Barry Habib’s three strategies for loan officer success

by Clay Jarvis26 Aug 2020

In a recent webinar hosted by Civic Financial Services president William Tessar, industry icon Barry Habib shared three strategies loan officers can utilize to take advantage of the heat being generated by America’s runaway housing market.

Habib, the CEO of MBS Highway and a talking head familiar to regular viewers of both CNBC and Fox, rifled through a host of relevant topics, from demographic trends to housing supply to bond yields, before turning his attention to the country’s LOs.

His first piece of advice was for lenders to resist being motivated solely by topping last month’s profits and stay focused on helping borrowers achieve long-term success.

“You’ve got a lot of free money in refinances, but don’t be transactional,” Habib said. “You have a chance to change people’s lives every single day.”

Rather than saving clients money through a refi and then allowing them to walk out the door and blow it, Habib says loan officers need to instead put their financial advisor hats on and assist clients in getting the absolute most out of their money.

Using the example of a homeowner who refinanced and is now saving $270 a month, Habib says the borrower should be encouraged by her loan officer to invest the money wisely.

“If they’re 40 years old, they’re going to retire at 67, you could take that same amount of money and turn it into a $50,000-a-year annuity income, without ever touching the asset that they could leave to their heirs when they do retire,” Habib said, adding that borrowers should also be apprised of their debt consolidation options, which could allow them to shorten their mortgages and save thousands of dollars.

Habib also urged loan officers, even if they’re drowning in refi’s, to remain committed to driving purchases by honing their skills and bolstering their education.

“Don’t take your eye off the purchase ball just because you have so many transactions that you can do from the refinance game,” he told attendees. “If you’re a loan officer, this is not the time to take up golf.”

Habib’s third piece of advice was for loan officers to look at each transaction as if it were two: The one being completed for a client today and that client’s subsequent refi or next purchase. The first transaction, Habib says, should be structured in such a way that it feeds the second, ensuring that a satisfied borrower not only returns, but returns at a time when home prices have substantially increased.

“The average person stays in a home for ten years. Home values will be a lot more expensive ten years from now than they are today,” he said.

Toward the end of the discussion, Tessar jumped in with some advice of his own: Strike while the iron’s hot.

“This is the time to grind,” Tessar said. “If you’re a conventional lender, these are the best of times that Barry or I or any other person that has any other reference has ever seen.”

With rates inevitably going to rise, Tessar says LOs need to be the absolute best versions of themselves if they hope to keep the gravy train running once the current boom subsides.

“Rates will go up someday, and you’re going to be fighting in the streets for that next refi,” he said.