The taper has arrived -- time to boost business

by Ryan Smith18 Dec 2013
With the dreaded taper finally here, a lot of originators are worried about rising interest rates – but even the taper brings with it opportunity, according to one mortgage pro.

FBC Mortgage Branch Manager Jon Marcoline was one of the top originators in the country last year, closing more than $58 million in loans – 100% of them purchase loans. Marcoline said that digging into purchase is a way to keep business coming in even when rates are high.

“I focus primarily on purchase business, and no matter what happens to rates, the purchase business continues,” Marcoline said. “Does it take a moment to recover from the shock? Of course it does. But all you can do is keep pushing forward, and if you’re not focused on purchases, you should get focused on purchases.”

Marcoline said originators should never assume rates are going to stay low.

“I’ve been thinking for years now, ‘Well, we’re going to get back to 8 or 9 (percent) eventually,’ so I’ve been sort of mentally preparing for that and basing my career outlook on it,” he said. “It’s something I’ve been building towards for a while now.

“I’ll give an example. I was offered a position back around 04-05 to run what at the time was a high volume branch in Las Vegas,” he said. “My position was that these houses appreciating monthly couldn’t last. Same with the rates. Three-and-a-half percent doesn’t last forever. These things are a foregone conclusion.”

So how do originators weather rising rates? Simple, said Marcoline: Old-fashioned elbow grease.

“If you haven’t based your ongoing pipeline on the assumption these things won’t last forever, you’ve made a mistake,” he said. “If that’s the case, you need to get back into the field. … Pound the pavement; separate yourself from the crowd with service, willingness to take phone calls at 8 or 9 o’clock, that kind of stuff.”

Marcoline said his focus on purchase business, complete with pavement-pounding and careful cultivation of leads, really paid off when rates jumped.

“These are really the times where I feel like I start to get more business. You have a lot of people sitting on their hands waiting for business to come in,” he said. “They were more apt to sit at their desk waiting for those refi calls to come in. Maybe they made more money than someone like me in a given month, but I think in the long run (purchases) are the way to go, because people aren’t going to stop buying houses.

“I feel that these are the times I can thrive, because the people who weren’t out there (when rates were low) still aren’t out there,” he said. “That was sort of the lazy route – the short term 'job' route instead of the long-term career builder.”