From Christine Beckwith’s point of view, what will set mortgage lenders apart in 2020 and beyond is their ability to evolve quickly. That’s a lesson some learned the hard way last year when interest rates reversed course and birthed an unexpected refi boom — at least, for those who were ready to accommodate it. Beckwith, president and chief operating officer at 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching, works with some of the nation’s largest lenders to train and equip executives and loan officers, and sees first-hand the difference a proactive approach can make.
“I think the greatest [staffing] challenge I see among lenders are people who felt like they missed out on the chance to grab volume in 2019, which means a lot of people were moving companies,” Beckwith said. “Lenders and loan officers felt that there were a lot of apples on the ground and they didn’t have enough baskets — that they missed the moment.”
Navigating the ups and downs of the housing market requires executives to be forward-thinking and make sure their staff, especially their loan officers, are trained for what’s coming next. That’s the mission of Beckwith’s coaching and training curriculum, developed from her 30 years of experience in the industry, and one of the reasons she is serving as emcee for a full day of sessions at the engage.talent event on Feb. 6 in Dallas.
The event features sessions on attracting and retaining top talent for digital roles, operations and fulfillment staff and, of course, top performing loan officers. It will also cover LO comp, developing bench strength for future growth, the impact of company culture and much more, all with Beckwith shepherding speakers and topics as emcee.
The timing of the conference is key, Beckwith said, as “this year is going to continue to be very competitive for top talent.”
In a market where margins are thin and lenders have to raise their rates to cover costs, LOs are tempted to jump to greener pastures. But smart companies can counter that trend.
“In the beginning of 2019, good companies provided preventative education to their sales team, letting them know it was going to be the same everywhere they went — margins were thin everywhere. Loan officers might swim over to another company for a better interest rate sheet, but that’s giving up all you know and there are tons of other variables. Loan officers can get tunnel vision over rates, so there was a whole lot of first- and second- quarter attrition.”
Preparation is crucial for success in this environment, and so is providing the tools and training LOs need to adapt quickly to new business and marketing opportunities. Beckwith said executives sometimes only see the value of training those new to the industry, but many current employees — particularly those in their 50s and above —already feel adrift in such a fast-changing environment and get a great benefit from training in social channels and digital adoption.
“What we see over the 12-month training program we provide is that it lowers the attrition rate for current employees. They see the investment the company is making in them and see how they can be more successful. Beyond that, training helps them differentiate themselves from the competition,” Beckwith said.