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Is Your Loan Officer A Leader or Paper Pusher?

Being a PROFESSIONAL Loan Originator in today’s market requires more than just a fancy title on a business card or the affiliation with a recognizable name in lending. As regulators try to continue to minimize the importance of the counsel of talented lenders through tightening guidelines and the guise of transparency, the public needs to have a better handle on how to identify a good loan officer and what value they can bring to the transaction. Being a good loan officer is being a good Leader, and Leaders have three core components:

  1. They are EXPERTS. Solid loan officers know the requirements of their loan products; they know how to qualify borrowers for those products; and they have an understanding of the process workflow. Moreover, they can effectively communicate these items to consumers who “don’t do this every day”, and in so doing, they garner the trust and confidence of those consumers. But, EXCEPTIONAL Loan Officers offer more. They can offer insight to likely interest rate movements before it occurs because they are students of the financial markets (of course, with no guarantees, but with some reasonable probabilities). They can discuss income tax strategies (which, of course, should be reviewed with an accountant) that can help optimize the benefits of homeownership. In addition, the best loan officers are surrounded by a team of experts in other areas- real estate, financial planning, life insurance, wills & estates, construction/renovation, credit score optimization, and more.
  2. They are EMPATHETIC. The loan officer of today needs to know more that facts and figures. They need to read into the nuances of a file and be able to bring out the character of the borrower. That only comes from a loan application consultation that includes hopes, dreams, and compassion about the past. Most files today have some issues (be it in the credit score or documentation of income and assets). The great loan officer knows how to highlight the strengths of a file and document the challenges in a way to lessen their impact for the underwriter. If expertise is a science, empathy is the art form. And it requires exceptional listening skills which is crucial for today’s originator.
  3. They THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Most lending today is done inside the “boxes” of the FICO Credit Scoring System and the Automated Underwriting Systems. Superior loan officers understand how the “boxes” think. They know the old adage “garbage in/garbage out”. The loan officer who can properly structure a loan can get loans closed that others cannot. Loan officers who can counsel clients on asset positioning, credit score optimization, and such can be invaluable.

It is my experience in life that people want to follow in areas where they are not the expert. Getting a mortgage today, it demands that you find someone worth following. You need a loan officer who is a leader. We define that Leader as an EXPERT who is both EMPATHETIC and CREATIVE. My advice is you search for the BEST PERSON, even more than you search for the lowest rate and fees.

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