharpen interpersonal skills to assure that clients feel comfort- able knowing that their lender fully understands their specific circumstances. Join Forces and Surpass Boundaries O n the surface, it might seem easier to tackle strategies and tactics alone. However, there is power in numbers. Work bet- ter together as collaboration is a key element for innovation and growth, and reaching one's full po- tential as a real estate professional. According to a 2013 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research titled, "Are Women More Attracted to Cooperation than Men?" women are skilled collabo - rators. In fact, this study revealed that women are inherently more open and more likely to work with others. This is something that leaders should inspire among employees because a diverse range of ideas from professionals of varying backgrounds brings inno - vation, distinction, and ultimately results to business endeavors. With the sheer number of women in the industry, there is tremendous opportunity to find mentors and mentees to learn from and work with. When lend - ers collaborate with others and are open to input, it breaks down barriers and allows the discovery of best practices and opportunities that can be career changing. Another way to work towards better collaboration is involvement in professional organizations. Expanding one's professional network is a great way to con - nect with others in the industry who aren't necessarily day-to-day coworkers. Mortgage professionals encounter countless professionals in other areas of expertise—which can be used for proficient advancement. For example, financial advisors and attorneys might be able to provide a different and helpful perspective when approaching business strate - gies and what can be offered to clients. Therefore, it is in mortgage professionals' best interest to look for involvement in a wide variety of professional organizations. Exceed Expectations A s the industry settles into a new year, mortgage profes- sionals must use their momentum to continue to be the forces to motivate and drive colleagues to success. Men and women alike can help each other by recogniz - ing their value and connecting one another with resources to continually challenge themselves to new standards of success. Bank of America, for instance, fosters an inclusive workplace where employees feel motivated and valued by working toward a diverse U.S. workforce that is more than 40 percent racially and ethni - cally diverse, along with a global employee population that is more than 50 percent female, includ- ing nearly 40 percent of its global management team. Additionally, Fortune magazine recently recog- nized Bank of America among the most diverse places to work. Whether it's through events and networking opportunities for employees, or offering affordable lending solutions and community engagement for clients, having substantive conversations about new approaches can motivate all of the industry to build a more empowered workplace. In the coming new year, let's demonstrate what the industry is capable of, not what's comfortable. Understand the people who are working to define new standards of success. Think about what can be done differently to educate oneself and reach greatness, while also helping others do the same. Consider how to renew profes - sional commitments through collaboration and channeling the energy of women empowerment to motivate diversity in the indus - try, and to continue to set new standards for achievement. ANN THOMPSON, SVP, Divisional Sales Executive, Bank of America, manages the Northern California Division for Consumer Lending, including 400 lending officers, in addition to their management team and support staff. The lending team originates approximately $10 billion in first and second mortgages for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch clients and also for clients introduced by real estate agents, builders, and previous clients. Thompson has enjoyed a 28-year career in banking, with a consistent emphasis in consumer lending, structured high net worth client lending, and commercial lending. Thompson serves on the Board of Trustees of the Oakland Museum of California and was named one of the "Bay Area's Most Influential Women in Business" by the San Francisco Business Times in 2016 and was added to their "Forever Influential" list in 2017. She lives in the East Bay with her husband of 30 years and has two sons. With the sheer number of women in the industry, there is tremendous opportunity to find mentors and mentees to learn from and work with.

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