Longevity in the Mortgage Industry: What does it Take?

Written By: Frankie Lacy, Op-Ed Writer

The mortgage industry is faced-paced, constantly changing, and sometimes uncertain. There are cycles of “feast or famine” where we experience excessive loan volume, followed by a sudden and steep drop in loan volume. Many who have been in the industry for five or more years have experienced restructuring or been laid off from at least one company. As a result, some may wonder; what does it take to remain consistently employed in the mortgage industry? In my experience, longevity requires a combination of the 4 P’s: Perception, Preparation, Performance, and People.

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First, mortgage professionals must learn to accept the inherent uncertainty of a financial services career. This may involve shifting perceptions around stability and change. Many long term mortgage pros have learned to save overtime and bonus earnings in preparation for the slow seasons. We embrace the “down time” as an opportunity to pursue personal development or quality of life projects. This approach promotes work-life balance in a stressful industry with intense work demands.

Mortgage professionals must be flexible and willing to adapt to change. This industry requires us to modify our process flows, work methods, and even our job duties. You must be ready and willing to take on new job functions and move into different areas within the loan process until you find your niche.

Stay curious and engaged with new things that are happening. Keep an open mind. It’s all about how you perceive change. You can view it as an inconvenience and a hassle. Or you can view change as an opportunity to learn something new and stay on the cutting edge of your field.

Consistent skill development is another critical practice for longevity. Invest in yourself outside of work to prepare for potential opportunities. Attend classes and get involved with organizations that offer seminars and workshops. Be sure to attend any webinar trainings that are offered through your job. This way, when employment posts open up within your current company (or with other organizations), you will be positioned to market yourself for those jobs.

In addition, take on new projects at work and be willing to volunteer when another department needs help. As you cross train in other departments and build up your skill level, you will begin to perform at a higher level and develop a reputation for excellence. The more mortgage skills you have, the more in demand you’ll be. This path also leads to promotion.

Hone your customer service, communication, and problem solving skills. Organizations are looking to their production staff to make decisions and communicate those decisions. Employers hold production staff accountable for providing a satisfactory experience for internal and external customers. Good communication and problem solving skills will empower you to make the right decisions and provide top notch customer service.

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Finally, as you gain job experience, be sure to build up your industry network. This will provide a pool of contacts you can mine for job opportunities if you are ever restructured out of your current position. Get phone numbers, email addresses, and social media information from co-workers, managers, and vendor sales representatives. Attend social events held by your company. Also, attend events held by mortgage associations to meet new people outside of your company.

When all of these techniques and practices are employed, you are in the best possible position to have a long and satisfying mortgage career. It’s all about Perception, Preparation, Performance, and People. With the right perception, we can embrace the industry for what it is. When we prepare ourselves through training, we can perform our jobs at a high level of employer satisfaction. When we make connections with the right people, we create a network of opportunities for ourselves for many years to come.

About The Author

Frankie Lacy - As an op-ed writer, Ms. Frankie Lacy is a 15+ year mortgage industry veteran with extensive conventional mortgage underwriting experience. Topics of Frankie's expertise include: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA Rural Housing, underwriting to investor overlays, self-employed borrowers, personal and business tax return analysis, rental income, condos/co-ops/PUDs, and more. Frankie is a Davenport University graduate with a degree in Business Administration.

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