John Meussner is a loan officer and mortgage marketing
expert with Mason-McDuffie Mortgage in Laguna Hills,
California, working exclusively on referrals and self-generated
leads. Meussner is licensed in California, Colorado, Delaware,
Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia.
Reach him at (484) 680-4852 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think Outside the Cube
Now is the time to go beyond traditional
advertising and price wars
By John Meussner
From start to finish, 2017 is sure to be a year of change for the mortgage industry. We have a new congress, a new presidential adminis- tration and a new real estate environment.
For the first time in recent memory — and the first
time, period, for many loan originators — we are facing
a rising interest rate environment.
Since rates began falling in the early 2000s, one common business model across the country has been to
focus on refinancing and relying on borrowers seeing
an advertised rate and picking up the phone or clicking
the “chat with an expert” box. Many companies advertised the best interest rates possible and set originators in cubicles with headsets on to wait for the phone
to ring or the chat request to come through.
And ring it has. This business model has resulted in a
lot of profit for a lot of mortgage companies and young
originators, and there is nothing inherently wrong
with doing business in a call-center environment. The
problem is that in a market of rising rates, the phone
will be a bit more silent, and a quiet call center is not a
good place to work.
When rates rise, the mortgage industry gets thin.
Companies tend to cut back on staff, and many loan
originators are left trying to find a home. Those with
only a call-center skill set can find themselves on the
outside looking in. For them, and for the entire mortgage industry, it’s time to think outside the cube.
Outside the cube, business can be found everywhere,
whether rates are rising, falling, or remaining stagnant.
This is a world where originators can self-generate
millions of dollars in funded loans each month even
while the industry is “slow.” It’s a world of networking,
problem solving and creatively structuring financing
for borrowers who can’t find loans with a simple click
or internet search. It’s a world where loan officers
aren’t simply reducing interest rates, but instead are
injecting value into the process.
Outside the cube, real estate agents trust loan originators with their clients. They work on cobranded
marketing efforts, cohosted open houses and homebuying seminars. Outside the cube, originators must
learn about local downpayment assistance and first-time buyer programs, and then advertising their
expertise to the world.
Successful originators don’t just peddle “low rates
and great service.” They take an active interest in learning how to help real estate agents grow their business.
They discover what new agents in their area need to
learn about loan products and marketing, and how
that translates to selling more homes, and they offer to
teach those new agents.
Originators who thrive outside the cube are a valuable commodity to the real estate agent community.
They become so valuable that business comes to them,
despite market conditions or interest rate changes.
Financial advisers and certified public accountants live
outside the cube as well, and they also have clients
with unique financial needs. Mortgages often are their
clients’ largest debts, so having a good loan originator
as a resource is paramount to maximizing these financial professionals’ value to their clientele.
A financial adviser may need someone who can originate a mortgage for a client in need of tax deductions,
or a professional who can transform a 30-year debt
into a 15-year commitment to help a client plan for
retirement. Perhaps an accountant needs an originator to help a client with multiple businesses and complicated tax returns navigate through the mortgage
process without stress.
In short, these financial professionals need someone
savvy enough to make them look good. A loan originator living outside the cube can play that role regardless of market conditions. And, in quickly changing
markets, financial professionals will need this resource
more than ever.
The law is another arena where rates don’t matter,
4. 5 percent. Instead, they want to make sure their clients have a good experience during a difficult time