Beyond pull-through rate: Measuring milestones

by MPA08 Oct 2014
By David Lykken
Special to MPA

Most organizations I know use the pull-through rate as a key metric for assessing the productivity of its loan originators. Knowing how many applications are being funded out of the total number of applications can indeed be an important insight. But is it enough?
Recently on my radio show, I got the opportunity to discuss pull-through rates with Tyler Sherman of Motivity Solutions. According to Tyler, the generic pull-through rate doesn't actually provide a great deal of actionable insight. Instead, what we should be measuring--if we want to know how to improve our processes--is the movement of the application through each step of the funding process.
Instead of simply measuring the start and the finish, we should be measuring milestones along the way. First, this in-depth measurement allows us to see where the failed loans are breaking down. If we know where the problem lies, we can take the  necessary steps to fix it.
Secondly, measuring each milestone allows us to place equal focus on each step of the process. There's an old question: "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer: "one bite at a time." Focusing only on the overall pull-through rate, we try to eat the entire elephant at once. In drilling down and measuring the success of each step, we can begin to understand the incremental pull-through rate of each "bite."
I'm a big believer in accountability--making people responsible for the work they do. But, in order to really pinpoint who is responsible for our successes and failures, we need to know where the bottlenecks are. Measuring the specific pull-through rate of each step in the funding process is a great way to get to the root of our problems--and build our processes up to where they need to be.
David Lykken is 40-year industry veteran who consults on virtually all aspects of mortgage banking. David hosts a successful weekly radio program called “Lykken On Lending” ( that is heard each Monday at noon (Central Standard Time) by thousands of mortgage professionals.


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