HousingWire should take 5 “back to basics” business action loan officers

It’s a tough time to get an official loan. Refinancing activity has disappeared, housing inventories remain at their lowest and interest rates continue to rise. It’s the perfect kind of storm that will show the industry who the real survivors are and what they’ve been up to over the last couple of years.

In the midst of all the chaos, lenders may be pressed to be creative when it comes to starting a new business. Some have become niche lending officers, focusing on specific product offerings, such as reverse mortgages or non-QM loans. Some have even taken to TikTok to make funny videos on why they are the best official loans on earth. Others have decided to pack up and change careers.

For those who want to follow the course and keep it in mind, it’s time to get back to basics.

Stop Selling!

The best official loans are non-official loans. Why? Because they don’t sell a single thing. They are offering a service and they definitely believe in that service. There’s a saying, “When you believe in what you’re selling, you’re not selling at all.” If you think you need to sell anything, focus on selling yourself. There are thousands of official loans out there. What makes you the best lender? Is it knowledge of different products? Is the home a passion to help first-time buyers? Are you involved in your community? Whatever makes you special, let them know! If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, and you don’t feel good at the end of the day, you may be in the wrong business.

Build relationships

Your customer is more than just another unit or commission. They will probably be your friend, your neighbor, your shepherd, your mother, or even your children. Some of the best loan officers do not have to spend money on marketing because they have focused their business on building relationships with customers. They spend time getting to know them, understanding their needs, desires, hopes, and dreams. Through this process, the client develops a relationship with you and sees you as more than just an official borrower. You are a financial advisor and dream creator. You have helped them to make their dream come true, and you will be the one to refer to their friends and family. You’ll be the first person to call when it’s time to upgrade, shrink, or relocate. All because you took the time to build a relationship.

Keep Learning

This industry is constantly changing, and if you don’t keep up, you’ll be left behind. Stay tuned for changes in guidelines, the hottest products, the hottest markets, and the overall financial landscape. Spend some time with an underwriter and delve deeper into how they view a loan dossier or valuation. Open yourself up to loans that are not included in the agency’s guidelines.

Get to know your pipe

As the saying goes, “Get in the trash, get out the trash!” If you’re flying next to your pants seat and you have no idea what’s going on with your predictions, you’ll quickly know you’ve lost control of the narrative. Keep your CRM up to date, work on your pipeline, and lay the groundwork for loans that will be implemented in the coming months, or even years. Take off your hat and feed the shark!

Take social media

Let’s face it: if you haven’t jumped on the social media train yet, you’re in a losing battle. Even if you know early on that social media is the wave of the future, you need to stay on top of the latest trends. Some of these trends are long-term here, while others may just be the brilliance of a frying pan (think “Clubhouse”), but in the end, you need to know how to connect your options. Social media needs to be sustainable in your marketing strategies, and most importantly, get to know your audience. What works on Facebook may not work on YouTube!


Having a successful official loan will never be an “set and forget” effort; it needs constant reception and evaluation. Even if you need to change your position from time to time to move with the market, the core of your process should be constantly maintained. You’ll be able to hold on to the basics and ride any wave of the market that comes your way!

Leora Ruzin, CMB, is the Vice President of Loan at AMP Coloramo Federal Credit Union.

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