“Size Matters”

There has been a great deal of conversation about “price compression” and “shrinking margins” in the industry lately. Companies, managers, and originators are seeing increasing competition from all angles, and generally what happens is the weaker will do more for less in an effort to stay around. We are also facing outside pressures that are pushing competition:

  • Originators who were buying leads and pounding refinances are hitting the streets and competing for purchase business. Since they have no track record in successful purchase business, they focus on price.
  • We also see that many large financial institutions are reducing or eliminating retail sales, forcing even more people out into the street. Once again, no track record, price is all they have.
  • The large internet lenders who spend millions on marketing and TV commercials. Since many agents won’t accept their pre-approvals, they must push price.
  • Mortgage companies themselves are spending time and money growing wide instead of deep, putting pressure on their own people.

The next factor is that many originators have chosen not to do the work in their own business and have resorted to hiring assistants to do the very job they are hired to do. While assistants certainly have a place in loan originations, managers and originators need to focus on scale and value. There is only so much money in origination. The breakup of that money between the company, branch, and originator has to be addressed because you can’t lose money on every deal and make it up in volume! So you must get clear on what is the real value in a loan origination and what part of that goes to the originator?

The next important piece is what “work” is required by the originator or originations team to have earned that money? This varies widely from place to place and even originator to originator. In my book, the originator is responsible for all the tasks needed to take the loan from contact to file fully ready to process; then support any communication from the processing/underwriting/closing/post-closing team if needed. That is what “top commission” is worth in any format. Now, managers and companies may want to reduce that obligation to the originator, or the originator may want to hire help so they can go on and produce more opportunities. That is fine, as long as all of that support is being paid for out of the total commission set for the origination of that file. It can’t work any other way. There is only so much money to be paid out!

 

The other key area is when do we look to get help? To me, a fully commissioned originator needs to be able to close 8 to 10 loans a month for a minimum of six consecutive months before entertaining bringing on help. The reason for this is you need to develop your systems and skills over both time and volume. If you don’t, you have to keep hiring people to cover for a poor system. That is a waste of money and doesn’t provide for a great customer experience. So rule of thumb is 8 to 10 loans a month, then you will hire on one assistant for each additional 5 to 10 loans a month in volume depending on the types of loans you are doing and your market.

Many originations “teams” or overloaded with people. Instead of organizing themselves and perfecting their system and schedules, they just hire more people! In the past, you might have been able to get away with an excessive number of people, but as margins compress, companies are going to have to think about how they spend their money.

Size matters! Your system matters! Your income matters! If you want to hire people so you can generate more opportunities, that’s great! But you have to be real with what your expectations are. Growing your team should mean:

  • A better customer experience
  • A smoother loan process
  • Higher quality loan submissions
  • Increased volume!

So look at your process and the systems you are using. If you have a team working with you, do you meet the monthly volume requirements? If you have grown your team and your loan volume isn’t growing at a minimum of 5 additional closings a month for each team member after the first 8 to 10 for the team leader, then your systems need to be addressed as well as your compensation!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com