Starting your own branch has myriad benefits. And it’s not just about pumping up your pay packet. Taking on a leadership role in which you’re the key decision maker in the development of your career will have many long-term benefits.
“The ultimate success is when a manager can create and provide value for his or her team members by helping them achieve better results through great leadership,” says Kenny Hodges, founder and managing partner of Assurance Financial in Baton Rouge. “In some cases, great producers do not make great managers because they only know what has worked for them personally. Phil Jackson didn’t coach Michael Jordan the same way he coached the third guy off the bench. Good managers know how to motivate people in different ways and adapt to the different personalities that are in that office.”
For most top performing originators, becoming a branch manager is a natural next step. Although, not everyone has the capabilities to both lead a team and maximize their individual potential. “Effective leaders gain loyalty from their team by being compassionate, good listeners, creative, sincere and always erring on the side of fairness to the employee,” says Hodges. “Lastly, an effective leader is going to know that people have different ceilings, and motivating and managing to those ceilings is a balancing act.”
Originators who do have what it takes to make the step up should not forget sales skills that enabled them to become high-producing MLOs in the first place. “The branch manager must first and foremost be a business developer,” says Hodges. “Exceptional business developers need to be competitive, financially driven and not afraid to hear the word ‘no.’ This can be said for high-producing salespeople in any industry, but for a start-up mortgage branch, it’s even more imperative to possess these qualities.”
managers have a responsibility to lead the branch early in production and set the sales pace, but they should also expect support from their parent mortgage company. “Any successful company that is trying to branch out has to provide support at every stage to their field offices, not just at the start-up phase,” says Hodges. “At Assurance Financial, everything from A to Z is supported by the corporate office until the branch manager is on solid footing, ready to focus on developing business and building a team. Our company has an on-boarding committee at the start-up stage to handle everything from ordering the phones to signing the leases and providing recruiting support.”
Think you’re ready to make the leap from mortgage loan officer to branch manager?