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ORIGINATORS ON BRANCH NETWORKS Mortgage professionals across the country weigh in on the top reasons to join a network



Mortgage Professional America recognizes 100 mortgage pros who met the challenges this year and left their businesses, communities and industry better off.

Nominations close November 25th

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Navigating the rapidly changing mortgage environment can be a challenge – especially if you’re going it alone. Joining a branch network is one way to ease the burden – but what should originators look for when choosing a network? THE PAST year has been riddled with regulation changes in the mortgage industry, and many more are in the pipeline. The continual ebb and flow of the market, coupled with everchanging regulations, means that independent originators are in a constant state of learning and adjusting. Not only must they focus on servicing clients and winning new business, but they must also remain up-to-date on increasingly complex education and compliance requirements. To ease the burden of these challenges, many independent originators have chosen to join a branch network to enjoy the benefits of corporate support. By giving originators the tools and technologies needed to navigate the changing environment, networks allow them to stay competitive in a growing market. “From my personal experience, I believe that the mortgage branch opportunity model was first introduced to our industry in 1996 and was initially referred to as Net Branch,” says Frank Kuri, senior vice president of branch development at Residential Home Funding. “I’ve been involved from its inception through my hands-on full-time role in opening branch offices. I have created and put branch systems in place that

are now being used industry-wide. If you are ready to take your career to the next level, you may want to consider a branch opportunity.” Choosing a network is a major decision, so we asked our readers to share what they consider to be the most important qualities a branch network can possess, rating them on a scale of 1 (not important) to 10 (very important). Read on to find out which criteria your colleagues suggest you prioritize when weighing one network against another.

BRANCH NETWORKS: 8 REASONS TO JOIN Underwriting support and turnaround time Technology Loan programs Communication support Compliance support Marketing and brand awareness Training and education Culture

WHAT ASPECTS OF BRANCH NETWORKS ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO ORIGINATORS? Underwriting and turnaround time 9.51 Communication and support 9.41 Loan programs 9.28 Compliance support 8.82 Technology 8.38 Culture 8.07 Marketing 7.56 Training and education 7.48









Purchasing a home can be a lengthy process with many stressful elements, but waiting on a mortgage shouldn’t be one of them. Efficiency is key, and it’s all about giving the customers what they need when they need it. So it wasn’t surprising that originators rated underwriting and turnaround time as the most important benefit of joining a branch network, rating it at 9.51 out of 10. In the age of the internet, “no one wants to wait,” one respondent pointed out. Moreover, given how similar mortgage offerings are, a consumer’s choice often comes down to service, and timeliness is key in that regard. “We base our referral business on great service,” another respondent wrote, “and underwriting turn times are the most important.” Others were careful to qualify that it’s not just about being the fastest, but also being able to manage expectations. “We have to tell agents and clients a timeframe, and it’s hard to be out in the field and not have answers,” one broker wrote. Another echoed this sentiment: “As the sales front, I need to know what expectations to prep my client [for] throughout the loan process.” “Underwriting is the heart of the industry and what causes loans to close on time and referral partners to stick around,” says Mark Buskuhl, COO of Southwest Funding. “Nothing separates a successful originator



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from a mediocre one more so than this area of our business.” In Buskuhl’s view, in order for a mortgage company and its originators to thrive, an underwriter must work with the originator to get loans approved rather than create unnecessary hoops to jump through. “The faster this can be done, the more rewarding the experience for everyone on the transaction. We have adopted a philosophy where


“Underwriting turn times need to be competitive. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the quickest, but it must be thorough and reliable”

any excuse – and they do. Having a solid underwriting department has really allowed me to grow my production.”

“Underwriting has shifted into the forefront of our industry and will continue to be the differentiating factor between those who really excel and those who are just getting by” Mark Buskuhl, Southwest Funding originators are our customers. We work for them not only in underwriting, but also in all departments across the company. This has allowed our originators to more easily grow their business to a size that fits their personal goals.” For Wendy Davis, a Texas-based branch manager with Southwest Funding, having a solid underwriting department has allowed her to increase production. “My business has been built around the builder market,” she says. “All of the builders I work with expect my loans to close on time without

Many companies are improving their turnaround times by developing a centralized underwriting department. Having personal interaction between a coordinator, assistant underwriter, underwriter and management all in the same office provides for a quick team approach to problem-solving. “Underwriting has shifted into the forefront of our industry and will continue to be the differentiating factor between those who really excel and those who are just getting by,” Buskuhl says.









Given all the processes a mortgage application needs to go through, communication was also a key consideration for originators when choosing a branch network. It came in a close second to underwriting and turnaround times, earning a score of 9.41 out of 10. Again, this category is all about managing expectations – originators need to assure customers that they are on top of things. As one respondent put it, “Our clients, our partners and we need to know what is going on at all times and have the ability to take action if needed.” Another spoke of the need for “flexibility in guidelines [to] look good to clients and referral partners, [and] that includes being able to get help in escalating a file when needed.” For many originators, communication and support are the absolute most important aspects of a branch network, says Frank Kuri, SVP of branch development at Residential Home Funding Corporation [RHFC]. “One of the first questions I always ask a branch manager or LO who’s considering leaving their current employer is, ‘What is it about where you are now that’s causing you to consider making a move?’” Kuri says. “I’ve asked this question nearly every week for the last 17 consecutive years, and the number-one response has always been ‘lack of communication and support.’” He notes that great communication



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and support begin during the onboarding process for all new RHFC employees. “RHFC’s onboarding process consists of a personal, formal face-to-face meeting with every corporate office department manager,” Kuri says. “After the new loan officer or branch manager leaves our new hire orientation, they know exactly who to contact for all of their needs at the upper

highlighted the need to “talk to a live person [and] not through email only.” And at times, having an immediate exchange can be crucial to the status of an application, as another respondent explained: “We are able to talk directly with our underwriters. If a loan is being turned down, the underwriter calls the LO to review it in case the LO missed a compensating factor that could

“One of the first questions I always ask a branch manager or LO who’s considering leaving their current employer is, ‘What is it about where you are now that’s causing you to consider making a move?’ The number-one response has always been ‘lack of communication and support’” Frank Kuri, Residential Home Funding Corporation management level. We don’t just simply hand them an extension list – our corporate office department managers know each and every branch manager on a personal level.” This ties in closely with the emphasis many respondents put on the need for direct and personal exchanges. For instance, while emails are pretty much a given these days, they carry the potential for misinterpretation or lack of clarity; one respondent

turn the decision around.” That kind of quick response is also a priority at RHFC. “If our corporate office department manager receives a phone call or email from a loan officer or branch manager in the early afternoon, they get a response before the end of the day,” Kuri says. “If it’s late in the afternoon, they get a response the following morning or sooner. That’s an example of great support.”

“I am a Loan Officer and I want to manage my own branch office.” “I want to become a Branch Manager in my market.” “I am a Mortgage Broker/Owner and I would like to convert to a banker branch.”

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Frank Kuri SVP Branch Development 866-319-4442 www.mpamag.com fkuri@rhfunding.com






Score 9.28

How important is a network’s access to various loan programs? As one survey respondent succinctly put it: “If we don’t have the programs our clients need, we are out of business.” It seems the majority of originators agree, rating a network’s variety of loan programs at 9.28 out of 10, making it the third highest-scoring category in our survey. “Loan programs are the heart of the lending business,” says Dean Wolfe, CEO of Integrity Mortgage Group. “[Access to] a lender that has a full suite of offerings is the best choice for serious origination professionals. “Does the lender offer rehab loans? What overlays do they have to the general guidelines provided by the agencies? And then, what is their general underwriting philosophy?” he continues, outlining the types of questions originators should ask when determining a network’s loan program perspective. Such access to a wide variety of programs can be a big advantage for originators, allowing them to cater to different types of clients. After all, having to turn down a potential customer due to the lack of a specific loan program can be bad for business in today’s increasingly competitive market. “No one can afford to be a ‘vanilla’ lender any longer,” wrote one respondent to our survey. “If I refer a loan out, I may not be



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able to keep that source of referral.” Others, however, look for networks that excel in a particular niche instead of being a jack-of-all-trades. “You don’t have to have every loan program,” said one respondent. “Do what you do better than your competitors.” Another elaborated on how specializing can affect a business’s sustainability: “Loan programs are an excellent way to differentiate yourself from the competition. If a company


“[Loan programs] need to be more than competitive. If we can do things other lenders cannot, we win”

and guidelines, which is essential to an originator’s success in their market. “Despite attempts to automate the loan process, we are still educators in the home loan process, and a robust training

“Loan programs are at the heart of the lending business. Access to a lender that has a full suite of offerings is the best choice for serious origination professionals” Dean Wolfe, Integrity Mortgage Group doesn’t innovate, then they must compete strictly on a pricing basis, which impacts profitability.” And when it comes to pricing, one insists that it “needs to be equal to the major money center banks” in order to be competitive enough. Wolfe points out that originators need to determine whether a company’s loan products fit with their needs. Just as important is the ability to receive training from professionals who know the programs

is a must in today’s mortgage arena,” Wolfe says. “Often a loan program is available that meets the needs of the borrower, but due to lack of training, the loan officer isn’t aware of the program specifics that work best. The application of the program in each borrower’s situation is equally important [to the loan programs offered]. Be constantly learning and training, no matter what your experience level is, because programs change.”


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With our proven branch system you can brand yourself in your local market while participating in the management success of your branch. We empower you to succeed with a proven platform that fully supports your office. Our record of long term relationship with our branch managers speaks for itself. Act now to become a part of the Integrity team!

Are you Looking for a Branch Partnership that: • Provides training for your loan officers and processor • Offers underwriter access for scenario help on the spot • Full product suite including man home, rehab and condo loans • Full time marketing and social media support to help you close more loans • Helps you increase your market share with inovative technolgy and fast decisions Our Benefits include: • 401(k) with company matching • Group health and life insurance • Flexible compensation plans




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Score 8.82

TRID has turned the mortgage industry upside-down over the last year, and many are still trying to navigate the murky waters – and that’s just one example of the many regulation changes the mortgage industry has endured over the past

determined by how our company views a compliance law.” Considering the risks involved when compliance requirements are not properly met, having strong compliance support can be a crucial a safety net for originators.

“Having so many changes put in place in recent years has challenged our compliance team to increase support for our originators. We participate in many industry-wide training opportunities ourselves so that we can bring the information forward to our production teams” Jean Badciong, Inlanta Mortgage few years. Compliance remains a challenge to originators, so having a network partner to help handle compliance is an attractive proposition. Accordingly, compliance support was rated fairly highly by our survey respondents, at 8.82 out of 10. “In this everincreasing regulatory environment, if you don’t have a good compliance management system, you are in real trouble,” said one originator. “Our livelihood could be



It’s important for brokers to have information on hand as changes occur because, as one commenter said candidly, “Who wants the CFPB to knock on your door?” “Even before the passing of the DoddFrank legislation, compliance was a critical factor in guiding consumers through the homebuying process,” says Jean Badciong, chief compliance officer at Inlanta Mortgage. “Under the [TRID] rule, timing of disclosures became even more critical.


“It is important to have detailed explanations available as to why certain requirements are necessary”

Closing dates can’t be missed, and having the disclosures produced earlier in the process ensures this goal is met.” Having a dedicated compliance team to protect originators is crucial, Badciong says. Responsible for breaking down the requirements and reviewing the possible consequences that could arise, compliance departments provide originators a resource that supports their professional requirements while keeping their customers informed. Badciong points out that compliance departments should design processes and procedures around the new rules while using technology, where possible, to help originators adapt to regulation changes. “Having so many changes put in place in recent years has challenged our compliance team to increase support for our originators,” she says. “The compliance team does an in-depth review of the regulations on a regular basis. We participate in many industry-wide training opportunities ourselves so that we can bring the information forward to our production teams.”

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Score 8.38

Technology has been a hot topic in the industry this year. Keeping up with the times, many companies are advancing their technological offerings to include mobile apps, online portals, virtual chat systems and more, all of which would be difficult for an independent originator to access. Although a network’s technology capabilities came in fifth in terms of importance among the originators we surveyed, who rated it an 8.38 out of 10, many considered it the one aspect that they could not overlook when choosing a branch network. “We can’t do our job properly or efficiently without it,” said one. “It can make or break a company if technology is lacking,” said another. Not only do digital tools help originators deliver superior customer service, they can also help generate more leads and ultimately grow an originator’s business. Shant Banosian, VP of mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate, is a huge fan of the company’s Digital Mortgage because it puts the most important person first – the customer. “Since customers complete their mortgage application online and can get preapproved right away, I don’t have to worry about mundane data entry tasks, such as inputting their salary, credit score or place of employment,” he says. “Instead, I’m able to build a rapport with my clients



by helping them determine realistic goals, qualifying them for their best rate and setting expectations throughout the mortgage process. Thanks to the Digital Mortgage, I’m more energetic, focused and not burned out. At the end of the day, it helps me truly focus on the customer and finding the perfect loan for them.” Of course, simply having technology is no longer enough in this day and age. Outdated technology can hinder a busi-


“Implementation of good technology that adds to providing exceptional service is paramount”

mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate. “It’s a digital business card, but it’s also so much more with rates and the ability to share it with anybody and everybody. I love

“I’m more energetic, focused and not burned out. At the end of the day, [technology] helps me truly focus on the customer and finding the perfect loan for them” Shant Banosian, Guaranteed Rate ness and cause unnecessary delays for consumers who are seeking mortgages. As one survey respondent put it: “If you’re not up-to-date, you’re out of date.” One form of technology on the rise is mobile mortgage apps, which have become an easy way for mortgage professionals to stay in touch with clients, Realtors and referral partners. “The mobile app is shifting the way we give out our contact information,” says Adam Wilson, VP of

it, and so do my referral partners.” Our survey respondents did raise a note of caution about networks that go too far in chasing the latest technological innovations. “I think some systems have gone a little overboard with technology,” wrote one respondent. “Unless technology is somewhat intuitive, it is counterproductive. We can waste so much time learning new technologies that we lose our competitive place.”




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joingrnow.com Jennifer Beeston NMLS ID: 247743 CA - CA-DOC247743 - 413 0699, WA - MLO-247743 - CL-2611 • NMLS ID #2611 (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) • AL - Lic# 21566 • AK - Lic#AK2611 • AR - Lic#103947 Guaranteed Rate, Inc. 3940 N Ravenswood, Chicago IL 60613 866-934-7283 • AZ - Guaranteed Rate, Inc. - 14811 N. Kierland Blvd., Ste. 100, Scottsdale, AZ, 85254 Mortgage Banker License #0907078 • CA - Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight, Division of Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act Lic #4130699 • CO - Guaranteed Rate, Inc. Regulated by the Division of Real Estate, 773-290-0505 • CT - Lic #17196 • DE - Lic # 9436 • DC - Lic #MLB 2611 • FL - Lic# MLD1102 • GA - Residential Mortgage Licensee #20973 - 3940 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60613 • HI - Lic#HI-2611 • ID - Guaranteed Rate, Inc. Lic #MBL-5827 • IL - Residential Mortgage Licensee - IDFPR, 122 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1900, Chicago, Illinois, 60603, 312-793-3000, 3940 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60613 #MB.0005932 • IN - Lic #11060 & #10332 • IA - Lic #2005-0132 • KS - Licensed Mortgage Company - Guaranteed Rate, Inc. - License #MC.0001530 • KY - Mortgage Company Lic #MC20335 • LA - Lic #2866 • ME - Lic #SLM11302 • MD - Lic #13181 • MA - Guaranteed Rate, Inc. - Mortgage Lender & Mortgage Broker License MC 2611 • MI - Lic #FR0018846 & SR0018847 • MN - Lic #MN-MO 20526478 • MS - Guaranteed Rate, Inc. 3940 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60613 - Mississippi Licensed Mortgage Company, Lic # 2611 • MO - Guaranteed Rate Lic # 14-1744-A • MT - Lic# 2611 • NJ - Licensed in NJ: Licensed Mortgage Banker - NJ Department of Banking & Insurance • NE - Lic #1811 • NV - Lic #3162 & 3161 • NH - Guaranteed Rate, Inc. dba Guaranteed Rate of Delaware, licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department - Lic # 13931-MB • NM - Lic #01995 • NY - Licensed Mortgage Banker - NYS Department of Financial Services- 3940 N Ravenswood, Chicago, IL 60613 Lic # B500887 • NC - Lic #L-109803 • ND - Lic #MB101818 • OH - Lic #MB0804160 & Lic #SM.501367 - 3940 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60613 • OK - Lic # ML002651 • OR - Lic #ML-3836 - 3940 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60613 • PA - Licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities Lic #20371 • RI - Rhode Island Licensed Lender Lic # 20102682LL, RI - Rhode Island Licensed Loan Broker Lic # 20102681LB • SC - Lic #-MLS - 2611 • SD - Lic# ML.04997 • TN - Lic #109179 • TX - Licensed in TX: Licensed Mortgage Banker & Licensed Residential Mortgage Loan Servicer- TX Department of Savings & Mortgage Lending • UT - Licensed in UT: Utah-DRE Mortgage Entity License #7495184 & Utah-DFI Residential First Mortgage Notification – Utah Department of Financial Institutions • VT - Lic #2611-1 & 0930 MB & 6100 • VA - Guaranteed Rate, Inc. - Licensed by Virginia State www.mpamag.com 11 Corporation Commission, License # MC-3769 • WA - Lic #CL-2611 • WI - Lic #27394BA & 2611BR • WV - Lic #ML-30469 & MB-30098 • WY - Lic#2247 Guaranteed Rate is an Equal Opportunity Employer that welcomes and encourages all applicants to apply regardless of age, race, sex, religion, color, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital or parental status, ancestry, citizenship status, pregnancy or other reason prohibited by law.



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CULTURE Importance




Though hard to quantify, culture is always an important consideration in choosing an organization to work with, and it’s no different for originators, who rated a branch network’s culture at an 8.07 out of 10 in terms of importance. One respondent described it as the glue that holds all the other aspects together: “Without a good culture, all of the

authentic mission and vision statements, defines who a company is, what they do and why they do it. “I live my life believing that we are to pay it forward, and it’s amazing to work for a company that shares in this philosophy,” says Wendy Sisneroz, an Academy Mortgage district manager. “Inspiring hope,

“[Networks] cannot underestimate the appeal of a great company culture in attracting likeminded mortgage professionals to their teams. Ultimately it is a company’s culture that will be the reason they stay” Mike Jensen, Academy Mortgage Corporation [other categories] won’t be done at a high level.” Another came up with a list of qualities that would constitute a good culture: “If by culture, you mean a group showing dedication, integrity, initiative, stamina, innovation, intelligence and knowledge, it is vital.” According to Academy Mortgage’s EVP of growth, Mike Jensen, mortgage lenders collectively share a noble purpose – to help individuals and families attain sustainable homeownership, long considered the foundation of the American dream. Being firmly grounded in a purpose, with genuinely



delivering dreams and building prosperity – these aren’t just words on a plaque at Academy. We put this vision into action every day with each loan transaction, each service project and each service expedition. It’s who we are.” Some survey respondents felt that culture is all about the relationship between the network leadership and the branches, which goes back to communication and support, on top of good management. “The corporate culture is key,” one respondent said. “Branches must feel as if corporate


“Everyone involved from the top down should desire the same goals. There is no room in this business for self-gratification or selfish business practices”

truly cares about your success. The feeling of being irrelevant to corporate causes many branch managers to look for other opportunities.” This goes along with a point Jensen mentions – that networks should help their employees achieve their goals through professional and personal development initiatives. “I came to Academy Mortgage for several reasons, one being the unique culture of the company,” says Brandi HeathAnderson, a regional manager with Academy. “It’s a culture of professional and personal development that helps me become my best self. Academy leadership is committed to my personal growth through a variety of career development initiatives and a focus on achieving a better life balance.” Jensen underlines the importance of culture in building a successful team. “[Networks] cannot underestimate the appeal of a great company culture in attracting like-minded mortgage professionals to their teams,” he says. “Ultimately, it is a company’s culture that will be the reason they stay.”

PEOPLE, PURPOSE, THEN PROFIT “Academy’s business model challenges conventional industry thinking. It’s about providing our originators with much more than a thriving platform for production. It’s about creating a company culture focused on personal and professional development and giving back to our communities. This culture of “families versus files” is what sets us apart from banks and other mortgage lenders—and we like it that way.” —Adam Kessler, CEO

Experience Academy’s culture for yourself. Contact National Recruiting Manager John Owens at (801) 541-7456 or visit www.academymortgage.com/service. www.mpamag.com

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To some, marketing was a vital factor in choosing a network, while others considered it not very important; accordingly, it received a middling average score of 7.56 out of 10. But Frank Kuri, SVP of branch development at RHFC, disagrees: “Marketing is handsdown one of the most important keys to success for any company,” he says. “That’s why we do everything possible to market our company and our branches, and offer extensive marketing resources to every one of our MLOs and branch managers.” Those who did place a priority on a network’s marketing ability brought up the fact that the recognition it brings can be the difference between winning over a client or not. “Without name recognition, clients are leery,” said one originator. “It’s the name of the game,” said another respondent. “We all basically sell money. It is only by innovative marketing that we can differentiate ourselves from our competition.” Other brokers pointed out that marketing can serve as a great educational tool to explain what brokers do and the services they offer, leaving little gray area for the consumer. “You must be able to market what makes your company what it is,” one respondent said. “Without this support, the job becomes much more difficult.” A successful marketing effort means understanding and targeting key demographics to ensure products get in front



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of the people who need them, Kuri says. “Understanding the market is key. At RHFC, we begin with research to know who our customers are and where we can find them.” Staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and knowing what works and what doesn’t is also crucial. “Regardless of the product, everyone reads customer reviews. Therefore, perhaps one of the most important part of any company’s marketing is its online reputation,” Kuri says. “The internet is the first stop for consumers in this digital era. That’s why we make sure our internet reputation


“We can be responsible for our own ‘horn-blowing’ to a certain degree, but we need help to keep that image polished”

sales force works extensively in our newest industry-specific CRM and enlists effective, automated email campaigns geared specifically for the recipient,” he says. RHFC’s in-house compliance department allows employees to market themselves to potential customers while

“Marketing is hands-down one of the most important keys to success for any company. That’s why we do everything possible to market our company and our branches” Frank Kuri, Residential Home Funding Corporation is broadcast on all search engines on every related platform. Whether broad or local, consumer or employee-focused, RHFC leaves its digital footprint.” Kuri adds that one of the biggest ways his company markets to prospects, including customers and referral partners, is through automated technology. “Our

remaining protected from violations and fines. “Loan officers know that at a company level, our name is out there,” Kuri says. “But they also need to market themselves, and by using our CRM to create custom collateral that adheres to our industry’s strict compliance regulated guidelines, they set themselves apart.”

BRANCH SPOTLIGHT Residential Home Funding’s top-performing branch in Lagrangeville, New York, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Branch manager Doug Hill talks with MPA about the benefits of his branch network

MPA: What made you decide to join a branch network? Doug Hill: Having worked in mortgages as a loan originator or sales manager, it was always my plan and goal to get out more on my own. My initial goal was to try to open my own place, but the branch network opportunity kind of let me have the best of both worlds. I get some autonomy from running my own branch, but with the support of a corporate company that can help me build what I want to build. It was always a goal to get out from just being a loan officer and build something. The branch network model helped me do that without starting on my own from ground zero.

MPA: What made you decide to join Residential Home Funding? DH: I met with a few different lenders at the time, and it really came down to ownership and the group of owners that I met with from RHFC and really liked. I liked their vision and their model.

MPA: How does RHFC offer a sense of autonomy? DH: How we generate our business is up to us. I built my own team in terms of finding the right loan originators and the right processors. [Residential Home Funding] is there to help and guide you, but really when

Doug Hill, RHFC branch manager (center) it comes to direction, staffing, etc., I get to control that.

MPA: Communication is key to a successful working relationship. How do you feel RHFC does in providing support through communication? DH: Communication is definitely key, whether it is from underwriters, or about guideline changes or changes in mortgage laws and licensing. With every department at corporate, getting that bi-directional communication is important, and we definitely get that.

MPA: In what other ways does RHFC support the success of its branches? DH: With marketing and licensing. There is

also great support from our underwriting department in terms of guidelines. Truly, they support us in every aspect, but marketing and licensing are probably the most difficult to do without that corporate support.

MPA: What advice would you give to an originator who’s thinking about joining a branch network? DH: Definitely speak to people who are already there. A lot of it is finding a company that meets your vision and how they operate and how you want to operate. Learn how they operate by speaking to managers who have been there for a long time to get a sense of whether that environment meets and fulfills what you are looking for.









Although the training and education offered by branch networks ranked lowest in order of importance among originators, earning a score of only 7.48 out of 10, many mentioned the increasing importance of education as regulation changes continue to shake up the industry. “This is important to stay on top of the constant changes in the

tries can be adapted and implemented to help ensure you perform at your peak.” Martell refers to three types of learning coined by author Brian Tracy: maintenance learning, growth learning and shock learning. Maintenance learning is primarily doing what it takes to keep current within the industry. Growth learning is the kind of

“Picking the right sources and partners to allow you to grow your knowledge base and expand your mind is crucial. Dedicating yourself to continuous education and lifelong learning will pay dividends over and over” Laura Martell, Mountain West Financial regulatory environment as well as constant program changes,” one respondent said. Laura Martell, marketing manager at Mountain West Financial, echoes that sentiment. “Our industry, as we know it today, relies heavily on one’s ability to learn, re-learn, adapt, grow and sharpen our skill sets nearly every day, and is critical for continued success,” she says. “Although the mortgage industry is somewhat unique in its structure, philosophies and strategies from experts in all indus-



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learning that adds knowledge and skill to your arsenal that you didn’t have before. “While this can be accomplished by broadening your horizons within our industry to learn about a new program, system, marketing technique or even new regulations, it is also present when learning about related industries and seemingly unrelated industries and topics,” Martell says. Finally, shock learning is learning that contradicts or reverses a piece of knowledge or understanding that you already


“The originator should have the knowledge and skill to navigate the borrower(s) through issues before they become a problem for closing”

have, which can require an open mind, Martell points out. “Although [shock learning] is one of the most difficult to seek out and accept, it can be extremely valuable if it is acted upon. “Education, in and of itself, is always a value-adding tool,” she continues. “Whether you’re deliberatively or randomly acquiring maintenance learning, growth learning or shock learning, picking the right sources and partners to allow you to grow your knowledge base and expand your mind is crucial. Dedicating yourself to continuous education and lifelong learning will pay dividends over and over.” Technology is another area where good training and education come into play; at a time when technology changes are occurring as rapidly as regulation changes, it’s important to for originators to receive efficient and effective training on new systems and processes to keep their businesses moving forward. As one respondent to our survey put it: “These days, [training and education] are a necessity – we are in a continual state of catch-up.”

Since 1990 Mountain West Financial has built a reputation of not just putting homebuyers in any loan, but putting them in a home loan that suits both their short and long term goals, thereby earning the opportunity to become their lender for life. Our success over the past 25 years is derived from our culture of offering sustainable homeownership solutions, doing right by our team, clients, and referral partners, and continuously expanding our program offerings, systems and tools.




Performing at the peak

Our high business standards have been recognized and awarded with various accolades such as Mortgage Executive Magazine’s 50 Best Companies to Work For, Scotsman Guide’s Top Mortgage Lender, Top Work Places, Mortgage Executive Magazine’s �00 Most �n�uential People, several program speci�c awards, and more�

Giving back to our communities

Supporting many local charities, and events, such as Operation Surf, Ronald McDonald House, Rebuilding Together, Relay for Life and more. We participate in school supplies drives, food drives, adopting families during the holidays, and many other causes.


M W F Mountain West Financial is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Licensed in AZ, CA, CO, ID, NV, OR TX, UT, WA, WY - see website for details. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. NMLS# 164497.

Licensed in 10 states ...and we’re growing!


888-793-6470 WWW.JOIN.MWFINC.COM






Scotsman Guide 2015 Top Mortgage Lender Ranked #7 in Top Retail Volume






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Among the most thorough and extensive process in the industry, never compromising thoroughness for volume. Impeccable closing record recognized by local agents, giving a competitive advantage during the offer process.

Relentless focus on adding value to our real estate partners with cobranded marketing for our prospects, and in-contract and closed buyers and borrowers.

Decentralized business model provides local processing underwriting and closing. Cutting edge technology provides you with constant communication, status updates and transparency throughout the entire loan process from application to close.

BE SUCCESSFUL | BE GREAT | BE A PART OF SOMETHING BETTER For more information, please contact us at info@financeofamerica.com

FinanceofAmerica.com © 2016 Finance of America Mortgage LLC is licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia | | NMLS 1071 | For more licensing information please visit www.nmlsconsumeraccess. org | AZ Mortgage Banker License #0910184 | Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act | Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee | Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee | Kansas Licensed Mortgage Company | Licensed by the N.J. Department of Banking and Insurance | Licensed Mortgage Banker -- NYS Banking Department | Rhode Island Licensed Lender.

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Mortgage Professional America issue 9.07  

The magazine for mortgage professionals in America.

Mortgage Professional America issue 9.07  

The magazine for mortgage professionals in America.

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