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How Loan Officers Can Avoid the Job Change Mistake

Last year, 44% of all loan officers changed companies. That’s a lot of loan officers. In my humble opinion, I think they should have read this blog post before they made the move (wink). I’ve always shied away from this topic, but I’ve realized I’m doing people a big disservice by avoiding it.

I sat down recently with my dear friend, Owen Lee, CEO of a mortgage company and a really super smart guy, to talk about changing companies in this challenging environment. Owen and I both want to help people make good decisions—and avoid making mistakes. 

If Owen had to distill his advice into one sentence, it would be this one: 

figure out a way to make your current situation work. 

It’s no small feat to go from one company to the next. There’s a lot of logistical work and a lot of downtime from your marketing. If you’re able to find a groove where you are right now, that usually ends up being the best decision. If you do decide to change companies, be smart about it. And let us help you.

Play the Long Game, Not the Short Game

First, the elephant in the room. If somebody’s thinking about moving companies, as soon as they get on the call with another company, what’s the first thing they’re going to ask? 

What are your rates? 

Rates are obviously important. We don’t pretend they aren’t. You do need to talk to the company about rates, but just be cautious. There are a lot of games being played with rates in the recruiting arena right now. In 2020-2021, we had the best market in 20 years. Now we have the fastest run-up in rates in almost 40 years.

Rate is important, but it’s temporarily of outsized importance. There are other things more important to your long-term success. Rates will level out. If you’re hoping to make a long-term move, maybe even a permanent one for the rest of your career, don’t let rates be your driving force. It’s not what will set loan officers up for success over the next two to four years. 

When I first started out in the mortgage business, my email address had “the lowest rate” in it. My business coach saw it and said, “Carl, that’s not the way you want to advertise your business. You’re racing to the bottom.” 

Take a longer view. What solves a problem today, immediately, might not be the problem that needs to be solved a few months from now. Moving companies is difficult. You want to minimize the amount of times you do it over the course of your career. 

Make Sure the New Company Is Invested In Your Future

If I decide I really need to make a change, what do I ask a potential new company or a recruiter? Owen says the number one thing to look at is: 

is this company invested in my future success? 

Are you and this company aligned in what your future success looks like? Will you have a loan officer assistant/loan partner? Will they give you one right away or will you have to “earn” it? 

I want them to already have one in place. I can’t change the culture of a company. We need to already be aligned. I don’t want to teach them about loan partners. I don’t want to be blazing new trails. I want to be riding down an interstate where loan officers before me are already winning.

I found out early in my career that I’m not the best HR person. Even though I know what to look for, I tend to hire people that I like, not people with the best skill set and experience. So Diane and Tammy do that for me. I still want it to be someone I like, but that’s not the sole basis of hiring them. 

You don’t want to have to hire your own assistant. Anything that takes you as a loan officer off of sales and onto building a team, that’s a very expensive process (time and money). You want to go somewhere that already has the team in place and ready to roll.

Technology Is Important

The technology coming down the pike today is absolutely amazing. Owen says that technology should be at/near the top of your list of what you’re looking for in future success. Properly implemented, technology will arm loan officers who use it to get in front of people much sooner, much faster. 

Technology works best, Owen says, when the different technologies talk to one another. You want to go with a company that has an integrated system that’s designed to help you get to the customers first, before they even have a mortgage need. 

Number one, you’ve got to have a great CRM. Owen’s company uses Total Expert. Along with the CRM, they use Sales Boomerang, software that monitors people in your database to find folks who might have a mortgage opportunity. Maybe they listed their house or their credit score increased. You get these alerts and your CRM can send them custom communications over a period of time, all without a human having to do anything.

Then there’s a product called Mortgage Coach. A lead can come into the Total Expert hub from Sales Boomerang, and it will send a pre-programmed total cost analysis to that person. 

If the company you’re thinking about going to is invested in your success, they’ll have technology available to you that’s integrated and working in the background on your behalf. Look for a company that’s buying, adopting, implementing these technologies, tying them together, so that they can operate for you and act as a tailwind to your success.

Remember, you don’t want a company that’s open to these technologies. You want them already in place and running. “What’s your tech stack?” is a good question to ask. “What technologies do you use?” And even more importantly, “How are they integrated so they’ll work automatically for me?”

Is the Company Culture a Good Fit?

This has become a bit of a buzzword, but it doesn’t mean it’s not important. How do you ascertain if a company culture is a good fit for you?

Owen says it comes back to alignment. Are they invested in your success? A company that’s truly invested in your success is more likely to have a great culture. In his company, they measure it by little things. Example: they don’t allow third emails. If you’re emailing with an operational employee and it’s not worked out in two emails, you pick up the phone and have a conversation.

You want the company to value the things you value. Do they care about the time you spend with your loved ones? Are they working you 80 hours a week or do you have time to rest and rejuvenate? 

Another way to see what the culture is all about is asking what kind of events the company holds. Do they have a charitable heart? Do they give back? How are they involved in the local community?

Owen also asks for a list of people who have worked there and how long they’ve worked there. If the list is short, that might mean trouble. If the list is long, you’ve got a better chance of having a great culture, because they’re not policing who you can talk to.

To sum it up:

  1. Rates are important, but take a long-term view.
  2. Make sure they have a system of help in place.
  3. Technology is very important.
  4. Make sure it’s a good culture fit.

With all that said, if there’s a way to make your current job situation work, it’s always going to be your best bet.

If you’d like some help figuring out how to find success at your current job, we’d love to help you map out a plan. Click HERE to schedule a FREE call TODAY.