A loan processor friend of mine, I'll call her Lisa, shared a story with me yesterday, about a mortgage broker that had a meltdown. I thought the lesson learned applies to everyone in the real estate and mortgage industry, so I will share it. Up through 2008, this mortgage broker, I'll call him Sam, had a thriving business. He employed 30 solid producing loan officers, and enjoyed having a fruitful business. As the market changed in 2007, Sam began to lose loan officers, and is currently down to 4 or 5. He hired Lisa, about 6 months ago, to be his contract loan processor. When she was hired, she agreed to: the standard job expectations, and to process loans at a reduced per file cost, in exchange for all of the volume of his office. As the months have gone on, Sam has isolated himself from his colleagues, and has become hostile towards those around him. It has reached a point where he does not even want to talk to his borrowers after he takes the initial loan application, wanting instead that the processors handle everything that comes up, including dealing with his clients directly. He only interacts with his employees to question the status of loans, and to bark and blame everyone for not doing enough to close his and their loans.
Lisa decided that since the time being spent on each loan has dramatically risen, and the number of times each loan was having to be resubmitted to alternate lenders has increased, that she should be fairly compensated for her time. She asked Sam if he would agree to increase her compensation per closed loan due to the added time requirements she experiencing. Sam flew off the handle. He began to pressure Lisa about why loans had not been closing, and why things were not getting done. Lisa explained to Sam that in addition to the new lending environment they're in, and the additional responsibilities of contacting all of his borrowers, the loans were taking more time to close, and that she needed to be compensated correctly for it. Sam threatened to let her go if she did not do everything she could to close a loan, and told her it his her responsibility for everything concerning the loans, and that he would not compensate her for the additional time she spends on the files. Lisa chose to no longer take on anymore loans for Sam, close all of the loans she is currently working on, and seek new brokers to process for.
This story is probably more common in todays market than anyone would care to believe. Most of us in the California real estate and California mortgage world, are commission based workers. We know what reasonable expectations are. We have to hustle every day, in each of our respective positions. Teamwork, respect, and hard work are cornerstones of success, and if we lose confidence in our team, the engine stops running. We all have to remember that whether we're the realtor, mortgage broker, processor, title agent, or escrow officer, everyone gets paid when the loan closes, and all of us have to support each other if we want to succeed. If we feel like we're having a hard time making it, don't forget that those around us are also struggling, and still need to be treated with the same respect that we would want to be treated with. If Sam could have simply stopped feeling sorry for himself long enough, and realized that his processor was making a reasonable request, that her compensation would come from the borrowers, and not out of his pocket, he probably would not be losing her. Sam's self-pity and self-destruction is causing him to lose his entire business. In this difficult time, we all need to remember what made us succeessful from the beginning. Be a professional, treat others with respect, have confidence in your team, and you can be as successful as ever.