by Dennis Black
View these articles and more at
“The Role of the Realtor in Digital Lending,"
“Pack a Punch With Team Power,”
“Know What Sets You Apart From Peers,”
“Navigating the Choppy Waters of Rising Rates,”
Dennis Black is the CEO of Dennis Black and Associates, a
training organization devoted exclusively to the development of sales and management professionals within the lending industry. Dennis Black and Associates has trained
more than 120,000 mortgage professionals throughout the
United States, Canada and Australia. Black speaks at conferences sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association and
NAMB - The Association of Mortgage Professionals about
selling strategies and is a frequent speaker at state conferences. Visit dennisblack.com. Reach Black at
Set the Table Now to Thrive in 2019
Originators need to put in motion today a plan to achieve and maintain profitability
By Dennis Black
Let’s face it: 2019 arrived early for the mort- gage business. The shift could be seen in borrowers’ mindsets by early summer of this year. Many were reluctant to jump into the
mortgage process because of rising interest rates.
Many mortgage companies responded by reducing
their staffs and consolidating origination platforms to
focus on core areas of loan generation. That process
So how do we calculate this new reality into the
equation and focus on making a profit in 2019? No organization has a crystal ball that would make us all millionaires. And forecasting the future is always risky.
But there are four key areas of strategic thinking that
give originators the best shot for a successful 2019.
The first is creating a well-thought-out business plan.
The next is training your staff to achieve the goals in
that plan. The third is having the right products for
your sales group. And the last is utilizing technology
to meet your plan.
Assess and plan
The first step is the most crucial as it sets the foundation for all that will happen in 2019. In sorting through
the options for success in the coming year, two items
must be considered upfront.
Does your company have a core foundation of traditional selling ability in regard to having third-party
partnerships? Can your company convert customer
inquiries into applications adjusted to the rising-rate
Originators who make an honest assessment and
can answer yes to one of these ways to generate business are on a path to make it next year. Those who
cannot need to kick into high gear and find a way to
solve that problem.
Planning is based on your culture and your commitment to a strategy for your individual company to
attain your 2019 goals. Is your company a traditional
retail-lending operation that relies on originations
from the hard effort of your sales people in the field?
Does it get borrower business from a credit union or
a traditional bank branch system? Either way, what is
critical is what needs to be done the rest of this year
and into the first quarter of 2019.
Realtors are the largest source of referrals for originators and that’s crucial at this time as the industry shifts to the purchase business. Realtors do the
majority of their business between April and October.
The time to sell to them is in the down months when
they’re least busy. So your sales team should get in
as many calls as possible between Nov. 1, 2018, and
March 31, 2019, to establish your company as the originator that agents can count on.
In the consumer-direct model, or in the model of
converting real estate agent leads into applications,
every opportunity. The importance of focusing on the
borrower’s overall needs and knowing which prod-
uct to sell is essential to surviving in the rising-rate
The 30-year fixed rate loan is not a big play moving
forward, except for Federal Housing Administration
and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs loans. So in the
conventional and jumbo loan markets, be prepared
to sell the hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage products
based on client need, if you are to have a chance at
getting the loan in the future.
Once originators embrace these products, they need
to know how to educate borrowers on the advantages of these loans to get cash from an existing
mortgage to consolidate debt or to buy a home now
before the values rise around the U.S.
Choose the path best suited for your organization
and master it now. Establish the sales culture and management support to pursue one or both, if you have
that depth with your sales force. Do not put this off
until December. Do it now.
The next step is to analyze the commitment to training your sales and operations teams. As you evaluate
your training strategy over the next 15 months, here
are three variables that require your analysis.
n Budget: Every company is starting to finalize its
individual department’s budgets for 2019. When
you consider the line item under training, be aware
that this can be viewed in a variety of ways. Is it an
expense item or a profit-generating source? The
old phrase, “Can I afford to train my staff?” often
can be answered with another question: “Can I
afford not to train my staff?” This is a key question
that your organization needs to face head on and
answer definitively and manage from the top down
through your staff.
n Resources: Does your company have the internal manpower to train its management, operations
and sales teams to reach a level of proficiency to
compete in 2019? Training often is viewed as a luxury, not a necessity. This is a big gamble. Skill matters
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