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Top 3 Reasons Mortgage Branch Managers Go To Work for a Different Company

Net Branch Opportunity

Does this scenario sound familiar? You’re not getting paid what you know you could get elsewhere. Your rates really aren’t the greatest. It’s getting harder to get your customers loans approved, your loans aren’t closing quickly or on time in some cases, and your phone calls and emails aren’t getting returned fast enough. Your volume is up but your company wasn’t prepared for it and now your turn times have gotten slower. It seems like your company doesn’t value you as much as you value your clients.

Is finding a different mortgage company to work for the answer? 

Here’s the reality: you work hard to build profitable referral relationships. You give your very best to get your customers loans closed smoothly and on time so you can generate even more referrals. If you aren’t getting paid what you’re worth and your company doesn’t have the same values that you do, tensions can run high and your referral relationships can pay the price. This begs the question, “Should I be looking for a new branch opportunity?”  

Sometimes, it’s an easy answer, but sometimes it’s not. 

Changing companies can be challenging as you learn their systems and integrate your business processes in with theirs. 

With all of the moving parts and complexities of the mortgage business, when is the right time to make a move to a different opportunity? Is there a wrong time to make a move? 

While there exist a seemingly endless list of bad reasons to make a move, there really are only 3 business-related reasons to leave your current branching company to find a new home. As a branch manager, it is critical to understand when to stay and when to go, as the implications affect not only you, but also your team as well. 

Here are the 3 most important reasons why you as a mortgage branch manager should make the jump to a different branch opportunity. 

You can make more commission somewhere else.

If you can earn more money by making a move, the opportunity simply cannot be ignored. There are upward moves, downward moves and lateral moves. You want to make every upward move you possibly can as you continue to grow your mortgage origination business. This seems like a no-brainer, but some loan originators continue working for companies who pay them less than what they could be making because they simply don’t know what else is out there for them or they just don’t want to dig in, do the homework, and make a change. If you can earn more BPS on every loan that you work hard to bring in, that’s a definite reason to start looking for a new company to work for.  

Also, access to lower rates means more for you AND your clients. Think about it – if you can gain access to a more competitive product, everyone wins. If you had access to lower rates to sell, you could keep your rates at the same level as what you’re currently selling and keep all of the increased gains for yourself, or you could choose to pass along a better rate to your borrowers and also pay yourself a higher, albeit slightly smaller, commission at the same time. Having the option to offer lower rates to your customers increases your ability to close even more loans, helping you make even more money and putting you into a position to help more borrowers. 

That’s a huge win for you, your clients and your referral partners! 

Here’s what branch managers have to watch out for though: Avoid taking a higher commission plan at the expense of higher interest rates. There are some branching companies out there who will offer you what looks like a great opportunity, but in reality they’re just playing a shell-game in disguise. This is just a loss cleverly disguised as a win, because in the long-term, your business will suffer thanks to their higher rates that you now have to pass on to your borrowers. What you’re looking for is to partner up with a mortgage company that will give you the highest BPS payout possible and the most competitive interest rates along with your comp plan. 

The great news about branch manager compensation structures is that they can provide a significant pay increase almost overnight. Let’s say for example you’re a company branch manager and your company is paying you 175 BPS (Retail Branch Manager) and your boss won’t allow you to go to a true P&L model. After expenses, you’re missing out on approximately 65 BPS on your total production every month that is set aside for the growth of the branch, whether that is put forth to commission for you, your team, or expense budget! If this is the case, then you should definitely be talking to other companies who are willing to put you on a true P&L program. 

One word of caution: It’s important to note that not all P&L opportunities are created equal, and you should definitely shop around for the one that pays you the most BPS. 

What does a true P&L branch opportunity look like? There are some companies that will tell you that what they have is a true P&L opportunity but the fact of the matter is that in many cases it really isn’t. A true P&L opportunity will let you see customer pricing, your compensation, your team’s compensation, and the branch expenses.  The remaining net income is set aside specifically for the growth of your branch, whether that is compensation, growth, or marketing expenses.

One final note on compensation: if you are not getting paid what you were promised in the early stages of your employment or if your current company is not paying you on time, this means that you have the ability to get paid more somewhere else. If this is happening to you, you need to drop everything and go find a new place to work. High quality mortgage lenders are high on integrity and very well-capitalized.  

Your loans aren’t getting closed fast or easy. 

As a branch manager or loan originator in the mortgage business, your ability to earn a living for yourself is determined by the quality of your relationships and those are strengthened or broken by how well the company you work for closes their loans on time. Your future success depends on how well you and your company manage this single component. 

It’s important to keep in mind that loan operations and mortgage fulfillment is one of the primary jobs of any mortgage company, and missing a closing date (no matter whose fault it is), can negatively impact your income earning ability. If just a few of your closings are late or last minute and rushed, this can have a huge impact on your reputation with your customers and referral partners. This is what makes getting your loans closed fast and easy as a non-negotiable that your current company simply must deliver.

If you aren’t closing every one of your loans on time, then it’s definitely time to make a move. Missed and stressed closing dates can destroy your brand, cause you undue stress and kill your business altogether. Rebuilding your business down the road is a slow process and regaining the trust of your referral partners later down the road is very difficult, and sometimes takes years to regain what was lost in a very short time. 

And it shouldn’t be difficult either. If getting your deals approved is a difficult process and full of headaches, that’s hard on your entire team, not to mention your referral partners and customers. Eventually, that’s going to wear you out and it’s also going to do the same to your team and your referral partners. Your customers deserve the best and demand the best. Online customer reviews are now more important than ever and complete customer satisfaction is just too important to ignore. A difficult loan origination process is going to wear down your entire office staff and cost you hard-earned business.  

It’s important to remember that a difficult loan process also affects your ability to recruit and retain more loan originators, processors and other employees. The mortgage business is a small world and as they say, bad news travels fast. Great people want to work for great companies, and if they feel that your company is the weak link in your operation, no matter how strong of a branch manager you are, they may decide to look elsewhere. In order to realize your fullest potential, you must have a company that has a quick and smooth loan process.

And they have to get deals approved, plain and simple. If your company can’t approve loans that other companies will approve, you can be confident that the time has come to look for a new branch opportunity elsewhere. It’s time to go.

You aren’t receiving the level of support you require. 

Keeping employees happy is job #1 of any great company. Great employees are hard to find and must be retained. Keeping Loan Originators and Branch Managers supported and operating at their peak level is what great mortgage companies should demand of themselves if they want to offer the best branch manager opportunity. Without their producers, the companies don’t receive a paycheck.  Here’s why it’s of the utmost importance to refuse to settle for sub-par service: your ability to earn a living and make money for everyone on your team is based on the critical levels of support that you can offer to them, and of course that is very highly dependent on the support that you receive from your company. If you aren’t receiving the support that you were promised upfront and that you feel you or your team needs to win, then it’s definitely time to consider a move – and fast! 

So, what differentiates ‘good’ from ‘bad’ support?

At a bare minimum, your branch support department should answer their phones whenever you call, and if for some reason they are on the other line, you are well within reason and industry best practices to be able to expect a call back within 10-15 minutes max. If they are unable to do this, then they are considerably under-staffed. 

Furthermore, you should also expect a rapid response to your emails, in most cases these should be within about 10-15 minutes max. If your issue is a complicated one or one that requires a management decision, you are well within your rights to expect to receive a clear time line that gets followed through on that same day. 

To be fair, no company is perfect and there are no shortages of hiccups in the mortgage business – that’s just a part of the deal – but great companies manage those hiccups well, while subpar companies get managed by their hiccups. You want to work for a great company whose upper management is available to support you by helping you work through and solve any issue that arises in an extremely timely manner. 

Should I Make the Move?

If you’re not getting paid what you could be earning, if your loans aren’t closing on time, or if you aren’t receiving the level of support you need to run an excellent business, it’s time to look for a new opportunity for you and your branch. Although there are seemingly an endless number of reasons why people begin think about switching companies, when it comes to evaluating what’s best for you, your business, and ultimately your family, it’s highly important to know when it’s time to start shopping for a new home for your mortgage loan origination business.

Compromises are sometimes necessary. But the bottom line for the branch manager or MLO who is focused on growing their origination business is this: if your company is unable or unwilling to give you the most aggressive compensation plan and the lowest rates on the market, if they are unable to get your loans closed quickly and smoothly, and if they are not supportive as you grow your branch and your origination business, then it’s time to start looking for someone who can.

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