Working in the mortgage industry can be an incredibly rewarding and lucrative experience. But, as in all fields, not all employers are created equal. Much like the major decision to purchase a home, choosing which company to work for will have a huge effect on your life as you begin your next mortgage job — and not just from 9-to-5.
Whether you’re searching for your first job in the mortgage industry, or you’re a seasoned branch manager looking to make a change, there are some qualities you should always seek when considering a job opportunity with a new mortgage company Here’s what we recommend all mortgage industry professionals look for in any employer.
1) Learning opportunities
As a beginner in the mortgage industry, finding an employer who puts an emphasis on learning opportunities is critical. The mortgage industry is one undergoing tremendous change, from regulation to technology, not to mention the shifting demographics of homebuyers. Look for companies that offer coaching programs to help employees constantly improve their knowledge and techniques. This training can build on your existing sales experience and help you find your niche, leading to greater long-term success.
Even experienced mortgage professionals can be constantly learning, particularly as new mortgage technology hits the market. You want to be at a company that stays ahead of the trends and makes lifelong learning a priority
2) Upward mobility
No one wants to feel stuck in one position with nothing to look forward to. As you consider your next mortgage job, be aware of the potential for upward mobility (or lack thereof). When you’re first starting out, you may not have the experience to land your dream position. This is okay, as long as there is the potential for advancement. For example, if you start as a loan officer assistant or loan officer, is there the opportunity for you to become a branch manager? Or eventually lead an entire region?
This concept goes hand in hand with that of a company offering employees opportunities for continued learning. Could you gain experience at this company that will help you rise in the ranks, and does this employer have a track record of promotion from within? Asking these questions will give you a sense of your long-term prospects in a potential job.
Finally, consider the growth trajectory of the company itself. Many mortgage upstarts are expanding quickly, adding new branches in multiple states and taking share. As originators leave larger mortgage companies in search of new opportunities, getting in early at a company that is on a growth track will set you up to be in a position for promotion as it scales.
3) Focus on technology
As mentioned above, new technology is making a huge impact on the mortgage industry every day. Software that makes the mortgage process more efficient and effective for both professional loan officers and their clients is widely available. It’s pretty clear to us, even though we’re biased, that you shouldn’t work for a company that doesn’t offer modern solutions to their teams.
In an interview, ask about a company’s digital processes. Today, the majority of customers want to shop for their mortgage online and manage the experience through an end-to-end portal; you want to work for an employer that recognizes this and aligns with it by using mortgage technology to its full extent.
4) Flexibility and independence
Mortgage jobs are unique in that a traditional 9-to-5 schedule does not always apply. Many loan officers set their own schedules based on client needs. Some companies even offer remote work opportunities, and leverage technology to stay connected with employees rather than a central office.
An exciting part of working in the mortgage industry is the opportunity for independence — you could get some of the perks of being your own boss, while still having the support of a broader company behind you. That being said, every company will have their own distinctive practices around scheduling, so be sure to get a sense of the level of flexibility any potential employer offers.
5) Outstanding client and agent relationships
Last, but certainly not least, take into consideration a potential employers’ track record with client and real estate agent relationships. Are the connections with customers warm, distant, or, worst of all, strained? How vibrant are the referral networks for the team you’ve interacted with so far? Working in the mortgage industry means working with people throughout the most important decisions of their life, so personal relationships carry a ton of weight. It also means you’ve got to consistently deliver to impress the agents that send you referrals. Giving them outstanding service is just as important as the homebuyers that walk through your door.
The best professional loan officers always put customers’ needs first. Companies who value client and agent relationships will have a more positive environment overall, making for a better experience not just for the customers, but also for you as an employee.