Why Quality Mortgage Processors Are Essential to Sales Success

Patricia Sherlock

I often write about what it takes for originators and managers to succeed in an ultra-competitive mortgage environment. Today, I want to discuss another person on the sales team who is indispensable – the mortgage processor. While mortgage processors are thought of as working behind-the-scenes, they are primary drivers of an excellent customer experience.

The concept that a chain is no stronger than its weakest link first appeared in Thomas Reid’s “Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man,” published in 1786. In business, the proverb has long been used by top leaders to signify the importance of all employees.

In recent history, General Charles Krulak, a former USMC Commander, has taken the idea a step further with his Law of Leadership which states, “the future of an organization is in the hands of the privates in the field, not the generals back home.”

Why Krulak is so right should be evident to any sales leader attempting to navigate the current volatility and disruption in mortgage banking. Customers want instant information and quick resolution during the home loan process. This means front-line employees must make split-second decisions which could have a lasting impact on the customer’s experience and the lender’s reputation.

This is why hiring the right candidate with the skills needed for handling today’s customers is essential. Just as every individual is not matched for an originator or manager position, not every candidate is suited for the mortgage processor role.

While the position differs at some companies, mortgage processors are typically the handoff point for the loan file from the originator to the underwriter. Once the originator takes the application, the processor must communicate with the borrower; interface with third-party vendors; and understand what the underwriter needs to approve or disapprove the loan. It is a complex responsibility that requires individuals with excellent administrative and communication skills.

Once they receive the application, processors are tasked with moving the customer to the next point in the loan process. During the 45- to 60-day loan closing period, processors will have dozens of conversations with borrowers preparing them for the loan closing. The reality is that a processor may speak to the customer more than a loan officer ever will. Having the right person in the job can make all the difference in how customers perceive the lender.

 

Mortgage Processor Core Competencies

What core competencies should a mortgage processor have? After years of analyzing this position, we have identified the personality traits good processors possess. They fall into two distinct categories: administrative and interpersonal. Administrative traits include process focused, multi-tasking, high energy, and self–reliance. The interpersonal traits are positive service attitude, interpersonal influence, accommodation, and social comfort.

But personality traits are only part of the equation. Processors must not only be knowledgeable on underwriting guidelines but they must be well-versed on the communication techniques that create a deeper relationship with borrowers.

If a sales group wants to achieve their growth goals, it is critical that all members of the origination team be matched for their respective positions and that includes mortgage processors. As General Krulak wisely noted, “Leaders are judged ultimately, by the quality of the leadership reflected in their subordinates.”

Isn’t it time to recruit and hire individuals who deliver outstanding service in all phases of the loan process? Our customers are demanding it.

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