Kyle Nicholas McCray is director of innovations at American
Pacific Mortgage (APM). He oversees Scrappy Labs, a division
of APM dedicated to challenging the company by institutionalizing new idea experimentation. Scrappy Labs recently
created LaunchPad, an all-inclusive training platform for loan
officers. LaunchPad delivers onboarding, Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) pre-license education, sales
training, a working knowledge of the mortgage industry,
and offers mentorship throughout. Find more information
at apmortgage.com/launchpad. Reach Mc Cray at
Prepare for a Changing of the Guard
Recruiting the next generation requires a forward-looking strategy
By Kyle Nicholas McCray
The mortgage industry will need to replace at least 200,000 originators over the next 10 years as older professionals retire and younger ones enter the workforce. It could
be an even higher number, if current trends continue.
Right now, only 10 percent to 25 percent of new mortgage sales professionals stay in origination more than
two years, which means that 200,000 number may
grow substantially higher.
To make up for this, executives and team leaders are
going to have to do what they have always done —
recruit — but do it more creatively. The old ways of
recruiting and coaching new originators must be completely transformed. This goes for multiple generations
— from baby boomers down to Generation Z (those
born after 1995). For experienced sales professionals,
nonproducers currently in the industry and recent
college graduates, things must change.
Contrary to the phrase “make mortgages cool
again,” it’s not about a status. It’s about our intention
and attention to bringing new professionals into the
mortgage industry to better serve homebuyers. Most
of us have heard of the “Golden Rule” — treat others
the way you would like to be treated. Today, the market demands us to implement the “Platinum Rule” —
treat others the way they want to be treated.
Simply put, it’s never been more important to deliver
goods and services in the ways that potential homebuyers want them. To do that, the mortgage industry
doesn’t need to be cool. Rather, it needs to deliver a
great experience driven by the borrowers’ need to do
business with people like themselves. So, where do we
start? First, we must understand the next generation
of homebuyers and originators.
Millennials have officially entered the housing market. The most prominent homebuyer segment is now
those under the age of 36. Not even tight inventory is
stopping them as purchase loans have continued an
upward trend among millennials in recent months.
What's more, millennials now represent some
30 percent of existing-home buyers. And they aren't
just buying. A good share are already refinancing.
Millennial refinancers accounted for 20 percent of
closed loans in late 2016.
As millennials enter and take over the housing market,
it is important to understand how they shop for homes
and mortgages. A 2016 Zillow study found that they
are savvy purchasers, thanks to their reliance on online
research. And because they are educated, they expect
real estate agents and loan officers to have everything
covered. Because of this, housing professionals need
to stand out by understanding millennials’ needs,
utilizing technology and being flexible. The more you
“get them,” the more successful you will be.
At the same time, don’t forget the “Forgotten Generation” (or Generation X) — which is sandwiched
between the millennials and baby boomers. In 2016,
they represented 28 percent of all homebuyers. The
median age for the Gen X group — generally defined as
those between the ages of 37 and 51 — is 43 years old.
Mortgage originators in the near future will need to
adapt more quickly to meet and exceed the expectations of all buyers in the market.
Millennials, as a group, are not the only opportunity
target for retooling the professional ranks of mortgage
industry. While recent college graduates are, and hopefully will continue to be, an important component of
those entering the mortgage workforce, there’s more
to the story. Mortgage companies should remember
that many potential new originators may already have
strong backgrounds in other industries and can bring
crossover skills to the table.
Looking at characteristics of future mortgage originators, we likely will find a mix of what we are starting to see in the broader real estate industry. Younger
professionals adopting technology will remain a vital
trend as social and economic shifts drive changes in
As these shifts happen, recruiters will need to seek
trained sales professionals with a variety of skills developed outside the industry. In the future, technology
will simply be a fundamental part of how business is
done, but the critical skills needed still harken back
to the bread and butter of being an originator. New
recruits will need past sales experience (or a desire to
learn sales) and an understanding of what having the
backing of a company can do for them, even if they
They will have strong financial and communication
skills as well, plus an entrepreneurial mindset and a
Sales- and leadership-training
company XINNIX surveyed 600
new mortgage professionals in 2015.
The poll found the following:
n Sixty-one percent of respondents had some level
of prior sales experience.
n Prior to joining the mortgage industry, the
average new-to-the-business loan officer had
spent six years in the workforce.
n Thirty percent of those surveyed had 11 years
of workforce experience.
n Before joining the mortgage workforce, the
average respondent had worked for three or
more different employers.
At a Glance
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