TIm Duvall, district manager for Academy Mortgage, says originators should do their homework before choosing a branch network.
“The temptation is to focus on compensation, and I think that’s a mistake,” Duvall says. “I’m just reaching back to four and a half years ago when I had this journey. We were smart enough not just to look at comp. I’m looking for value: What amount of support do I have? What’s the operational system I’m looking at? I’m looking at marketing: what’s covered for me? Some organizations will pay you a high compensation, but then charge you 10 cents a copy for marketing material and charge you for every marketing project.
“The other piece of the value puzzle that’s huge is, are my rates competitive? What Academy does very well is find that sweet spot between aggressive compensation and low interest rates. I did an analysis of the top 10 competitors here in our market. I compared interest rates and comp, and there was only one other in the top 10 that even came close to having the same setup of great compensation with low interest rates.”
But you shouldn’t just look at what a branch network can do for you right now, Duvall says; you should also consider how the network will shepherd your career in the future.
“I started as a loan officer here,” he says. “I’d been in the business for seven years when I came to Academy. They literally came to me six months in and said, ‘Hey, we think you’ve got the right stuff. Would you think about becoming a manager?’ They’ve set forth a very clear path to continue to support me and my growth – whatever I want that to be.
“If I’m a broker, I want somewhere I can still be entrepreneurial and be rewarded for that, somewhere that’s going to give me that great value of good comp with good interest rates, great support, great marketing, and somewhere that’s going to let me grow – where I’ll look back five years from now and say, ‘I’m where I want to be.’”