What’s New in 2013?

We asked several lending professionals to share what they will be doing differently this year to expand their production and enhance overall customer service.

“As an originator I am leveraging the advantage of being a mortgage banker in my marketing to my Realtor and referral base—emphasizing the benefits of having the control over the underwriting and closing process. I do this in all of my marketing efforts, including monthly newsletters, e-mails and blogs. The ability to work directly with my team of underwriters, document production and funders provides a tremendous advantage over the traditional broker- only model.

“From a company perspective, we will continue to build on the success of 2012. I intend to implement a business plan that emphasizes our Realtor relationships and further recruiting of LO’s who have a balanced book of business. Additionally, we have expanded our warehouse lending capacity and staffing levels to better control the “manufacturing of loans.”

“More than ever, I believe having control of every aspect of the process results in a better client experience which leads to additional opportunities from referrals.”

Al Hensling
United American Mortgage Corporation
Irvine, Calif.

“2012 was a good year – thanks in large part to interest rates hovering at historic low levels – and it appears that 2013 will continue to bless loan originators with interest rate opportunities that we haven’t seen since the Mesozoic Era.

“That said, my team and I have agreed our focus needs to become more purchase oriented. We anticipate there will still be a fair amount of refinance opportunities but more importantly, we want to beat the rush of other loan officers who will also be directing their efforts towards purchase business once refinance applications begin to wane.

“While I believe that every aspect of an originator’s business model can always be improved, there are three areas I will be focusing on in 2013, which were somewhere neglected last year. The first area, as cliché as it may be, is Time Management. So much of 2012 was spent in a ‘reactionary’ mode and I felt like I was operating from my heels virtually the entire workday. In the new year I am committed to being in control of my in-box (rather than a slave to it) and I will stick to a time-blocked approach for managing my in-coming messages and responses, as well as the e-mails I initiate to clients, prospects and referral partners.

“The second area I will be focusing on is appointment setting with referral sources. I have committed to a minimum of three ‘sit down’ appointments a week as well as five phone calls a day. The sit down appointments will be morning coffee meetings so as to avoid cutting into the middle of the workday. The phone calls will be time blocked for 45 minutes to an hour near the end of each day. The coffee appoints and phone calls will concentrate on referral partners (both existing and those with whom I am trying to establish a new working relationship: Realtors, attorneys, CPAs, financial planners and insurance agents).

“The third area I’ll focus on is my database. I have been using ACT! for about 15 years and while it continues to be the cornerstone of my team’s operation, we agree there are areas of improvement within the database that can make us more efficient and productive. Things like data integrity, pipeline management, prospect follow-up and other basics of our day-to-day operation that center around the basic functionality of ACT!

“If we remain committed to these three areas I am confident that 2013 can make 2012 look like 2008 and if everything goes well my W2 will look like 2003.”

Matt Elerding
The Elerding Team (powered by HomeStreet Bank)
Vancouver, Wash.

“This past year I have changed a bit how I do my business. I still do a lot of marketing to keep in front of clients and referral sources. This includes monthly postcards, newsletters, e-mails and anything I can think of to keep my name in front of people.

“I now get a little more personal. I will send a handwritten thank-you card to a good referral source, simply thanking them for their support over the years.

“I still believe the marketing I do works, but in this day and age of mass mailings and e-blasts, I have found that a personal touch has helped a lot.”

Dean Vlamis
Perl Mortgage
Chicago, ILL

“In 2013 we plan to continue our successful strategy of bringing excellent education to the real estate community. For several years, we have brought in speakers to address Realtor audiences.

“This year we are developing a two-hour CE program on the Anatomy of a Mortgage that will be presented as a play in three acts and take the audience through all of the ups and downs and ins and outs of the mortgage process. I believe that the real estate community does not understand how challenging the real loan process is today, from appraisal issues, to tax transcript differentials, to the verbal VOE (yes, we have had borrowers lose their jobs and not tell us) to the last minute issues that arise with the credit refresh. We manage to overcome most issues as they come up, but agents need to learn how painstaking the process can be and how with each minor issue two –three process days can be lost seeking resolution. This is why time is the enemy in the mortgage business; most problems can be resolved given the time to address them properly.

“Upon leaving this educational event, the attendees will have a much greater appreciation for our profession and the detailed attention that is required to successfully deliver a closing on time and on the money! In addition, the Realtor community can be more effective in communicating the importance of the mortgage process and support the lender in getting borrower compliance to meet the needs of the transaction once they fully appreciate the complete process.”

Amy Tierce
Fairway Independent Mortgage
Needham, MA


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