The Secret to Winning in the Mortgage Business

Let’s face it: the mortgage industry suffers from a people problem. Mortgage professionals are doing tasks best suited for technology. And technology is being deployed that extricates the professionals from tasks at which they would excel.

At most mortgage companies, the average professional will have no less than 10 applications or browser tabs open simultaneously. Commissioned loan officers are spending 40% of their time on paperwork — time they’re not spending building relationships and coaching borrowers. And one of the most eye-opening statistics I’ve seen is that in 2008, the average underwriter completed 82 loans per month. In 2015, that same underwriter completed only 38 loan per month, according to the MBA. The blame is not unjustly placed on increased regulation, stringent underwriting guidelines, and a dominance of ill-informed first-time homebuyers. But really it’s a problem driven by a failure to adapt the business to the changing environment. It’s a failure of deploying an organization’s assets on the right tasks.

At Maxwell, we believe that the mortgage business is a people business. A mortgage is a significant, complex decision about a debt instrument with reams of fine print. Homebuyers want to rely on a human guide through the largest debt decision of their lives. As the statistics above demonstrate, however, professionals in the mortgage business are spending more time with paper, not people. The problem we solve for our clients is to get people to do what people are good at, and get technology to do what technology is good at.

Get people to do what people are good at, and get technology to do what technology is good at.

The best illustration is a story of one of these clients.

Denise originates over $165M in volume each year with her small team, solely based on referrals. When a client enters her office for the first time, she adeptly sets the premise for her role: “My job is to maximize your wealth through real estate and to efficiently manage your debt over your lifetime.” She takes time to understand their goals with the new home — a growing family, a new job, an investment opportunity. And this becomes the basis of her relationship with the client.

Over the course of the mortgage process, Denise employs technology to make it easy for her client and referral partner — the real estate agent — to understand where they are in the process and what’s required of them. All interactions are tracked through one platform and clients can quickly complete tasks, like signing documents or providing financial statements. The system automatically follows up with the clients to let them know when milestones have been crossed; and also to remind them when they have tasks that need to be completed. Denise’s system schedules four periodic check-in meetings over the 30 day timeframe to answer questions and give direction to keep the process moving forward.

When the loan closes, the client gets a photo taken with Denise and her team. It will eventually adorn her wall. That’s also the day when Denise introduces the client to Tom. “Tom from my team is now your debt manager,” Denise tells her client. “As of today, he will be managing your mortgage for you — identifying opportunities to lower your monthly payments, withdraw cash to reinvest in a remodel, or explore other ways to achieve your goals. You’ll get periodic emails from Tom to let you know how the value of your home is trending and how much this investment is earning you.” By this point, Denise and Tom are already friends with the client on Facebook and LinkedIn — two of the greatest technology platforms for relationships. They’ll know when the client announces to the world that they’ve just learned a baby is due in 7 months or that they’re moving to Chicago soon. It’s not creepy when Denise posts a congratulatory note on their page — the client has been seeing Denise’s updates too about her family, their new puppy and the slew of clients that Denise congratulates on her own feed.

Denise realized very early on that she needed to be free. Free from paperwork, free from chasing homebuyers for documents and signatures, free from the headache of manually managing a growing business. She wanted to be free to do what she does best: building relationships and coaching her clients to help them achieve their dreams.

Denise realized very early on that she needed to be free to do what she does best: building relationships and coaching her clients to help them achieve their dreams.

So while many technology providers in our space aim to displace the human, introducing more and more barriers to a relationship, Maxwell aims to do the opposite. If you’re a lender that shares our philosophy in the power of your people, we would love to share how our platform works alongside your existing technology stack to set your people free.

The secret of winning in the mortgage business is to put technology in its place, and to free your time as an originator to do what you do best: build meaningful client relationships.