How Community Lenders Can Recruit the Best Mortgage Loan Officers

As the home buying season ramps up, now is the time to ensure your financial institution is fully staffed with motivated, successful mortgage loan officers who will take your business to the next level. There are a number of considerations to make when it comes to recruiting the best “fit” people for your work environment, so you’ll need to think in strategic steps as you approach the process and always take your time when it comes to finding the right talent.

 
Determine What You’re Looking For

There are two distinct types of loan officers – those who are internally focused and those who are externally focused. Both have their advantages, and you should probably have a mix of both on your team. An internally focused loan officer may rely on referrals generated within the branches and not be overly interested in getting out and about generating mortgage production. This type of loan officer will be more likely to seek a base salary with a small (bonus) commission structure. While they may be nervous to dip their toes into a performance-based compensation plan, they have great skills and could become a shining star with a bit of finessing. An externally focused loan officer is one who is always on the go, building relationships with agents, builders, insurance agents, CPAs, financial advisors, etc – they are hungry to thrive and are driven by a commission-based role. Keep in mind that externally focused loan officers are vital to your organization as they will help scale your business beyond your four walls and grow market share within the community. Being self-generating and not reliant upon the institution providing referrals, these loan officers may command a higher compensation, and they’re worth it!
 

Start Your Search from Within

Once you’ve determined exactly who it is you’re looking for, it’s time to begin your search. If you’re seeking an internally focused loan officer, don’t hesitate to first look within your own office – these are individuals who are already familiar with your business, your clients and have the ability and resources available to become a great loan officer. If you are seeking a go-getter in the mortgage industry, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from your peers, which we’ll dive into below.

 

Expanding the Search Outside of Your Organization

Sometimes, finding a diamond in the rough is as simple as asking others in the industry for recommendations. Consider the different individuals and companies you work with on a regular basis to close a mortgage:

  • Title Insurance Companies – They work with loan officers from many financial institutions and therefore will have a current pulse on the industry and who may be looking for a new opportunity.
  • Mortgage Insurance Representatives – They were once considered the human resources recruiters of the mortgage industry. Local mortgage insurance reps may be helpful for introducing you to potential loan officer candidates.
  • Real Estate Agents – Identify the agents you enjoy doing business with or those you’d like to do business with and take some time to find out who their favorite loan officers are and then bring that person on board!
  • Current Employees – Don’t be afraid to ask your current team members if they know of anyone in the industry who may be interested in joining your team. If your internal staff is happy with their jobs, they’d surely recommend your financial institution to their friends or acquaintances.

Though starting the search with your inner circle can be a good strategy, sometimes it isn’t enough to find exactly what you’re looking for in a loan officer. In these instances, consider hiring a recruiter to help you find the best talent for your team.

No matter which method you use to identify a potential loan officer candidate, be sure to ask the hard-hitting questions to ensure they’re a good fit for your team, including how they intend to generate business and discussing their ethical viewpoints. If you’re hiring an external loan officer, don’t hesitate to ask what their previous closed volume was and have them back it up with their W2.  Realistically, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but you want to make sure whomever you bring on your team has ethics and mentality that align with the goals of your financial institution since they will be the face of your business.

 

Competitive Advantages of Your Institution

Identifying potential candidates is just the beginning – next, you’ll need to really sell your financial institution to the loan officers you would like to have on your team. Keep in mind that what you’re selling to your potential employees is a subset of the things you’re selling to customers – stability of the institution, access to loan programs you offer, dedication to your community and providing superior service above all other lenders in your area. Not to mention, as a community lender, your new loan officers will gain access to a list of members or customers who you already do business with and to whom they can actively market mortgage offerings. Finally, be sure to paint a picture highlighting the success a new loan officer can achieve by joining your team and give them every reason to accept the role!

Always approach your search for new team members with care – especially when it comes to loan officers, as they’ll need to build trust and camaraderie with clients in order to successfully navigate the mortgage origination process and grow your business.

Want to learn about competitive compensation plans? Watch our compensation webinar recording here.

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