“We care more about culture and reputation,” says Sandy Garcia, vice president of production for the eastern region, American Bancshares Mortgage. “We’re looking for those loan officers who are networking in social media and doing the face-to-face.”
Garcia adds that taking a long-term view of the U.S. economy and the mortgage industry enables the company to stay focused on the strategic vision and avoid overreacting to short-term issues.
Playing a key role in a family-run business with a 21-year tradition, Garcia places a lot of value on how people conduct themselves in their everyday life, to determine if they are a good fit within the company.
“We care about our community, that is huge,” she told MPA. “When I was interviewed by our president and CEO, it was something that really stood out: they were hosting and supporting events and being a part of the community fabric in every market they are in.”
Now that she is the one doing the interviewing, it is social media that provides the best window into a person’s character.
“I’m a big reference person. I want to see their social media presence, whether it is on Facebook or LinkedIn,” says Garcia. “Their blogs, their posts, their associations, their affiliations – like the Board of Realtors, the Board of Bankers – I look for a combination of all of that. And these days, you can get pretty much all of that from the Internet.”
Especially given the new TRID regulations, the need for accountability and transparency is paramount, adds Garcia.
When looking for a loan officer, Garcia cites a few qualities that are absolute musts.
“If they are goal-oriented and sets a daily goal or flight plan,” she says, “someone who is diligent with their social media, and follows a program of meeting with realtors daily. Has great follow-up skills and is educated on the compliance and LE (loan estimate) and the CD (closing disclosure). And they need to be excited about continuing education.”
“Our vision is for a culture of exceptional service with extraordinary people,” says Garcia. “We’re breaking in to multiple states now, and it is something we say to recruiters. We want that extraordinary loan officer; we want that LO (loan officer) that’s not interested in leaving where they are at, that they are loyal and committed to their community.”
With the recent spate of job reductions at some of the country’s major lenders, those companies that are hiring can be picky about who they hire.