Tip of the Month by Stewart Mednick

by 11 Jun 2009
Mortgage Grand Prix Continued: Durability
Durability is the ability to endure.
Endure as in endurance, the ability to go the distance.  The principal of durability has many components.  It speaks of strength and the ability to withstand erosion, corrosion, weathering and other attacks on its structural integrity.  When I talk about withstanding erosion and corrosion, these are figurative words referring to the mortgage market and customer traffic.  Erosion is the whisking away of the plethora of customers we all once remembered five years ago.  Corrosion is the slow degradation of the infrastructure we have experienced in the mortgage industry over the last three years.  
It also contains the concepts of adaptability to a wide range of changing market conditions, environmental issues, political whims, consumer preferences, war and peace.  We have all been around long enough to see this mortgage industry change many times through the influence of economic and world political events.  The invasion of Iraq had a profound influence on the economic status of this country.  
The race is long and the lead might change many times.  A steady pace and composure are required to maintain a constancy of purpose required to go the distance.  I have said many times that this is a marathon, not a sprint.  This is the element of endurance of time.
Business models built upon a strong foundation are the essence of a durable beginning.  Ongoing durability is born of testing and retesting the original premise of the business model to allow for durability over the course of time.  In the column last month, efficiency was touted as a process of setting a standard through incremental improvements and resetting the standard with these improvements.  A base foundation can be gotten from replicating what works for the ones already successful in the business.  Pick a business model and go with it, then change it to fit your needs and incrementally reset the standard.  
What must the buggy whip manufacturer thought with the invention of the automobile?  Did he ignore this emerging mode of transportation by blindly continuing his production of buggy whips?  Or did he seek out ways to adapt his manufacturing capacity and expertise to seek out ways to deliver parts to the automobile industry?  When the Pay Option Arm is no longer an option, what do you do to satisfy the ‘pay option’ customers?
At its root, durability is the ability to not break under stress; economic and mental.  To embark upon continual process improvements, thereby strengthening the durability on a daily basis.  One does not know where the next assault on your business model is to come from.  As Sun Tzu (The Art of War) once said, 
"One does not rely upon the enemy not attacking, but instead relies upon the fact that he himself is unassailable."  
There you have it.  An enemy deems it foolish to attack an opponent that has superior strength.  Is not then durability an important source of continued business success?
This topic is extensive and can be developed at book length.  The take aways, however, are simple:
Durability is the ability to endure time, change, and the shift of power within the industry, economy, and competition.
Durability is thwarting corrosion and erosion of the market and the customer base.
Durability is testing and retesting what works and what does not.
Durability is to NOT break under stress.
Remember Wayne Rainey’s definition: last longer.  My dad would always ask a question of me whenever I felt overwhelmed or unable to achieve my goal that seemed so long to achieve, “How do you eat a whale?” he would ask.  I would reply, “one bit at a time.”  That is the essence of durability.
Stewart Mednick is a seasoned mortgage banker and published author.  His writing focuses on relationship development, personal empowerment, customer satisfaction, marketing and sales techniques. Stewart is available for marketing consulting, personal coaching and training sessions.  If you have a comment or a question for Stewart, contact him at 651-895-5122 or smednick1@netzero.net


Should CFPB have more supervision over credit agencies?