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What Does a Top-Producing Loan Officer’s Team Look Like?

My friend Steve Kyles and I sat down recently to talk about what a team looks like for a top producer. We each have a mortgage branch, and we operate in some similar ways and do some things differently as well. Let’s walk through some of those together.

How Many Team Members Do You Need?

The number of team members you need depends on how much business you’re doing—and how much you want to be doing. Kevin Gillespie, one of our coaches in the Freedom Club, taught me that, for every five loans I do each month, I need one FTE (full-time employee). This doesn’t count me, the branch manager. This is loan processors, loan officer assistants, and someone in an administrative position. 

If Bob and Sue work together at a branch, and they’re each at five loans a month, they can share an assistant. When I talk about handling 10 loans, I’m talking about, once a contract comes in, they handle it from soup to nuts. 

If I’m closing 25 loans a month, I would need either four or five employees. I don’t like the number to get too much above seven loans per employee. I’ve heard people say, “My processor can close 40 loans,” and they’re kind of bragging about it. If that’s the case, then a couple things are going wrong here

#1: you’re going to burn your processor out, and they’re going to leave you. They’re going to go work for someone else. 

#2: your support team—your processes and loan partners—are talking to your borrower, your co-borrower, your listing agent, your buying agent, the title company, the insurance company, the attorneys. They’re talking to all those people. They’re so buried. You should be bringing in at least enough loans to cover their salary. For us, employees are not overhead; they’re a profit center. 

Why Do You Need So Many People?

Our processors are asking for business when they’re calling and updating the listing agent. The reason why they’re reading that loan officer script and bringing in even more loans is because they have the bandwidth to do it. You don’t close more loans by working people harder. If you’ve got that person stretched so thin, working on 25-30 deals, they’re going to discourage more deals. Even if they love you, even if they’re amazing, their plate is too full. You’re burning them out, exhausting them. When they go home, they’re too tired to even spend time with their families. Not cool.

The great processors want to work hard, but then go engage with their families. They don’t drive like we do. We’re the ones making the money we’re making because we drive drive drive. They’re driven by quality of life and purpose. They want to make a difference in being a culture and a community. We fight harder for our own babies. Our processors care, and they’re fiercely loyal, but they won’t fight for our company like we will. They’re loyal to me, because I fight for them. 

How Do You Decide Who Does What On Your Team?

I made a list of things I don’t like doing. It didn’t matter what was on it. I didn’t care if it was things people thought I should be doing. If I didn’t want to do it, it went on the list. It’s your story, and you can write it how you want it. You’re the director, or the lead actor, and you look for supporting actors in your story. 

Believe me, it was a long list. The list of things I did like was really short, but I really did like doing those things. My ad said, “I’m looking for someone to:”

  • #1 thing I don’t like doing
  • #2 thing I don’t like doing
  • #3 thing I don’t like doing
  • #4 thing I don’t like doing
  • Etc etc etc 

In the beginning, I did everything. But the first thing we do really quickly is find the next person so we can get those things we don’t like to do off our plate. And we can stay focused on the activity that brings in more of the business. When you’re doing the right thing, and your help is doing the right thing, you can get even more help and keep carving off the things you don’t like as your team grows.

Steve says your team grows based on two indicators: lead indicators and lag indicators. Lead indicators are: am I getting enough leads coming in? We’re talking good, quality leads from your realtor referral partners. Then your lag indicators are what funded this month, which supports your growth. If you’ve got 100 leads coming in, but you’ve only closed 3 loans this month, there’s a big disconnect. 

Measure those two—the leads you’re getting and the loans you’re closing. Then find the gap. Is it marketing? Is it sales fulfillment? Do I have a broken process of what happens when the lead or the referral comes in? Is it operations? When I get the loans in the pipeline, do they fall apart and we miss closing? Is it finance? Am I just not profitable? Then you can begin to build a bullseye and say, here’s what I’ve got to work on. 

Someone Needs to Answer the Phone

One last thing that’s absolutely necessary for your team is that someone answers the phone. A real live human being. It doesn’t have to be you. It’s actually best if it’s not you. Let’s say you’re talking with a referral partner, and your phone rings. Are you going to disrespect the referral partner or the person who’s calling and trying to give you money? You don’t have to disrespect either of them. 

It’s such a simple solution. You can hire someone for a very low price. They don’t have to be in your area. You can use RingCentral or Elevate. Or you can send calls to Voice Nation. For less than $100/month, they’ll answer the phone on nights/weekends. Voice Nation asks, “Bob, are you looking to get pre-approved or do you have a loan currently in process?” That directs them two different ways. If you’re looking to get pre-approved, they send a link to complete the online application and get Bob scheduled for the loan consultation. 

If they’re currently in process, then they will transfer that over to our backend loan partner who can take that call. If she’s not able to take it, they say, “Marty is currently on another call, but you’re very important to us. I’m going to make sure she gets this message and returns your call promptly.” They send Marty an instant email with notes from the call. It makes people feel like you’re clearly leading them to the next step.

What if you could make even more money and work even less because you’ve got people helping you answer the calls? It’s crazy that this simple thing keeps people from growing and meeting their loan officer goals. 

Making more money isn’t just about buying a new Rolls Royce. With more money, you can help more people. I recently wrote a check to sponsor 12 Little League teams (one in each division) in my local community. You know how I can afford to do that? Because I have somebody answering my phone while I do loan-getting activity. I have people helping me, so I’m able to make extra money. I put some of that money in my pocket, and use some of it to support a Little League team, and whatever else tugs at my heart. 


If you want some help mapping out your team, so you can close more loans, make more money in less time, and help more people in whatever way you choose, we’d love to chat with you. Schedule a loan officer strategy call with us TODAY. It’s absolutely FREE and it could absolutely change your life.