4 Ways Mortgage Lenders Can Set Loan Officers Up For Success
Loan officers are an essential piece of the mortgage lending puzzle. They’re responsible for receiving and reviewing loan applications, collecting supporting documents, negotiating the terms of loans, and so much more.
In other words, they’re likely your business’s primary revenue generators.
That means anything you can do to help your loan officers become more productive and efficient will have a direct impact on your bottom line.
Below, we discuss a number of strategies and tips that you can use to empower your loan officers — and by extension, your business — to succeed. This includes rethinking how you train your team, providing ideas for keeping their funnel full of prospective borrowers, and encouraging them to adopt and use new technologies that can make their jobs easier.
Ways to help your loan officers be more effective
1. Look for ways to streamline the origination process.
In today’s environment of rising interest rates and lower origination volume, it’s more important than ever to revisit your process and understand if there might be ways that you can streamline it. Removing unnecessary friction from the origination process empowers your loan officers to work more efficiently and effectively.
Which opportunities exist will vary depending on your existing workflows. With this in mind, you should walk through your loan origination process from start to finish twice:
- Once as a prospective borrower looking for a loan.
- Once as a loan officer supporting the borrower.
On your first walkthrough, look for ways to reduce friction, or otherwise increase the likelihood that a borrower will complete an application without dropping off. Any pain points you address here could go far in improving your conversion metrics and keeping your loan officers’ funnels full of prospects.
On your second walkthrough, look for ways to remove redundant or unnecessary work, such as consolidating tasks, leveraging automation, or implementing other technologies that help your team save time.
For example, if you require your borrowers to submit paper applications which must then be manually entered into your electronic systems, you might consider making the transition to electronic applications. Instead of requiring hard copies of supporting documents, you might consider accepting digital uploads.
Not only would these changes remove unnecessary data entry, but they could also help you meet your customers where they are and provide a generally more pleasant experience.
2. Rethink your training.
Once you’ve revisited your origination process and made any changes, it’s critical that you then communicate these changes to your team, including your loan officers.
Explaining why the process has changed is just as important as explaining how it’s changed. When your team understands the benefits of the change, it can reduce pushback and increase the chances that they’ll comply with the changes without reverting to their old ways. This is especially critical if you have implemented new technologies (discussed below) in your process and are worried about adoption rates.
Once your existing staff is up-to-date, you should also revisit the onboarding and training process that you have in place for new loan officers. Update any handbooks, wikis, how-to videos, or other resources you may have in place to reflect the changes you’ve made.
At the end of the day, your goal is to ensure that your loan officers — whether new hires or experienced veterans — understand every step of the origination process, including those parts that they may not be responsible for. Why? Because when each of your employees understands how each step of the process feeds into the next, it helps them understand how their actions impact the workflow of other team members. This can reduce friction when a file is handed off at different parts of the process.
3. Encourage them to adopt new technologies.
Recent years have seen an explosion in new technologies and solutions specifically designed to help make the lending process more efficient.
Taking advantage of these technologies can empower your loan officers to shave hours or even days off their average loan cycle time, reducing the costs of originating a loan and helping you retain more value from each loan.
Worried that your loan officers will be reluctant to incorporate these new technologies into their workflow? Some tips that can help you improve adoption include:
- Explain how the technology helps them: An easy way to increase adoption rates is to tell your loan officers how the technology will help them do their jobs better, faster, and more efficiently.
- Update your training materials: One of the biggest reasons loan officers are reluctant to adopt new technology is that it requires them to learn how that technology works. The easier you can make training, the better adoption rates will be. Consider pulling together detailed walkthroughs for how the new solutions work, which your loan officers can leverage. How-to manuals with embedded screenshots, gifs, and videos can be a great resource.
- Let them customize their dashboards: Some tools, such as CRMs, allow users to customize how information is organized and displayed. Because each of your loan officers likely has their own slightly different way of doing things, allowing them to organize their dashboard in the way that makes the most sense to them can encourage adoption.
- Consider an incentive program: Especially in the early weeks or months of adopting a new technology, consider building an incentive program where your best performing loan officers win a prize. Make it clear that performance will be tied in some way to the technology — for example, using metrics specifically tied to each solution. If you are trying to increase adoption of a new CRM, for example, you might measure productivity based on the number of “Deals Closed” in that system. Likewise, if you are trying to increase the adoption of a new embedded insurance platform, you might measure success by the amount of cross-sell revenue each loan officer generates.
Some options for new technologies you might consider include incorporating into your workflows include:
Electronic identity verification
How do you currently verify the identity of your prospective borrowers? Do you require them to send you physical copies of relevant documents (such as their driver’s license, birth certificate, etc.)? Do you require in-person verification in your offices?
There are many solutions now on the market that empower you to complete the verification process entirely online. Most of these solutions work through a combination of automated database checks and digital document verification. This means that a process that previously took days to complete can now be completed in minutes — allowing for faster onboarding.
Automated income and asset verification
As with electronic identity verification (above) there are now many digital solutions for income and asset verification that you can use to more quickly determine a prospective borrower’s down payment and ability to pay.
Different solutions work in different ways. That being said, they’re often powered by direct integrations with payroll providers (income), bank portals (assets), or other sources of consumer-permissioned data.
Mortgage documents are notoriously time-sensitive. If your borrower fails to sign a required document, form, or disclosure within the allotted time (often within 72 hours) it can cause serious problems. In the best-case scenario, it might keep you from closing on the loan for a few more days, driving up the cost of the loan. But worst-case, it could cause a deal to fail outright.
E-signatures make it possible for your borrowers to sign these documents digitally. This means that your loan officers don’t have to worry about scheduling a last-minute meeting just to get a signature. Because digital documents don’t need to be scanned for record-keeping, it also translates into time saved in the office.
Proof of homeowners insurance is typically a requirement before a loan can be finalized. But some borrowers may not understand just how important it is — or how time-consuming it can be to shop around for the best coverage at the lowest rates. As with delayed signatures, if your borrowers delay in purchasing coverage it can add time and expense to the loan origination process.
Embedded homeowners insurance refers to specific technologies that prompt a borrower to purchase homeowners insurance at the moment in the origination process that it becomes necessary.
In addition to removing the risk of timing delays, embedded insurance gives you a way of providing value to your borrower — because they no longer have to worry about finding insurance on their own. Likewise, embedded insurance also offers you with a new source of referral revenue that you may otherwise not have had access to.
Want to arm your borrowers with competitive home insurance rates?
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4. Encourage them to establish a social media presence.
Mortgage loan officers are sort of like shepherds, who help prospective borrowers navigate the complicated journey from application to finalized loan. But in order for your loan officers to be consistently productive, new prospects need to be entering the funnel at all times.
While it’s true that the marketing team is often responsible for filling the funnel, your loan officers can also play a role in generating and qualifying their own leads. Social media makes it easier for your loan officers to connect with prospective borrowers and build relationships that convert into business.With this in mind, you should consider how you might encourage your loan officers to establish a social media presence and utilize it for lead generation.
Some ideas for how your loan officers might leverage social media in this way include:
- Joining and contributing to relevant local social media groups: Social media platforms have many groups geared toward homeowners and aspiring homeowners. They’re often broken down by state or city. Joining these groups could be an excellent way for your loan officers to broaden their network of potential borrowers.
- Answering people’s questions online: People turn to social media to ask questions about things that matter to them. If your loan officers see questions about buying a home (or anything else related to homeownership) they could consider answering the question. By providing value to their network, they start to build credibility and trust, which can translate into more closed deals.
- Running targeted social media ads: Most of the large social media platforms make it possible to run very targeted social ads. This includes targeting by income, location, and interest. Getting your ads in front of the right audience can be one of the most effective ways to fill your funnel. Search ads can also be effective.
- Experiment with newer apps: Facebook and Instagram may be the apps that instantly jump to mind when you think about social media, but they’re not the only options out there. Your loan officers might have success experimenting with alternative apps like Snapchat and TikTok, which cater to a slightly younger audience, or Nextdoor, which is more neighborhood-focused.
- Lean into aspiration: For most people, homeownership is an aspirational goal. Leaning into this aspiration can be an excellent way to drum up business. For example, you might encourage your loan officers to share a post (with their borrowers’ consent) every time one of their borrowers closes on a home. A picture of happy buyers in front of their new home, with a short write-up of what the buying process was like (and how your loan officer was able to help) can go really far.
How Matic can help
Here at Matic, we understand the critical role that your loan officers play. We also understand that when you make your origination process more efficient, it empowers your loan officers to spend their time doing what they do best. Leveraging embedded insurance can help you accomplish that goal.
With a network of more than 40 A-rated carriers, our embedded homeowners insurance solution is designed to make it as easy as possible for your borrowers to get the coverage they need at the moment they need it.
Interested in learning more? Request information or book a demo today!
The content contained herein is for general informational purposes only and is provided on an ‘as is’ basis. Matic makes no warranties, expressed or implied, or representations concerning the accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the content or any content linked herein.