The 5 Ps" Picking The Right (Mortgage) Employer

May 03, 2022
There are some excellent companies to work for and some terrible ones. I'm not sure if picking the right company to work for is an art or a science, but it takes paying attention and asking the right questions.

Due to the nature of a previous business model, many people asked: "what they should look for in picking the right company." That model depended on people concluding to work for my company, and I challenged them to drive the "5 Ps questions into their decisions.

Picking the right company boils down to what I call the 5 Ps; 

People, Products, Pay, Pricing, and Processes. 

You can throw in purpose, planning, and praying, but I started using the 5Ps in 1994 when interviewing for a loan officer position and have stuck with that. The other three should be part of our daily routine anyway.

An example is a mortgage loan officer/branch manager looking to change companies.

Note: My experience (not opinion) is that the order is necessary but not entirely weighed equally. 

  • what kind of people do you want to associate with? Know this now, or the rest doesn't matter.
  • Ask the company about values - what is important to them? Does this align with your values?
  • spend time with those in the company other than those recruiting you
  • consider the following behaviors in yourself and the company you are talking to -
    • Talk Straight
    • Create Transparency
    • Clarify Expectations
    • Practice Accountability
    • Listen First
    • Extend Trust: demonstrate a propensity to trust, but always do it appropriately based on the situation, risk, and credibility of the people involved
  • the company itself; every company is made up of talent.
    • Is the right talent in place so you can do your part?
    • Does the company have the proper financial strength?
      • How open and transparent is the company?
  • Visit with talent (people) other than those recruiting you. Were you able to meet with accounting, HR, and secondary? Be aware of "dog-and-pony" - it's ok they put the sales pitch on you (and they should) but be sure it is genuine and not just a show.
  • what are the T.A.S.K.S of the individuals and companies in general
    • Talent
    • Attitude
    • Skill
    • Knowledge
    • Style
  • Trust, but Verify (as Reagan would say).

  • this includes everything, from start to finish. Do they have the track record you need to get the results you want? While we can only hold ourselves accountable at the end of the day, ensure now that the company can support what it takes for you to be the loan officer/branch manager you are capable of being
    • training
    • originating
    • processing
    • underwriting
    • closing
    • customer service
  • where are the processing, underwriting, and closing functions performed
    • be careful of "promises" to bring it locally in the future. It's ok. They are promising but look at the company's track record. If they aren't performing any of these functions separate from corporate now, they probably aren't going to in the future.
  • Is the company a mortgage banker or broker (not that one is necessarily better than the other, be sure you know how the company is closing and selling loans)
    • ask these questions very precisely and thoroughly
    • when interviewing the company, ensure you meet people with titles of underwriter, closer, shipper, and insurer. Please find out how their process works on the banker vs. broker end.
  • Verify all aspects of your business and theirs
    • can you work within their systems?
    • Do their systems "compliment" your style
    • do they have systems that will let you get the job done
  • what about their technology?
    • Is it up-to-date?
    • Do they have dedicated personnel to keep the systems running correctly?
    • What LOS system does the company use? Do they support the LO and branch, and how much?
  • What processes do they have for getting everything done?
    • Is it in writing?
  • compliance
    • this is huge - not only is the compliance department there to protect the company, but your NMLS license is also at stake; and not just now, but ten years from now.
    • If something doesn't appear correct and those recruiting seem on edge, visit with members of the compliance department. 
    • If you practice social media, do your strategies conflict with the companies?
  • Onboarding Process
    • how long does it take to get approved?
    • How does the company handle the transition from present employer to new?
    • How does the company handle the transition if things don't work out and you need to leave?
    • Once onboard, how do you and your team get up and running with the new company?
    • who is involved? (talk to these people also)

  • While the mortgage industry has become "generic," it is crucial to know to whom the company is selling its loans.
  • Does the company have a good stable of lenders?
  • There's talk that because of the changes in compensation laws, many loan officers will want to "specialize" in certain products. Does the company have these specialty products, or are they capable of bringing them on?
  • Are the products you (and your branch, if applicable) need available.
  • Warehouse lines
    • what is the company's present monthly funding?
    • What are the company's warehouse capacities?

Undoubtedly, this is the most general topic the mortgage industry has ever faced, and while the emphasis is significant, PAY should not be the deciding factor. The people and processes are too important and can "make or break" loan funding and personal bank deposits.
  • What is the compensation plan?
    • Is it in writing?
  • Is it real or a bait and switch?
    • Can you verify it?
  • How often are you paid?
  • What is the process for being paid?
    • Is it in writing?
Note...this along with pricing, needs to be "real." Laws and regulations stipulate certain aspects of compensation must align with the industry as-a-whole. If the comp plan seems to be cutting some corners, it probably is and for a specific purpose; to get you to come to work.

Remember this.....If you have an NMLS license, your license number is on the line. Your career can not afford to take chances with a compensation plan that cuts corners for a federal auditor to make an example of later.

I can't say enough about PROTECTING your license. Know that the company you work for is worth using your license because that's precisely what you are letting them do.

If the pay looks "too good to be true, it probably is." They're likely going to adjust the pricing on you late. After you are on board, you're in the middle of the summer,r and you can't afford to change companies.

  • be sure the pricing is actual and not a teaser to get you on board.
  • Many good companies will not want to show you the pricing up-front. I don't see it this way. I'm a "lay the cards on the table" type guy. If the pay is too good, the pricing is likely not-so-good. Negotiating on the part of the LO/Branch Manager can backfire and increase margins later.
  • Many good companies will shy away from loan officers/managers that focus on this part of the equation - again; I don't entirely accept this practice. If someone gives me rate sheets upfront and ongoing, I'm able to trust but verify all along the way.
  • Be aware of "bait-and-switch" pricing.
  • Be aware that the Lender can manipulate the pricing engine to show you better pricing in the recruiting process. Your career should be significant enough to you and the company you are considering moving to spend a lot of time thinking these 5Ps at a minimum. Ask for references and call other loan officers and branch managers that work for the company. See if you can locate some that have left; remember that they could be unhappy about the industry or a particular person, but it's good to weigh all the facts and experiences.

There are a lot of opportunities; ensure you've got your eyes, ears, and hearts open.

To that end.........

We very much appreciate your reading our most recent blog article! We hope that you found value in it and were able to pull something of value from it that will you you on your journey to building a By Referral business.

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