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How Loan Officers Can Lead with Purpose

As loan officers who are also leaders, we don’t just want to lead for the sake of leading. Our ultimate goal should be to lead with purpose. My friend, Kevin Glassby, is the perfect example of someone who leads with great purpose—and helps others do the same.

Kevin is a dear friend of mine who has been in the mortgage business for over 30 years. He has led two large mortgage companies with hundreds of loan officers doing over $3.5 billion a year. He’s one of my partners in the Freedom Club and leader of the Branch Manager Academy, a high-level organization within the Freedom Club. 

In the Branch Manager Academy, Kevin leads and teaches mortgage brokers, lenders, and bankers who are doing hundreds of millions of dollars in business. Several of them have passed the billion dollar mark. It’s a pretty incredible group. Read on to see if you’d be a fit. At the very least, you’ll be inspired to lead and grow. 

Bridging the Management Gap

Kevin says that a lot of us become managers, not because we’ve been trained to be great leaders, but because we do great volume. We think we can just sit back, hire a bunch of people, and relax. But that’s not the case. We have to know how to lead well and with purpose.

When you were working for somebody else, you had your boss above you, but you were a little higher than your fellow employees. You stood out. That’s what made you either go into business for yourself or got you promoted to regional or branch manager. You’re not better than the people below you; they just didn’t want it as bad as you. 

As a manager, you’ve got a whole list of things you’re responsible for. How do you create a vision, reach your objectives, and get your team on board? You can’t do all this yourself and have a quality of life. You need to be able to lead people to be accountable and follow you to places they wouldn’t normally go on their own. 

How do you get people to realize how amazing and capable they are? How do you convince them that you believe in them even before they believe in themselves? That’s a big part of what we do as managers as well. They have to want to be a successful loan officer, and they have to believe they can do it.

Balancing the Different Aspects of Management

Kevin says there are two tracks to management. The first one encompasses all of the executive functions—pricing, product knowledge, processes, solving problems, etc. Then there are the leadership issues—strategies, presentation, process improvement, planning, people development, and inspiration. 

When he was COO of a large organization, he knew they needed training for people who had little to no experience as a leader but were moving into management. For the typical leader, there are a lot of moving parts. You really need to learn how to get above the business and focus on the key issues. When you’re trying to focus on everything all at once, you lose focus on the important things. You have to be able to outline what’s key and prioritize.

Every mortgage business has three segments:

  1. sales and marketing
  2. operations
  3. finance

If any of these three are out of balance, then you’re in trouble. You’ve got to have strategies in place to get each one moving in tandem with the others. You don’t need shiny whistles and magic beans. You need to run your brand efficiently.

How Do You Apply Industry Best Practices?

Kevin has a whole list of questions we should be asking ourselves as loan officers who lead. These are the questions you’ll walk through as a student in the Branch Manager Academy. Questions like: what strategies do you have for recruiting? What does your file flow look like? 

What is your process for management? A management process is where you have a shared vision for everybody, you get the right people in the right seats, have dashboards in place, work on your process flows, solve problems. Is your management process working smoothly and effectively?

Have you done a market analysis? 

  1. Do you know where you’re at, what your demographics are? 
  2. How many qualified real estate agents are in your area? 
  3. What vertical markets can you go deep in? 
  4. Which niches are less price competitive? 
  5. What can you create in the market to differentiate? 

What’s your revenue strategy growth? In the leadership mindset, how do you create franchise value? When the stock market is looking to invest in companies, they want to know if this company will continue to grow. 

More Important Questions to Consider

Do you want a business that can still run without you, so you can take a month off in Europe or whatever? I know so many stories of loan officers taking a month off to be with their family, and the following month is their best month ever. If you go on vacation and don’t have to answer the phone or reply to emails, and closings still happen, you’ve got a business. Otherwise, you’ve just got a high-paying job.

In the Branch Manager Academy, Kevin is big on teaching people how to understand their financials. You can plug in numbers and figure out if your loan officers are making you money or costing you money. What’s your pricing strategy? What are your risks? He teaches about secondary marketing and how to explain it to your team. How to price and win in different markets and how to handle price exceptions. How to get aggressive on bigger loans. Getting more revenue per loan is a game-changer.

You need to build a process flow for your whole operation from the way the phone gets answered to the way your loan officer assistants are working to processors and contract-to-close specialists. When do you get an ops manager? How do you build bench strength in case someone goes on vacation or maternity leave or quits? 

How do you train people and set up accountability? How do you train your salesforce on effective strategies? How do you manage your conversion rates? How do you get your team to overcome call resistance? 

Recruiting is a big one. Where do you find great loan officers? How do you get an appointment with them? What do you say during that initial conversation? How do you get them on board? He also has strategies for onboarding, for bringing new people up to speed in the first 60-90 days. 

Leading at the Highest Level

I’ve learned so much from Kevin about running a successful mortgage branch, more than I’ve learned from everyone else combined. He has taught me how to attract the top loan officers. As long as you’re competitive, the bps aren’t the secret sauce that brings them in. I always thought that, if you throw dollars at these people, they would come. But there’s a much better way than that. 

When you onboard the right way, and get your operating system to a place where it’s more manageable, you get better execution. You can leverage yourself and simplify things and delegate so that you can predict the short-term and long-term and crystallize your vision. It’s all about having a vision, a plan of how to get there, loan officer strategies, and a process. Process creates consistency which allows you to replicate and scale.

We all spend a third of every day at work. And we all want to feel like we’re contributing towards something more than ourselves. This gives your organization longevity. You’ve got to create this compelling vision and be able to communicate it in a way that aligns with people’s core values, so they get it, and everybody starts rowing in the same direction toward a common goal.

How do you find that top 5%? They have to have the right attitude and values, buy into your vision, and have the capacity to hit the targets and meet their loan officer goals. Kevin’s branch implements accountability charts, rating systems, and data dashboards to predict what’s needed, adjust ahead of time, and find the people they need. They have a process for resolving problems—identifying them and prioritizing them. Communication among team members is also a key. You can have a process so everyone is informed of what’s going on, and everyone feels like an important part of the organization. 

These are all things you learn in the Branch Manager Academy. We do a group call once a month. In between those calls is a meeting with a smaller group of 3-4 people doing the same amount of business as you. Then there are one-on-one calls with me and Kevin too. We’ve found that these smaller groups have been so helpful. When you hang out with high-level people, one person can ask a question, and everyone benefits. It’s small enough that you have a voice, but big enough that you’re also getting some great support. It’s really powerful. There are no jerks allowed. Everyone is so generous and helpful. 

One mistake I made years ago is thinking that all great salespeople make a great branch manager. No. It takes training and hanging out with other great leaders to help you hone your skills and teach you things that don’t come intuitively to everyone. The Branch Manager Academy is just the training and support and community you need. 

If you’d like to know more about the Branch Manager Academy to see if it’s a fit for you, we’d love to chat with you. Schedule a FREE call with us TODAY.