Byron Enriquez is co-founder of JSS Financial, where he
fulfills two of his passions — helping clients and business
development. Enriquez is a proven sales and leadership
coach who has been in the financial-services industry for
20 years. His approach to coaching and mentoring, and his
proven methods, have created successful sales leaders in
various industries. He has focused his methods around
creating daily success while keeping the big picture in mind.
Reach Enriquez at email@example.com.
Building a Better Branch Manager
Great sales skills are not enough to lead a team to success
By Byron Enriquez
In the mortgage industry, the focus and attention placed on creating new managers is always front and center — from upper management down to loan originators. When originators are asked what
they are working toward, the most common answer is:
“becoming a branch manager.” When the same ques-
tion is asked of upper management, the answer usually
is: “to promote new managers.”
This makes for a unique situation where upper man-
agement wants to promote and individual originators
want to be promoted. In theory, this is a good thing,
Unfortunately, what happens all too often is that new
teams or branches get created by giving seasoned or
top-producing loan originators the “manager” title
and expecting them to multiply their success.
This top performer is then surrounded by a raw
sales team, often made up of new or underperforming
individuals who would, in theory, benefit from being
around such a talented individual. The hope is that the
success trait will rub off on the rest of the team, but
more often than not these teams take a long time to
develop, if they ever do.
Even worse, while waiting for the magic to happen,
the new branch sees a decline in production because
these new top-producers-turned-managers are now
being pulled in so many directions that they cannot
focus enough time on their own production or simply stop producing alltogether. Often, when these
up-and-coming managers see a drop in their income,
they get discouraged and their focus changes back to
what made them great. They lose sight of their managing responsibilities, and then we’re back to where
So, what is the blueprint for building a branch manager? Are managers born or made? Most importantly, do top producers always make good branch
Simply put, branch management requires a different
skillset that needs to be taught and developed. There
is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach. It is not
simply holding sales meetings, tracking results and
demanding better performance.
Branch management is about knowing what key
performance indicators, or KPI, to focus on and knowing how and when to turn the dial to impact results.
It requires an understanding of the psychology and
mindset of each loan originator on the team and
knowing how to impact their motivational belief systems to lead them toward better production.
In addition, a branch-manager needs a good plan
and well-defined goals. This plan, and the goals that
cannot be “to be the top VA loan originators in the
market,” for example, if their company has never done
a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs loan and doesn’t
plan on entering that market segment.
Good branch managers also have a strong vision and
sense of who they are as individuals. They can then
develop their team around that identity and surround
themselves with like-minded individuals who share
their vision on how to accomplish branch goals.
This identity and vision sets the foundation of the
team and can be used as a barometer of performance
and as a guide for making decisions. Managers with a
strong vision can ask: “How does this choice fit into our
vision or identity?” The vision or identity should inspire
and define the course for everyone on the team.
Beyond creating a strong foundation for their branches,
the best managers will implement coaching and
mentoring programs to help develop the skills of the
sales team they have built. Good branch managers
know the importance of making those around them
better. They understand that the growth of the team
will be their responsibility and that coaching and men-
toring can help the team achieve and surpass their
This is one reason why great originators don’t always
make good branch managers. For some, the art of selling has always come easy. To them, it is second nature,
and they don’t understand why others can’t just “sell.”
Like any other skill, the process of coaching needs to
be taught and developed, and good branch managers
need to understand what motivates each individual
A good coaching program is well-defined and the
steps are clearly laid out. Expectations must be set
at the outset and checkpoints created along the way
where success can be measured. Managers must know
how to hold others — and themselves — accountable.
A good coaching program will involve product training, sales training, pipeline management and, most
importantly, referral development.
n n n
Building a better branch manager requires a particular set of parts that are brought together to create
success. It requires the right individual with the right
vision and identity, surrounded by a like-minded team
with a focus on greater goals. The better managers
also must learn how to coach and mentor, know where
their focus needs to be at all times, and be aware of
what drives the market and how to impact it.
This is not an easy task and not everyone — including top producers — is cut out for this job. It is a job
that, when done correctly, can make a huge impact on
the company, and not only in the production sense.
Great branch managers also help attract new talent,
because up-and-coming talent will seek out opportunities to be developed by, and into, great managers. n
For more articles on branch
View these articles and more at
“Simplify the Recruiting Challenge,”
“Grow Your Business From the Inside Out,”
“Cultivate a Stronger Branch,”