Surviving and Thriving Amid Rising Interest Rates


Faced with the grim reality of rising interest rates and lower production, mortgage firms are cutting sales staff in an effort to stay profitable. Unfortunately, this strategy reinforces mortgage banking’s reputation as a boom or bust business that has difficulty adjusting to a changing interest rate environment.

This isn’t a new issue. External events that firms have no control over are an ongoing threat that can dramatically impact a company’s performance.

So, what separates companies that survive these events from those that do not? In the Harvard Business Review article, “The Top 20 Business Transformations of the Last Decade,” authors Scott D. Anthony, Alasdair Trotter and Evan I. Schwartz, analyzed S&P 500 firms based on amount of new growth, repositioning their core business to new life, and financials profitability and stock prices. They found only 3% of public companies were able to match these benchmarks and make progress toward strategic transformation.

After extensive analysis, the authors noted that companies with the ability to reposition themselves to create a new future “and to leverage a purpose-driven mission to that end”  were able to not only survive but thrive long-term.

In mortgage banking, the most common roadblock to strategic transformation can be summed up in a single sentence: “That’s the way we have always done it.”

Instead of wiping the slate clean and putting everything on the table, managers make decisions based predominantly on what worked in the past. At best, they might implement incremental changes when what really needs to happen is an honest assessment of where they are and embracing potential solutions that require fundamental changes to how the company does business.

I would argue that now is the time for senior executives to re-think how their company generates volume and re-assess the quality of the borrower experience. Are there opportunities for new business that have been overlooked? Is your lender aligned with the changing needs of the next generation of borrowers?