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From Loan Officer to Branch Manager: Know the Risks

from mortgage loan officer to mortgage branch manager

Loan officers ready to take their career to the next level often consider becoming a mortgage branch manager. The role offers a lot of variety and allows an officer to flex their skills and experience a new way. 

The entire branching infrastructure has changed a lot over the years (remember when it used to be called a net branch? ). Running a branch is a lot like owning your own business. For many loan officers, this is an exciting prospect. However, there are unique risks involved that can impact the success of a new manager. 

If you’re thinking about taking this big step, it’s important to understand the potential challenges ahead. You should also know how to mitigate them.

Let’s have a look at the top risks you may face when switching from a loan officer to running a branch. We’ll then show how MortgageRight can help support your transition.  

The Pressures of Generating Business

The second you become a mortgage branch manager, it’s your responsibility to generate and maintain revenue. This means competing with other local branches, marketing your operation, and ensuring your process is top-notch. 

If you’re a loan officer with years of experience, an extensive portfolio, and a solid network, this may not be a problem. You’ll be able to start running your branch with momentum right out of the gates. But if you don’t have this foundation, you’ve got a lot of work to do. 

Branch managers may struggle to increase revenue due to several factors, some out of their control. These include:  

  • Market fluctuations and sudden downturns
  • An oversaturated market 
  • Regulatory compliance problems 
  • A weak business plan 
  • Poor leadership 

Taking these factors into consideration before you start running a branch will help you strategize and create smart contingency plans. 

Partnering With the Wrong Company 

Becoming a mortgage branch manager with a subpar organization is one of the biggest risks in this industry. Who you partner with can make or break your branch, so you must choose a good one. 

If your partner company doesn’t support you the way they should, it makes the process of running your branch extremely challenging. But there are other risks involved. 

A Bad Contract  

You want contract terms that are going to allow you to operate your branch the way you want and also make the money you deserve. If this isn’t in place, what’s the point? Many mortgage companies don’t pay their branch managers enough, leading to unhappiness and burnout. 

Communication Issues

For a branch manager, your partner company must be transparent and easy to reach. Unhealthy communication can lead to errors and misunderstandings about your operation. This is a recipe for friction. 

Unethical Practices 

The last thing you want is to find out that your partner isn’t operating up to industry standards. Failing to follow regulatory compliance or engaging in questionable business practices can put your branch in jeopardy. Although you’re not the one doing these things, you may suffer from a stained reputation and loss of revenue simply by association. 

Poor Resources  

When you become a branch manager, you’ll need to rely on your partner to help you with certain operational functions. Resources like training, HR, accounting, and technology will make the transition much smoother. However, if you partner with a company with flimsy resources like outdated tech and insufficient learning materials, your branch will suffer.  

Building a Good Team Is on You  

The success of any mortgage business is tied directly to its staff. As a manager, it’s up to you to build your team from the ground up. Then, you have to create a culture they appreciate. 

This can be intimidating for a young loan officer who hasn’t built up a professional network. If you don’t hit the ground running with a strong core team, you’ll end up in over your head. 

Working with good loan officers is essential. They’re the ones bringing in business and originating loans. It’s best to put together a team of loan officers you know, trust,  and who have the experience to get started without much direction. 

But loan officers are just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll have to staff your branch with other team members, including: 

  • Loan processors 
  • Administrative staff 
  • Marketing professionals 
  • Underwriters 
  • Assistants 

You’ll need to put in the time to find the best professionals in your area before you start running your branch. You’ll also have to provide the training they need to operate at a high level.  

Once you have a good team in place, your job as a branch manager is far from over. You’ll need to work to create and maintain a positive work culture to ensure retention. The last thing you want is a revolving door due to confusion, stress, frustration, and mismanagement. 

Clearly defining roles and responsibilities is key. This requires setting performance metrics for the branch, providing ongoing career development, and integrating the tools your team needs to perform their job to the best of their ability. 

MortgageRight’s Formula for Success 

Seeing loan officers make a smooth transition to a branch manager role and instantly finding success makes the team at MortgageRight very happy. We’ve developed a platform of total support so each manager has the opportunity to live a life they’ve always dreamed of. 

The challenges discussed above are very real. But we’ve created a system that removes many of these risks so you can operate your branch with as few headaches as possible. 

Here’s how MortageRight is different from other companies: 

Dedicated Support

We believe in giving our managers everything they need to run a branch right out of the gate. Our support teams are ready to help with marketing, technology, underwriting, HR, and accounting. This means you can focus on what you love – loan origination. 

Autonomy 

While we offer a world of support, we also want our managers to run their branches the way they see fit. This means you can choose to use the support systems at your disposal or not. For example, if you prefer to handle the marketing side of your branch yourself, we encourage that. 

As a manager, you also get to set your margins and choose your compensation plan. This means having more control over your revenue and income. That’s something you won’t get with other partners. 

A Healthy Culture 

At MortgageRight, we don’t believe in micromanaging. We want our branch managers to feel free to do things how they like and come to us when they need support. 

Communication is also a big part of our culture. As a branch manager, you can pick up the phone and talk to a MortgageRight owner anytime you want. There aren’t layers of management in your way. We also work to ensure you can get in touch with our support teams whenever you need them. 

Attractive Rates

When you’re running your own branch, your rates have to be competitive. If they aren’t, it’s going to be hard to bring in new business. 

MortgageRight is a direct lender, which means we can offer better rates than any other local mortgage broker. This gives you an instant advantage when starting your branch from the ground up. Better rates mean a better reputation and more clients. 

Become a Branch Manager The Right Way  

Take the first step toward branch management with a partner who’s got your back. MortgageRight can give you the tools you need to go from loan officer to business owner. 
Want to learn more about our platform? Schedule a live demo today.