Is the Mortgage Business Your Career?

by 12 Apr 2012

Or are you just here till you can find a better job?     


Bill Schor was the best salesperson and manager I’ve ever met. He knew how to sell mortgages, develop referrals, deal with unhappy clients and solve transactional issues better than any person I’ve ever met.  When he hired me to be his assistant at a very small mortgage company, over 40 years ago, my desk was a chair in front of his desk. He hired me before he was able to move the company space within the same building. During the first couple of years that it was my pleasure to work with him, Bill taught me more about people than I had learned in the previous year and a half working at another larger firm. He had great discipline. He had great ideas. He had great determination and he had a depth of knowledge about the mortgage business that was unparalleled. We had only four salespeople, and those salespeople did so much business that we were competitors of every other company within 50 miles from our office.

My initial set of responsibilities was to be his assistant. It was through this prism that I was able to view his daily actions. He depended on me for activities that would not cause his company serious embarrassment. I had experience in processing and underwriting, but not the kind that would allow me to become involved in corporate decisions.

After a year, he offered me a raise. I was being paid  $12,500.00 a year and he offered me a raise to $15,000.00. Let me make a relationship statement for you. My house had been purchased during the previous two years for $20,000.00. My DTI was about 18 percent, but inflation across America was going wild. So President Nixon executed a presidential dictum that froze wages and prices. My written raise, not yet in place, was in Bill’s briefcase the weekend of the announcement. No raise for me! I was frustrated. I wanted to make more money and Bill, bless his heart, was on my side. He offered me a position as a loan officer. He told me I would get a $200.00 a week draw, until my commissions kicked in. He even offered me some house accounts to start me off on the best route possible. The quid-pro-quo was that I would have to call on 100 accounts every week, Monday through Friday. The same 100 every week. If I didn’t do what he asked, I would not get my check.

He monitored my every move. I had to report to him every real estate office I visited. The 100 number was non-negotiable, 20 offices a day every day. No rate sheets, no promotional material. Just go see the realtors and try to help them get real estate deals to the settlement table.

His training was invaluable. He taught me what to say, how to say it, how often to say it – and on top of that he taught me more about processing and underwriting than I had learned the previous three years. He taught me discipline of time, priority of actions and sales techniques that I use to this day.

So, the mortgage business has been my profession for as long as I can remember.  During this lifetime, thousands of people have entered the mortgage industry and then found it was not the right "job" for them, so they left.  For the most part, good riddance. One of the most fascinating statements that I'd heard from those people is "I’m looking for a job where I can make real money."  Maybe the statement is incorrect grammatically, but for sure it is incorrect in its content, and the inference that it draws. As Earl Nightingale has written, only people who work in a mint, make money. The rest of us earn money!

When we bring prospective salespeople into the business, do we train them properly, or do we just hire them and then throw them out "on the street"? Worse than that, do we just give them a list and ask them to call everyone on the list and see if they need to refinance? It amazes me that companies spend a serious amount of time training new operations people how to either process, close or deliver the paperwork that completes a file, but when it comes to sales, they can't wait to either throw new salespeople out "on the street" or attach a phone to their ear. 

Which way do you see yourself? Are you a trainer or a thrower?

Do we really investigate how much success we can help someone attain in this business?  We can help others have as much success as they want. Success that will lead them to whatever they want out of life, whether it's power, money, houses, cars, vacations, boats, special schools for their kids, gifts for their spouse – whatever! The benefits to everyone, the public, the company employees and the future of everyone involved, are more than just financial, much more!

We had sales meetings every week. Real sales meetings. A place where we learned how to perfect our craft. He discussed our techniques, how to promote what we did. He asked us to have a goal every week as to how much business we would produce. He asked us to tell him who we had seen the previous week and what they had said to us. He often had already called many of our accounts to ask if we had really been there.

Most of us – no, almost 90 percent of us – don't make the effort to properly teach the people we hire to perform their sales job properly, much less professionally. We teach them all about the laws, rules and regulations but we spend so little time teaching them the basics of sales, as Bill did for us.

Recently, I met with a friend of mine who said something radical, yet obvious. It seems that the only real successful people in this business are those that want more than just a job. Anybody can get a job, but not everybody can have a profession. If we want to be successful, we must help others be successful.

Why do most of us treat our employees like chattel? Don't we realize that with proper development of abilities, we can create successful people?

Most of the people in this business pay no attention to the important things that make people successful. Most are just satisfied to teach the technical aspects,. What we should be teaching are motivational and organizational techniques. Just like Bill Schor did with me. Why isn’t this premise obvious to us?

Here's a question for all of you – have you ever read a mortgage/deed of trust? Have we asked our sales staff to read one? With absolute certainty it has been my experience that 9 out of 10 loan representatives have never really read a mortgage/deed of trust.  More than that, have they ever read a note/bond?  Or any of the other documents that constitute a closing?

What is the last sales training book you read?

Why are these things important – or are they just important to me?

Don’t professionals study their craft?


Ralph LoVuolo, Sr. President, Mortgage Motivator. LoVuolo Sr. is president of Mortgage Motivator, a consulting firm on the cutting edge of the mortgage business. Armed with over 45 years of experience in the mortgage industry, he can help your people achieve their true potential.  LoVuolo Sr is one of the founding fathers of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers and a two term president. Additionally, he served as Parliamentarian for six years on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. LoVuolo, Sr. can be reached at, or visit him at


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