BLOG VIEW: It seems that at this time, every year, mortgage professionals are being asked to take part in an industry survey. I guess Hammerhouse, a nationwide, mortgage-focused recruiting firm, is now part of that trend, as we just launched our Fifth Annual Survey of Loan Originator Opinions.
So, why should a loan originator, busy with active deals and seeking new business, take 10 minutes away from their work or free time to complete a survey about working in the mortgage industry? The answer is simple – it is your industry, and you have leverage to help improve the mortgage industry and, at the same time, your career.
Let me assure you that leading mortgage lenders are listening and are looking for any way to connect with high-quality mortgage originators. Your opinions make a difference and help to improve conditions for loan officers across the lending spectrum. There is nothing as important in the mortgage industry as the input from the front-line, on-the-street originator. Your opinions matter a great deal, and you have the opportunity to define and shape the mortgage industry of the future.
Loan originators are the irreplaceable connection between customers and lenders. As such, originators' opinions are held in high regard by the leading firms in the industry. Every day, the Hammerhouse team speaks with executives of mega and emerging lenders that ask what they can do to become a more attractive employer for top-producing originators. We refer them to our previous surveys and share the opinions and stories from the hundreds of loan originators we speak with each year. But our industry faces an ever-changing set of challenges, and our surveys have become the annual voice of the originator.
Below are a few other reasons to invest 10 minutes to voice your opinions:
- Comprehensive: There are surveys in the mortgage industry that cover every conceivable aspect of the business. There are marketing surveys, technology surveys, operational process surveys, compliance-oriented surveys and many others. Our annual survey differs in two ways. First, it only reflects the views of active originators. Second, it is comprehensive, as it covers what we call the six core components of the mortgage origination industry: leadership, culture, business model, operations, technology and geography. These are the macro areas in which all originators and lenders operate. How well do you match with your lender across these components? Our previous surveys have attracted the participation of a "statistically significant" number of active loan originators, making our survey a valid representation of the views of the greater loan originator community.
- Timely: While many firms conduct surveys throughout the year, the end of the year is clearly the time when the majority are conducted, as firms prepare to rebalance or re-engineer their businesses for the new year. As originators go through their own planning efforts for the coming year, participation in surveys can help to focus on the key elements of their business that are working well or may need some attention. Our survey questions address the most current issues facing the mortgage industry – the economy, regulations, marketing innovations, etc. What is working or not working for you? Are there new issues that are just emerging? Your answers provide a mechanism to introduce new issues that need attention in the industry and, perhaps, within your own business.
- Transparent/Effective: While many surveys are conducted each year, it is vital to consider the purpose behind them. Are they undertaken as a publicity-generating exercise, or are they done to improve the performance of the industry and the people in it? Our survey results are covered extensively in the mortgage industry press because we do not sell the data and have no commercial interest in the results. Because we distribute the results to hundreds of media outlets executives, managers and your fellow loan originators can all benefit from the knowledge that comes from knowing the survey results. Throughout the year, we hear from mortgage professionals at all levels that implemented important changes after considering the survey results.
- Confidential: Surveys are utilized for many different reasons. Some surveys are designed simply to capture contact information, while others are conducted to generate data to sell or for competitive intelligence. Our survey is different. Answers to survey questions are only presented in aggregate form, and no individual responses are shared with anyone. In fact, no one will ever know that you participated unless you tell them or you happen to have to explain how you won our participant inducement drawing. We would not even ask for your contact information except for the necessity of having a mechanism to verify participant eligibility as an active originator and our need to communicate with inducement drawing winners.
The mortgage industry is constantly in flux. Success comes when lenders and originators experience what we call Model Match – when they have similar views across the six core business components. Are you working where you will perform best? Are you interested in working for a firm that actively seeks the opinions of originators and responds to their changing views of what is important? This is an originator-centric business. Participating in surveys is your chance to keep it that way.
Drew Waterhouse is managing director at Hammerhouse LLC, an expanding national recruiting and strategic growth firm for the financial services industry with mortgage sales and leadership placement at its core. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.