Don’t Miss the Next Great Mortgage Boom

Patricia Sherlock

In a recent conversation I had with a mortgage executive, she mentioned that in 2017, the Millennial generation (18- to 34-year-olds) will be the largest driver of the economy—second only to Baby Boomers in terms of population and influence. As such, the Gen Ys or “millennials” represent a huge opportunity for mortgage companies in the years ahead.

The problem is that the average age of the loan officer today is late 40’s to early 50’s — a 20-year age gap. Does that matter? You bet it does. If you are not recruiting new talent to your sales force, in 1,460 days your origination efforts will be severely impacted when the “millennials” are ready to buy a house.

What makes the Millennial generation challenging for mortgage lenders? In 2010, the Pew Research Center published a white paper on the characteristics of this particular group. It contains critical insights for sales managers on how Gen Ys will impact the economy. The full report is attached. View the PDF.

Two of the report’s findings that I think are particularly important for origination:

1. Millennials are an impatient bunch with a short attention span.
Originators need to be excellent sales professionals with this group. Companies can no longer afford to have sales people who can’t sell, don’t know their products and are not experts in mortgage lending. In the past, originators would be given a reasonable amount of time to sell their services and get back to the prospect with answers to any questions. This generation will not wait. They want answers now or will seek out another vendor. Sales management needs to review the quality of the sales staff because refinances will not exist forever. How good are your originators at answering a client’s questions? Do they know their products and your sales process? Do you have mystery shoppers testing your staff? Have your managers provided the feedback that is required to coach the staff? Coaching is about practicing to win in selling. If the sales manager can’t coach or refuses to coach, do you really want them on your team?

2. Millennials are expert multi-taskers.
Gen Y is a hyper-connected group that looks for non-stop feedback. Social media is not a phase with them, but an integral part of their hard wiring. The Baby Boomer workforce is not geared to such a high level of connectivity. In my view, no amount of training in social media will change a boomer’s lifetime of competing in a non-wired world.

Sales companies that recognize and require originators to have a robust presence in social media will be winners with the millennials. During the interviewing process, do you ask candidates about their social media presence? How often do they post? How many contacts to they have? What is their sphere of influence? What are they saying online? Are you reviewing their posts? This is new territory for most companies but needs to be part of your recruiting efforts.

The bottom line is that while millennials represent an immense opportunity for mortgage companies, it is clear that we need to actively recruit younger sales professionals into our industry. If you have not made a rookie program part of your sales strategy, you could lose out on the next great mortgage boom.

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