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Choosing Your Path: The Pros and Cons of Different Lending Environments

choosing between different mortgage lending environments

It’s both an exciting and stressful time to be a mortgage professional. The industry has gone through major ups and downs over the past several years. Though times have been tough for lenders and home buyers, 2024 may just be the year things stabilize. 

If you’re a loan officer or mortgage branch manager looking for a change, there are plenty of paths to success. It’s all about finding what works for you. And while the old net branch structure that helped so many loan officers thrive is long gone, there are other routes you can consider. 

When deciding on your new path, you have to think about your long-term personal and financial goals. It’s all about being happy and living life on your terms. For you, the best mortgage companies to work for are the ones that can fulfill these needs. 

To help you out, we’re taking a look at the pros and cons of working for large banks, brokerage shops, and direct lenders. The three primary differences between each are where you get your clients, the process, and the ease of originating loans. But there are a lot of other factors to consider when deciding. 

Large Banks

A desk in the mortgage department of a top US bank seems like the dream to many newly graduated loan officers. For those who land one of these jobs, the reality is probably much different than their expectations.

Working for a large bank isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not for everyone. You need to have a particular mindset to succeed. And while there are plenty of perks, you’ll have to compromise. 


Large banks are some of the best mortgage companies to work for if you have a passion for the grind. You’ll help service massive client volume to bring in constant revenue. Benefits include: 

  • Your client pipeline will always be full. 
  • Access to a variety of financial services makes supporting clients easy. 
  • You can offer discounts and favorable terms to existing clients. 
  • Job security is strong due to financial stability. 
  • Brand recognition broadens your client base. 
  • You’ll have the support of in-house compliance. 

These advantages suit mortgage professionals starting out in their careers. You’ll get intense work experience and the opportunity to build your portfolio. 


The corporate nature of large banking institutions can pose many challenges to loan officers who want to truly make their mark. While you have the backing of a household name, you may run into the following challenges: 

  • Strict loan approval requirements make it hard to provide innovative solutions. 
  • Middle management makes money while you do the hard work. 
  • You won’t have decision-making power. 
  • Red tape slows down the loan origination process. 
  • Customer service takes a back seat to high volume. 
  • You’ll sacrifice work-life balance.  

Working for a large bank is a hustle and can be rewarding if you enjoy the lifestyle. However, if you like to think outside the box, it may not be right for your personality. 

Brokerage Shops

If you want a little more freedom to operate on your terms, working for a brokerage shop offers more wiggle room than the big banks. Though smaller, brokerages can be some of the best mortgage companies for work in the sector. 

As a broker, you need to have in-depth knowledge of the different home loans available. You’ll also need to be familiar with local lenders and know which ones can offer the right solutions for specific situations. 


Brokerage firms provide an all-in-one service geared towards setting clients up for success. Working in this unique field offers several benefits, including: 

  • You’ll have access to a wide range of mortgage products and lenders. 
  • A strong network supports your success rate. 
  • Lender relationships let you tailor loan solutions to each client. 
  • You’ll enjoy more autonomy and control over your day-to-day operation. 
  • Access to a large client base results in a diverse and exciting experience. 

If you’re ready to take on more responsibility, starting your brokerage shop can be very rewarding. It requires a bigger leap than taking a job with a large bank, but if you want a challenge, this may be the route for you.  


Because you don’t have the support of a large bank, working as a mortgage broker requires a lot more effort on your part. You’re going to run into challenges, including: 

  • Broker commissions increase your client fees. 
  • A weaker infrastructure makes daily operation harder. 
  • To remain flexible, you may have to dip into your own margins. 
  • Maintaining consistent business can be stressful. 
  • You’re responsible for staying compliant. 
  • Access to fewer benefits means you can’t enjoy the perks of a large bank.

Starting your own brokerage shop can be extremely lucrative if you’re ready to take a more authoritative step in your career. Make sure you carefully consider the high-stress environment and heavy workload before you dive in. 

Direct Lending

Many loan officers will likely say that some of the best mortgage companies to work for are direct lenders. These firms have the reputation, client base, and infrastructure set up for high volume. 

Direct lending is a bit different from the brokerage world in that you facilitate the loan for clients. This requires a unique operational structure.


Loan officers who get into direct lending typically enjoy the support of a long-standing organization. This comes with many benefits, including: 

  • Digital mortgage platforms facilitate a streamlined process.  
  • High client volume may allow you to offer lower rates. 
  • Automated systems make for faster processing times. 
  • Salaries are backed by benefits packages. 
  • Brand recognition increases the trust factor with clients. 
  • Many direct lenders offer career development. 

If you’re after a good work-life balance, a job with a direct lender may be for you. However, certain roadblocks turn off some loan officers. 


While working for an established direct lender provides a high level of support, there are challenges you’ll need to consider. These often involve the corporate structure. They include: 

  • You have less freedom to personalize loan products for each client. 
  • Customer service isn’t front and center. 
  • Rates and loan terms aren’t always negotiable. 
  • There are lots of rules and red tape associated with the process. 
  • You may have to adhere to strict compliance guidelines. 
  • Commission structures could cap your earning potential. 

When considering direct lending, make sure you think about your long-term financial goals. Yes, you’ll make a good salary, but you may not grow at a speed that’s right for you. 

Be Your Own Branch: Manage Your P&L at MortgageRight

If you’re on the fence about the three career options discussed above, consider running your own branch with MortgageRight. We offer a unique platform that gives you the support you need to make a smooth transition and grow a successful P&L business

Our model offers: 

  • Back-office support such as HR, payroll, and IT services. 
  • A built-in tech stack and all-in-one marketing support. 
  • Transparent management of your P&L that leaves you in control. 
  • A flat fee-based partnership. 
  • Access to a wide range of mortgage products and low rates. 
  • No earning caps. 
  • Recruitment support that helps you build a qualified team. 

Our branch managers are self-starters with the industry experience needed to generate prospects and close loans. If this is you, consider making the switch to branch management and take your career in a whole new direction. 

Partner With One of the Best Mortgage Companies to Work For

Managing a true P&L model isn’t for everyone. It takes hard work and a passion for entrepreneurship. If this challenge sounds appealing, partnering with MortgageRight allows you to take control of your career path. 

Schedule a live demo to find out why we’re one of the best mortgage companies to work for in the industry.

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