Which Is More Important: The Loan Officer or the Lender?
The obvious answer to this question? Both.
A lender should have the widest array of products with competitive rates and terms. Service should be exceptional from pre-approval to closing. After all, you want the very best for your client.
But What About Your Needs?
The loan officer (LO) plays a pivotal role in your relationships with both current and future clients. You count on them to guide your clients through the minefield that is the loan approval process. Because the LO is a source of current business and future referrals, finding the right LO is certainly important.
The Mortgage Lender: Leadership, Technology, Marketing, and Loan Products
The right mortgage lender must have:
- Financial resources and leadership, with the expertise to manage it. They should have the technology needed to support loan officers, underwriters, and marketers. They should also have administrative staff capable of providing both internal and external access to important customer data across multiple platforms through apps and a mobile-friendly website.
- Marketing resources to support co-branding efforts with everything from open house flyers to Facebook advertising campaigns, in addition to expertise with all other marketing, advertising, PR, and social media channels.
- FHA, VA and conventional loan products — a Fannie Mae Seller/Servicer, USDA and VA LAPP approved, a Ginnie Mae Issuer and Freddie Mac approved — as well as strong working relationships with appraisers, title search, and closing attorneys.
In the highly regulated and uniform mortgage industry, any experienced and well-funded lender should meet these requirements.
So What Differentiates One Lender From the Other?
People who provide the best possible service for your client and you — and that begins and ends with the loan officer.
The Loan Officer: Your Single Point of Contact
The right LO must:
- Be trustworthy, knowledgeable, professional, and personable
- Treat clients, colleagues, and other key players throughout the loan approval process with respect
- Have the soft skills necessary to develop a working rapport with yourself and your clients
- Have the marketing resources to support cobranded efforts
- Have the marketing expertise to manage social media, email campaigns, and nurture declined and post-close clients
- Keep customers up-to-date on their loan progress
- Have follow up skills that involve returning calls and responding to information requests as soon as possible
- Mitigate and resolve those internal situations that could threaten a loan closing
- Be able to deliver bad news, admit a mistake, or failure to communicate
- Do the best job possible to ensure the borrower has the very best mortgage experience
- Enjoy their work and rising to a challenge
When a client is focused only on finding the lowest possible rate, you have a teachable moment. Rates and terms are important, but not at the expense of a bungled mortgage transaction.
From assisting the client in pulling documentation to addressing credit concerns, an exceptional LO can find solutions when there is no easy answer.
An exceptional LO that makes their lender your go-to lender. Of course, you always need multiple LO’s that you can turn to should your primary LO be unavailable.
When building your roster of lenders, remember it’s the LO that can make all the difference.