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How to Avoid Loan Officer Burnout

The topic of burnout is a big one, especially in this day and age during an unprecedented global pandemic. One of the best parts of being a loan officer is that we get to see what all our clients do for a living and how much they make. When you see how hard some people have to work for their money, it really makes you thankful for the career you chose. It’s a hard gig to beat.

So, when we talk about burnout as a loan officer, it’s not that we don’t love what we do. It’s just that we’ve been running a marathon and could really use a glass of water. We need a break so we don’t get burned out. A fellow loan officer named Lauren Sandovall reached out to me on Facebook recently and asked me if I’d address the topic of burnout. I said absolutely and enlisted her help.

What the Pandemic Has Meant for Loan Officers

Lauren has been a loan officer for three years in beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was a manager for Helzberg Diamonds for several years before she was enticed into working in mortgage. She has loved it ever since.

Lauren and her team spent the first six months of the pandemic facing a new pain point every single month. She doesn’t need to know how to get more home loan leads. She’s got the opposite problem. Her team wasn’t ready for the volume of new loans that came streaming in. She said they’ve had to work a lot of extra hours to get the loans in and out. Admittedly, it’s been hard to balance work and family. They’re waking up early, staying up late. It’s been a difficult adjustment, and she knows it’s not healthy or sustainable. 

I’ve told the story before about when my daughter was eight. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I felt like taking a ride. I asked her if she wanted to go. She said, “Sure. Do you need to make some phone calls?” She wasn’t snarky at all, just matter-of-fact.

It gutted me. It was a dagger in my heart. And that was the last time I ever made a work call when my wife or kids were in the car with me. Even when I’m by myself, I stay away from it. I want my family to always know they’re the most important thing to me. And I know Lauren wants that as well. It’s just a matter of how to make it happen. 

Like It Or Not, We Have to Get Help

When it comes to loan officer hours, none of us is at over-capacity. We’re only at under-help. People are hesitant to build up their team to match their right-now capacity, because they’re afraid things will slow back down again. Then you’ll have all these extra people, and then what will you do?

Let me tell you something. That’s not going to happen. This is our new normal. We don’t need to structure our business for when things start to slow down. We strategize and figure out what we need to do at this new level.

Lauren told me that her team is focused on purchases right now, not refis. New Mexico is one of the strongest markets in the U.S. for housing. So, their urgency is the houses that are currently on the market. They’re focusing on that, even though there’s so much refi opportunity, because if rates go back up and refi slows down, they want to make sure their realtor referral partners are still there.

We don’t want to have to choose between old and new clients, right? We don’t want to burn bridges with either group. Lauren told me she loves to talk on the phone. She feels this obligation, this personal sense of responsibility to talk to clients who say, “My mom said you’re the best person ever and that I should talk to you.” She’d talk to everyone if she could, but she can’t. So what does she need? How can she take care of everybody at once?

She needs more help. She needs more Laurens to talk to people on the phone, so that everyone is covered, everyone is taken care of. Lauren said she knows that’s the right answer, but it’s hard. She’s nervous about taking on more team members. She doesn’t trust that she can find someone who cares as much as she does. Can you relate?

Bob Can’t Unlock Your Car Right Now

I shared an analogy with Lauren that I think is really powerful. Let’s say you locked your keys in your car in the Home Depot parking lot, and it’s starting to rain. You call Bob the Locksmith who has gotten you out of this predicament two other times. Someone else answers the phone. You ask, “Can Bob come unlock my car?”

The person says, “Bob is with a new client at the moment, and they’re his priority right now. You can wait until tomorrow for Bob, or I could come right now. Which would you rather do?”

Listen, it’s raining, and you need in your car. As long as this person knows how to get you in your car, you don’t need them to be Bob, right?

One thing I realized, and it was breaking news when I first figured it out, is that nobody really wants to talk to Carl. They just want the money, the house, the savings. They want to play in the pool at their new house. Sure, they like me and think I’m a great guy, but they can talk to another loan officer just as well. When I get help: 

  1. my customers get what they need faster.
  2. my lovely wife gets me home at 5:00.
  3. I get to hire someone and give them an awesome opportunity.

You’re better off, your customers are better off, and your new employees are better off. You’re giving someone an opportunity to work with you and learn from you and elevate their game. And, listen, hiring people doesn’t mean that everything slows down for everyone else. Everybody has to earn their spot. If they don’t, I’ll let them go. They’ll find a good job somewhere else. 

The loan officer hours are burning Lauren out right now. She wants to be able to do it all. I told her she can. She just can’t do it alone. If you look at my calendar at five o’clock, it literally says go home. I go home and I recharge my batteries so that we’re ready to slay dragons the next day. Lauren is trying to save the world, and she really is a superhero, a wonder woman. She can just do so much more with help. A sidekick. Several sidekicks. She needs to get help, so she can help even more people.

A Great Big Thank You

Lauren is really great about taking time to show appreciation to her team and family and the people who show up for her every day. I love that. The biggest differences between top producers and the rest of people is a heart of gratitude. We didn’t earn this. It’s all grace. It’s our job to pay it forward. 

One of the ways I do that is to share the secrets of my success with other loan officers—for free. You can grow your business without burning out. I’d love to sit down and chat with you for a 45-minute strategy call to help you map out what you need to do to get you started down the path to loan officer freedom. Click here to schedule a call TODAY.

Read related article, “How Loan Officers Can Work Smarter, Not Harder” https://mortgagemarketinganimals.com/how-loan-officers-can-work-smarter-not-harder/#more-90960