Rebuilding the Industry on E.T.H.I.C.S.
Upholding six virtues could get brokers back on track
By Dale Vermillion, CEO, Vermillion Consulting Inc.
Many characters within
the mortgage, real estate and
investment communities recently combined to create the worst
mortgage market in history. Generally,
their lack of personal and business ethics stands at the root of almost all that
Fortunately, many of the most-guilty
parties have exited the industry. Everyone
who remains might be wise to take some
time to consider how they can help rebuild
the industry and the mortgage profession.
Dale Vermillion is a
prominent industry speaker and founder and CEO of
Vermillion Consulting Inc.,
a consulting and training
firm for mortgage professionals. He recently
released his first book on mortgage lending,
Navigating the Mortgage Maze: The Simple
Truth About Financing Your Home. He also
founded Mortgage Professionals Providing
Hope, a nonprofit organization that aids impoverished children and families in rural India.
To learn more, visit www.dalevermillion.com
or www.mpph.org, or call (888) VCI-EDGE
When it comes to helping restore our
industry, it’s all about ethics. Or to put
it another way, it’s all about E. T.H.I.C.S.
— exemplary behavior, trustworthiness,
honesty, integrity, commitment and
One of the best ways to prove your commitment to ethics is to act ethically. As
the saying goes, actions speak louder than
words. How we act in serving our customers speaks volumes about us, our company
and our industry.
Being an example means many things.
It includes the way we behave, dress and
communicate. We should:
■ Always behave in a manner that ex-
udes integrity and professionalism;
■ Always project a positive and enthusi-
■ Always dress in a way that communi-
cates dignity and excellence;
■ Communicate in a way that conveys
concern for our customers’ situations
ahead of our own;
■ Be encouraging and positive in all of
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■ Never use profane, abusive or de-
meaning words; and
■ Live our lives in a way that displays
integrity and genuine care for the world
Mortgage brokers who care for their
communities often find themselves involved in charitable endeavors and altruistic pursuits. They don’t
do this because it will be
good for business. They do
it because they feel called
to contribute. In addition,
they set an example and
standard for the type of
caring people our industry
Ethics also requires a high level of commitment — to our borrower, to our employer and to our industry. We also should
be committed to being the best mortgage
professionals possible. To do so, we must
provide the advice that best helps the customer, not ourselves.
“One of the best ways to
prove your commitment to ethics
is to act ethically. As the saying
goes, actions speak louder
Those with whom we come in contact should consider us trustworthy. We
can build this by respecting customer
Remember that our customers provide us with a virtual boatload of personal
information. They must know that the
person with whom they share that information will take strides to protect it.
The same is true in our interactions
with our employees and colleagues. We
must take great care with personal and
confidential information. Only then will
people believe that we’re looking out for
their best interests.
One of the most-unacceptable practices
in our industry is disclosing only that information for which a borrower specifically asks. Leaving out important details
is equivalent to lying.
For example, we must tell our borrowers every detail they’re going to see on a
good-faith estimate before we send it.
We should do everything in our power to
ensure there are no surprises and allow
time for objections. We also should allow
time to explain and overcome such concerns. Don’t be afraid to explain the value
the customer receives from each charge.
These explanations will often lead to a
more committed sale.
Being completely honest is always the
best policy. Besides, when you always tell
the truth, you never have to wonder what
Many people think of honesty and integrity as the same thing. They are, however,
To have integrity, we must be people
of character that plays out in our personal
and public lives. This means not only being
honest to a fault but also always doing the
right thing regardless of the outcome.
In our business, this means only offering our customers loans that will help. If
we can’t do that, we should tell them as
much and look for others we can help.
Our commitment should be to satisfying our clients today and for many years
As mortgage professionals, we must have
a sincere desire to make a positive difference in the lives of our customers and of all
the people with whom we come in contact.
If we sincerely care about our customers’
well-being, it will show.
This is the essence of being successful.
If customers sense that we sincerely want
to help, they will have a desire to give us
business. That sincerity often will keep
them loyal, even when someone else offers
a slightly better rate.
■ ■ ■
Mortgage brokers willing to show the highest level of ethics can position themselves
to find success despite the downturn. Together, we can also restore our reputations
and the industry’s as a whole.
by Dale Vermillion
“Exemplify Integrity,” January 2008
“Expect — and Achieve — Excellence,”
“The 4 R’s of Continual Improvement,”
“Effective Marketing Brings Results,”
“The Secret of How to Listen,” May 2008
“Help Clients Achieve Long-Term Goals,”
“Education Leads to Excellence,”
“Never Coerce Your Clients,”
“Think of Clients as Referral Partners,”
“ 5 Ways to Set Yourself Apart,”
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