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Why You Need a Loan Partner and How to Best Support Them

I sat down recently with my friend, Erica Homefield, co-host of the Loan Officer Success podcast, to talk about loan partners.

Erica works with us here at The Freedom Club and she does this very unique thing that’s been incredibly helpful for all of us. It’s called Loan Partner University, and they get together with a group of loan partners every other Wednesday.

Loan Partner University accomplishes two really great things: it makes loan partners better at their jobs, which is a huge benefit for us loan officers. And it provides the loan partners with a community of people they can share with and learn from.

It’s a win-win for all of us.

What Does a Loan Partner Do?

Erica’s definition of an ideal loan partner is someone who keeps the loan officers out of the file so that they can go out and shake more hands and kiss more babies. Someone who works with processing contract to close, someone who owns their role and says, “Get out of here. Go get more business. I’ve got this.” 

A lot of loan officers try to micromanage their help, and that’s super counterproductive. You hired this person so you could focus on money-making activities. Let them do their job. I’ve always believed in surrounding myself with strong people who chase me out of the office. That’s how things get done.

There will usually be a bit of a learning curve when you hire a loan partner, but it’s best to hire someone who knows what they’re doing. The goal is for them to take things off your plate, not ask you questions all the time. We hire people with amazing personalities who can learn quickly. The first thing we do is get them up to speed on keeping the loan officer out of the file and owning all the things the loan officer doesn’t want to do. Once they get that in hand, we can really work with them on the scripting and the ability to bring more business in. 

The loan partner’s job is to be absolutely invaluable to a loan officer, to make the loan officer break out in a cold beat of sweat with the thought of them leaving. When you make yourself valuable, everybody wins. 

Creating a Much-Needed Community for Loan Partners

I’d never thought about the fact that, as a general rule, loan partners don’t really have a community. They’re kind of lost on the island. When they have questions, they have to ask the loan officer, because who else would they ask? With Loan Partner University, they have their own community where they can share ideas and bounce questions off of each other.

Erica meets with loan partners (our preferred term for loan officer assistants) every other Wednesday and creates this community for them. It’s a place where they can talk to other loan partners about what’s working and what’s not working. 

Not every loan partner is in sales, so sometimes they have difficulty stepping up to the plate and owning their role with confidence. Loan Partner University works with them on that.

Erica starts each class with a similar introduction because they have new loan partners on every call. She says, “First of all, give yourself a pat on the back because your loan officers can only be as good as they are because of you. You have such an important role.”

She works with them on their confidence and realizing what a big part they play in the business. She says, “First and foremost, your role is to keep your loan officers out of the file. Own it so that they can go out and bring in as much business as possible. But when you have bandwidth, here are some cool things that we can do to help bring more business in the door, because this is your job security.”

She’s not going into the day-to-day process of things. They work on that with each other. She works with them on confidence, mindset, knowing the Daily Success Plan, and the scripting to get more referrals. They’re not just holding down the fort, but bringing in more business. 

Loan Partners Are a Profit Center, Not an Overhead Expense

So many people know they need help, but they’re afraid to hire someone, afraid to commit to that extra cost of their salary. You hire them but then what if you can’t afford their salary? 

Sometimes it’s a control issue. A lot of people are control freaks and they have trouble letting go. We get it. This is your money, your livelihood. It’s scary to put your business in the hands of somebody else. Which is why it’s important that we’re qualifying our loan partner candidates to make sure they’ll exceed expectations. 

We’re looking for superior loan partners. You want someone who’s a 10. You can take a week-long vacation and come back to find they handled everything just fine and brought in more loans while you were gone.

Erica says it comes down to threshold vs. what we’re closing the door to. She gave me an example of someone she met during a strategy session who said she could handle seven loans from start to finish, doing all the prospecting and fulfillment herself. Erica told her, “Congratulations. That’s more than I can handle. But it’s not about what your threshold is. It’s what you’re closing the door to by not having this person here.” 

While you’re busy prospecting calls from 9am to 11am, your loan partner can be taking things off your plate. This gives you more time to bring in more loans. If they have time, they can also do things to help bring business in the door. That’s how they’re a profit center, not an expense.

Let’s say I’m paying my loan partner $4000 a month. And let’s say my average loan is $200,000 and I get $2000. All I have to do is bring in two more loans a month, and my loan partner is free. They don’t cost me anything. If their assistance is helping me ramp up two more loans, they’re worth it. If they’re not, then I probably got the wrong loan partner. As a general rule, I’ve found that a good loan partner helps bring in 5-7 more loans a month.

If your loan partner is helping you get 5 more loans a month, that’s $10k. You’re paying them $4k, which means you have an extra $6k a month in profit. And you’ve got way less headaches. It’s like the biggest no-brainer ever.

If you need to, at the beginning, you can share a loan partner with another loan officer. Then, when you’ve ramped up your business, you can have them all to yourself. Then, when you get even more loans coming in, you can add another loan partner to your team. I know zero loan officers working solo that are having their best months ever. The ones who are having their best months ever have help.

What Your Loan Partner’s Responsibilities Should Be

How do you decide what you do and what your loan partner does? We take it back to the Axe of Freedom where you make a list of all the things you’re currently doing day-to-day, then figure out what’s in your Triad of Awesomeness. 

  • What are you good at? 
  • What do you love? 
  • What makes the most money? 

If you’re doing anything that doesn’t fit within those three things, that’s something you can start handing off to a loan partner.

It’s important that your loan partners stay looped in on that Daily Success Plan so they can keep you accountable to do it and chime in where you can’t or shouldn’t. Loan partners can learn how to do the Tuesday Just Ask calls and become really great at them. 

On our Tuesday Just Ask calls, we’re updating everyone in contract with us—buyer or seller, borrower, co-borrower, title, company attorney. These people don’t get paid without you. They don’t get the keys without you. They need you. What better time to ask for something than when someone needs you?

These updates are giving people a peace of mind, an incredible experience that’s unheard of. What better time to plant seeds that we would love and appreciate working with anyone they know that might need our help with buying, refinancing, or selling? We’ve set this amazing expectation with the Tuesday calls—and we even go above and beyond—so now we can start asking for business from day one. We don’t have to wait for the closing when things are rushed and they just want to get out the door and into their home.

Erica brings up a great point that you need to introduce your loan partner to the people you’re working with. Some people just want to talk to the loan officer. You need to get out in front of that and hype up your loan partner. Like: “My gosh, I’m afraid to introduce you to Bob because once you meet him, you’re not even gonna wanna talk to me.” 

Start hyping them up to every person you talk to, letting people know that they’re an extension of you, that you couldn’t do it without them, that they’re your right hand. This will help you feel a lot more comfortable letting other people talk to them. So long as you have the right loan partner, then you’ll be able to start letting go. 

What If You Hire the Wrong Loan Partner?

Erica told me she’s had several people tell her lately that their loan partner is a six. Is it because you’re not letting go? Or do you not trust this person because they’ve shown you they can’t be trusted? You need a loan partner who will hold you accountable, make sure you’re not stuck doing things you don’t enjoy, and they should be bringing in more business. 

Set clear expectations. You deserve a superior loan partner. When you settle for less than that, you’re saying that’s what you deserve. 

Nobody likes the idea of letting someone go. But some of the biggest breaks in my life happened when someone let me go from employment. The next thing led to the next thing to the next thing which led to the awesome opportunities I have today. If I hadn’t gotten fired from my egg washing job, imagine how different my life would be. 

When we hold on to someone who isn’t a good fit for the job, we’re keeping them from doing what they were meant to do. They just weren’t meant to be a loan partner. They have a different journey to go on.

I hope this was helpful. If you’d like some help mapping out who does what in your business and how that all works, click here to set up your FREE strategy call.