July 31, 2021

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An asymmetrical approach to building loan officer teams

While companies battled for underwriting talent last year, they may be battling for originators this year. With increasing rates and lower volumes, lead times are less important than the type of purchase pipeline a Mortgage professional can bring to their company. The biggest companies are already working to find the best authors. Offers huge signing bonuses in a “brain drain” away from smaller businesses. While this competition is good news for loan officers, it is challenging for brokers and store managers. How do you attract and keep the best when there are still so many sharks in the water?

Alvaro Moreira (picture) has chosen an asymmetrical approach. The Atlanta branch manager of Moreira Team Mortgage, a subgroup of MortgageRight, said he finds his best loan officers outside of the industry. His strategy is to recruit people with strong sales skills and good networks who have no experience in the mortgage business. He gives them training and support and they become his top producers. It’s an approach that expands its network and means that it doesn’t compete for the few candidates out there who can offer real mortgage experience.

“I’m looking for people who are good networkers, people who make excellent phone calls, and people who may only have been in other sales positions, especially not in the mortgage business,” said Moreira. “So I take someone from a different sales role who may not make as much as a loan officer and guide them through the right training.”

Not only does this provide Moreira with a wider network, it also helps them bring younger blood to the industry. He noted that the average age of loan officers is over 50 and that his experience has shown that mortgage professionals have to deal with changes in regulation, customer expectations and market conditions if they are around that long. To attract younger talent with no mortgage experience, a loan officer needs to be hired for the next decade.

He trains these new hires using a program called XINNIX, which provides online training for loan officers. Additionally, he stresses that his loan officers should spend most of their time making connections and selling. Moreira claims to be working on a labor-intensive model, which means his loan officers only have to do about 25% of what they might have to do at another company. Its processing staff is trained to connect with clients and support them throughout the life of their loan so that its loan officers can continue to sell freely.

By hiring employees outside the industry, Moreira was able to benefit from the pandemic that decimated the industries in each country. Two of his current top performers were only hired last year. One sold cars and the other sold educational materials. They lost their jobs when people stopped buying cars or sending kids to school, and Moreira was able to get them into a booming mortgage business.

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The end result is a younger sales team that is more focused on relationship building and networking than the execution side of the mortgage business. Moreira believes this will direct his company towards greater success. These youth and hunger will bring a competitive advantage when refi volume drops. The focus on relationships will also help drive the shopping business forward as it relies much more on local connections. Moreira sees competition from more technology-driven companies and believes that by recruiting young, hardworking salespeople with local roots, he can stay one step ahead of this curve.

“This is a great opportunity, but you need to think differently,” Moreira said when asked if he had advice for other store managers and brokers. “If you look outside the industry, you will have a much larger pool of candidates. People are hungry and with so much change there are many talented salespeople who only dream of such a position. “