Conventional wisdom in our industry assumes that the next step for mortgage processors is the underwriter position. In the past, this seemed logical when the processor role was primarily administrative. But today, many lenders expect processors to communicate with borrowers, vendors, and other parties in the loan process. As the processor role has evolved, so must the career path for the position. It is time to view processors as viable candidates for becoming originators.
While some processors still perform strictly administrative tasks, the majority of processors interact directly with customers on a regular basis. While this tactic frees up originators to prospect for new referral sources, it becomes an issue when companies hire processors who do not have the interpersonal and communication skills to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
To meet the increased demands of the position, processors must be good at multitasking but also know how to interact effectively with many different types of customers during the loan review process. In some cases, processors are speaking to customers more than the loan officer!
Building a Deeper Staffing Bench
By hiring processor candidates who have great administrative and interpersonal skills, lenders can solve the age-old problem of recruiting future loan originators. These processors have the benefit of knowing the lender’s culture and the practical experience of putting a loan file together. After a defined period of time, processors can transition to the originator’s job where the only training required would be prospecting for referral sources.
I know a number of lenders have tried to create a deeper staffing bench by recruiting college graduates for the originator position but in my opinion, this strategy is risky. If the new hires don’t work out, lenders don’t have much to show for their investment of time and money. A smarter tactic is to hire processors with communication skills and consider them for an originator position down the line. As employees, these processors are a better bet, having already demonstrated their talent and work ethic. Moreover, mortgage processors with excellent communication skills can deliver the outstanding customer experience needed to generate repeat and referral business.
I think now is the time for lenders to abandon conventional wisdom and re-think the traditional career path for processors. Hire the right person for this critical position and start processors on a career path that they deserve.