Your Career Is a Choice, so Choose
The right training can help you advance and find happiness
By Joseph Grunebach
Life is about choices. Happiness is a choice. Many of us start off in a direction where we think we would like to see our careers go, only to find — sometimes by design and sometimes by default — that another direction or other options materialize.
Consider all of the jobs you have had to this point in
your life. Chances are one or more of those jobs made
you completely miserable. You had no sense of fulfillment or accomplishment and you knew that job was
not for you.
What happened next that facilitated your change to
something else? Did you leave voluntarily or involuntarily? Were you motivated to get more education or
did you earn a new degree or license? Did you visit a
job-placement company to take an aptitude test and
get offered a position in a business you had never previously considered? Whatever the circumstances, did
you make a choice that made you happy?
Plan for happiness
The mortgage industry fosters growth and advancement opportunities for people with varied goals
and skillsets. It is a truly unique job culture. Success
stories abound for those who take advantage of their
opportunities, especially employees who follow
career-advancement and goal-setting best practices.
When looking at career choices, just as with most
worthwhile events in life, be sure to envision and
define your goals. Write them down, review them
often, and commit to them.
Own your life. Be a decisionmaker. Make good
Perhaps your current job is simply a means to an
end. You go to work. You go home. You interact with
your family. You then eat, sleep and wake up to start
all over. On weekends you do the things you didn’t get
done during the week. You may or may not actually
plan your life or plan for your future, but you should.
Choosing to advance in your career — thereby creating a life you love — takes thoughtful planning, intentional focus and purposeful execution, along with a
desire to win and a yearning to succeed. A competitive
spirit and a genuine desire to learn and earn can go a
long way toward achieving your ideal life. Live your life
by your own design, not by default.
A common denominator shared by many mortgage-industry personnel who love their careers is a desire
to improve their lives and provide the best possible
options and advantages for their families. On the flip
side, those companies that show consistent success
in employee satisfaction and retention rely heavily on
effective training of their human resources.
What does this mean to you in your mortgage career? It means you must seek out companies that
demonstrate the value they place on their human
assets. Focused and effective training, coaching and
accountability all can provide a measurable impact on
career opportunities and advancement.
Start on the right foot
Statistically speaking, the average loan originator is 54
years old. In addition to investing in training existing
originators to maximize their effectiveness and happiness, leaders in the mortgage industry recognize the
need to invite, welcome, educate and prepare a new
generation of originators. In fact, it is vital that the industry bring in new blood, and have a plan to recruit
and train the next generation.
Does your current or potential employer take a
proactive approach by offering training programs for
those interested in learning about the mortgage business? Do they take a welcoming position for those
seeking to embark upon a mortgage-related career?
A next-generation training regimen may include a
multiweek program that offers students an abbreviated yet comprehensive 360-degree overview of career
life as a mortgage loan originator. This program should
n Software. Online access to the company’s intranet
may not be granted prior to licensing and employment, but at least share what to expect with the origination or loan-processing software your company
n Loan programs and guidelines. Provide an overview of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae
guidelines as well as Federal Housing Administration,
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Agriculture loan programs.
n Qualifying and pricing. Demonstrate to new
originators how to prequalify potential borrowers
and price loans, and explain the role of the secondary
n Best practices and policies. Show what a perfect loan file looks like, and how to find resources
and follow company policies.
n Loan language. Discuss mortgage lingo and its
n File flow. Discuss how processors, appraisers, underwriters and title and escrow companies fit into the
picture. Outline your company’s proven system to
most efficiently get loans from application to funding.
n Disclosures and compliance. Explain the rules
that must be followed at federal, state and corporate levels, and how originators should conduct
themselves when engaging with these parties.
n Marketing and business-building techniques.
Providing originators with tools to succeed and
not making them reinvent the wheel is always a
good idea. Provide them with shortcuts for their
The entry-level “buy-in” program described here
can provide participants with valuable preparatory
tools that will complement the education received
through their requisite licensing courses.
Joseph Grunebach is senior mortgage coach at Mountain
West Financial. His previous experience includes being a
high-producing manager for Fleet Mortgage, North American Mortgage, and several other lenders and banks. Since
2012, Grunebach has held sales and management positions
with Mountain West. He continues to maintain his CalBRE,
California and Nevada mortgage licenses, insurance license
and notary public. Grunebach earned his bachelor’s degree
in legal studies from California University of Pennsylvania.
Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more articles on career training
View these articles and more at
“How to Reach Your Goals,”
Ginger Bell, August 2016
“Pave the Way to Career Growth,”
Jan Priem, August 2017
“A Legacy of Respect,”
Malcolm B. Hollensteiner, May 2017
“Online Learning Produces Winning Teams,”
Casey Cunningham, October 2016
Senior vice president of eLearning
By Ginger Bell
How much do you invest in your career? Whether you are just getting started in the
mortgage industry or are a seasoned professional with a decade of experience, continual
investment in improving yourself is vital to your career growth. Many people have career
goals, but few invest enough time and resources to successfully climb the rungs of the
corporate ladder and reach those goals.
Think about the person you were straight out of college. You knew everything then,
right? How much has the world changed since you got your diploma? If you have
been in the industry even a few years, the amount of new information you need to
know can seem daunting. It may seem that others are passing you by on their way up
the ladder. Often, the trouble simply lies in knowing where to start. >>
Investing in your career can help you climb the rungs of success
lllustration by Dennis Wunsch
Continued on Page 64 >>