BLOG VIEW: The housing industry has seen solid gains in the last several years, helping lift overall economic growth. In fact, existing-home sales maintained their upward trajectory in June and increased for the fourth consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors.
As the housing market continues to improve, mortgage lenders are adding more loan officers (LOs) to handle the increased demand. But it’s not just about adding staff. To remain competitive, mortgage lenders must provide LOs with superior support, including a workplace that encourages employee engagement, community involvement and solid marketing resources.
Foster A Stellar Workplace Culture
People spend more than half their lives at work, making it vital that companies create a workplace culture that employees love. Companies need to foster an environment that encourages employee engagement, interaction and collaboration.
This is no different in the mortgage industry. Mortgage lenders need to facilitate open communication, feedback and discussion of matters of importance with their LOs. The LOs must understand what they’re expected to achieve and why it’s important to the greater good of the organizations.
Mortgage lenders are responsible for putting the appropriate individuals, such as a branch manager, in place to mentor LOs and listen to their opinions without judgment. Remember, employees engaged in their work are likely to be more motivated, remain committed to their employers and stay focused on achieving business goals that drive the organizations’ future.
Be Active In The Community
One element that is commonly overlooked by companies nationwide is the value of community outreach. Companies that encourage community involvement distinguish themselves from their competitors and see many benefits, including loyal customers and happier employees.
Charitable work not only supports a positive work environment and inspires a means to give back, but also is a great way for employees to strengthen their relationships within the communities they serve. This is especially beneficial for LOs who are seeking ways to connect with prospective borrowers and Realtors.
It’s a fact – people work with people they know, like and trust. By providing LOs with the opportunity to engage in their communities, they’re able to network effectively and build a solid referral base, ultimately resulting in an increase to the mortgage lenders’ bottom line.
Create A Solid Marketing Strategy
In today’s fast-paced world, companies across all industries are trying every approach possible to gain consumers’ attention among the never-ending marketing noise. To navigate this challenge and better ensure success, mortgage lenders must equip LOs with a solid marketing strategy to cut through the clutter and position them in front of the appropriate audience at the right time.
Mortgage lenders need to invest in dedicated marketing resources for each of their LOs, including arming each branch with access to a personal, day-to-day marketing coordinator. These coordinators, working collaboratively with LOs, develop a comprehensive, customer-centric marketing plan that can be easily executed, engage new borrowers and build recognition within the community.
This plan should include community outreach programs, educational seminars, geo-specific strategies, individual branding and promotion, mail support, email nurture programs, social media content, and so on. A repository of customizable marketing materials should also be accessible to LOs to help garner credibility.
Many mortgage lenders may question the importance of providing marketing support to LOs, especially as it can be quite costly. As mentioned earlier, fighting for consumer mind share is difficult, and LOs should be focusing their efforts on attracting borrowers, not researching and strategizing marketing tactics that pull them away from selling loans. If forced to manage their marketing efforts independently, it can negatively impact the mortgage lenders’ profits and the LOs’ reputations.
As the housing industry strengthens and mortgage lenders ramp up recruitment efforts, it is important to understand that success is not dependent on how many LOs you recruit but rather the support and tools you provide after hiring them. By cultivating a workplace of openness and encouragement, providing ways for LOs to engage within the community, and offering superior marketing support, lenders will help LOs be more successful – a benefit to both the LO and the lender.
Dana Fortin is chief marketing officer for Embrace Home Loans, a direct lender for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, approved by the Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs, and an issuer for Ginnie Mae.