Mortgage lenders and loan officers have choices when deciding how or where to do their business. There are several primary models ranging from the traditional role of loan officers working the streets and relying on referral partners for leads and prospects, all the way to the internet-driven, lead capture models growing in popularity of late.
Which is best?
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That’s a very subjective topic, and it depends on your experience, skills and preferences as a loan officer.
Trolling for referrals out on the streets with real estate agents, attorneys and financial planners is extremely competitive. This is especially true for trying to form working relationships with the top agents in any area. They didn’t get to be the best overnight, and chances are very high that they have already had help from a great loan originator along the way that they are now loyal to as a result.
You may be confident in your ability to create relationships with referral partners, but can you do it with the right ones?
Many a new loan officers have spent time and resources building a referral base of agents only to find that each of those agents might do only a handful of deals per year. Worse is when they do have a deal, it now means everything to them at that moment. They may over-communicate with you for status or pushing for closing long before that can rightly happen.
At the end of the day, you may have spent valuable time in nonproductive ways. It can be an endless process with the same or other new agents, and it can rob you of the time you could otherwise be spending with prospects that are ready to act.
The Consumer Direct Alternative
As far as the actual business goes, no matter your loan programs or specialties, be they jumbo loans, FHA and VA, or plain vanilla Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conventional, there is an alternative way of securing home loans. And with a consumer direct lender, it may even be at the best interest rate that can be locked on the spot. Locking a prospect in without their rate then being subject to change without notice can help secure your pipeline.
As well, if you like the comfort of your workplace and are uncomfortable trying to be friendly and funny at agent gatherings. If you are knowledgeable and good on the phone or keyboard and like the idea of spending most of your time actually speaking with prospects vs. an attorney that you can only hope will send you her clients. If you like the idea of having regular business hours without having to entertain prospective referral partners at night or to attend open houses on the weekends, then considering the consumer direct mortgage company alternative may be worth a serious look.
Here are 5 things to consider:
1. The sourcing of leads and prospects is something that is done for you. You spend all your time actually qualifying and selling vs. half your time just trying to get others to send those same leads to you in the first place.
2. You don’t have to leave your workplace until you want to. No agent sales meetings, no open houses to attend, no lunches with prospective referral partners that are just as starved for deals as they are for the free food.
Just know your loan terms and how the home purchase and refi process works, period.
3. A consumer direct lender may have just as well-oiled of a loan process as they have engineered for soliciting your leads. Your job is heavy on the sales side, and you may not also have to process your own loans as some conventional mortgage banker positions may entail.
4. Technology. Chances are good that the internet is the main means by which consumer direct lenders cast their own net for prospects. The investment in that approach is often centered around utilizing the web to facilitate the mortgage process. Your borrowers may have access to digital signing, payment gateways for fee collection, secure document upload/download portals and loan status dashboards. Freeing yourself from much of this end of loan origination and document management leaves more time for more loans.
5. You’re not beholden to a referral party. Any experienced loan officer knows all too well how some agents will hold it against you for having to decline a deal.
And after all, it’s not your creditworthiness that was an issue. In many instances, that agent may have already had their prospects turned down by their “go-to” lender already anyway. They were just dragging you into the mud to see if you could resurrect the dead – and their commission.
It’s easy to feel like you have to make things work when an agent comes knocking, as you know it’ll be a part of their opinion of you and your service. Working consumer direct, you don’t have these issues. If the deal works, great, if not, move onto the next without all the explaining to counterparties. Life is easier without that added stress and obligation!
The top consumer direct lenders invest in technology and borrower retention. They understand once they’ve secured a client, it’s easier to keep them than to win a new one, and they do that with a robust CRM. Want to see what a world-class mortgage CRM and its award-winning content look like? For starters, just request a demo with Surefire. You’ll be a mortgage marketing automation pro in no time.
Looking to grow your business but don’t know where to start? Top of Mind’s Mortgage Marketing University is a free, online guidebook full of best practices for all types of lenders. Become a mortgage marketing pro today!