Michael Hughes: The Importance of Credit Technology in the Recruitment Process

PERSON OF THE WEEK: As mortgage lending volumes continue to decline, lenders are cutting staff and shedding excess capacity. However, they still aggressively recruit top sales talent.

Getting the attention of top LOs is a challenge. Getting them to jump ship can be even more difficult.

To find out what it takes to attract the best LOs, MortgageOrb recently spoke with Michael Hughes, Associate Sales Performance Manager at Mortgage Cadence and former loan officer.

Q: How long have you been a mortgage LO and what was your experience?

Hughes: I joined Mortgage Cadence in May 2021, but for the previous seven years I was an LO at a regional bank. I loved that and the relationships I built with my clients. I was actually making loans up until the day I started here. At the time, technology was playing such a large role in our work as loan originators that I began to consider moving into technology sales and looked at a number of industries.

After meeting with the Mortgage Cadence team, it was clear that this was the place for me. I made the move at the right time because with volumes starting to normalize, lenders have more time to evaluate future technology investments. As they do that, they find that better lending technology helps them attract better teams, and so we’re seeing a lot more interest from lenders.

Q: What exactly are lenders looking for in the lending system now?

Hughes: In many ways, lenders are looking for the same things they always have: a modern system based on the latest technology that offers them the flexibility to drive their own workflows and business processes, rather than accepting what the developer has built into the platform. They want the power to work with any vendor they easily choose, not just LOS developer partners. They want the power to create better processes that finally take the stress out of businesses and speed up loan closings.

But on top of all that, we’re talking to more lenders that focus on the LO experience. They consider LOS a recruiting tool – and they’re right.

When I was making loans, I was always looking for tools that would make it easier for me to find business and better serve my clients’ needs on the way to a smooth closing.

Lenders serious about recruiting the best people in the industry are taking a closer look at new lending technology.

Q: What does it really take to get an LO’s attention?

Hughes: That’s a good question and I think more lenders are talking to their sales teams right now. Having good company support has always been important. Good managers are a big draw, culture is just as important, sometimes even more important than the initial compensation plan.

But for most LOs, the technology stack their company offers can make or break the deal. The LO will want to have autonomy, but ultimately it will come down to what will make the job easier.

After all, if a LO can close more loans and still have time to be at home with family or friends – and do the things they want to do with their lives – that’s the company they’ll want to work for . This requires technology.

Q: From a functionality perspective, what does LO need to realize this goal?

Hughes: Because all LOs have different approaches to how they build their business, it is difficult to create a one-size-fits-all approach. The real answer is that the LO needs whatever it takes to enable them to do the best possible job of getting borrowers through their process to the closing table.

Q: Do LOs today expect recruiters to understand mortgage technology?

Hughes: I think so. The LO that the lender is trying to hire will have questions about the company’s technology – and if the lender can’t answer those questions over the phone, they’ll never get them to come for a visit.

But that doesn’t mean everyone in HR needs to understand the lender’s technology suite. When I worked at the bank, I was often called to sit in on a conversation with a prospective employee and explain what we use in our daily lives. This helped them get a full picture of what they might be getting into when changing the organization.

It helped them hear all about the culture and the brand, but it always came down to the question: how easy is it to get a new loan on the platform and for the borrower to be satisfied?

Every LO knows that they won’t grow their line and have enthusiastic fans without technology to help them do so.

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