Patty Lopez joined the team in February 2019, bringing with her almost 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry. She’s spent much of her career learning from different institutions including Wells Fargo and Washington Mutual. Her vast experience learning all sides of the deal is what led her to closing over $114 million in loans last year.
Katie Mallon joined in October 2018 with no previous mortgage experience. She did however, come from a background of working at tech start-ups and understood the value of pushing boundaries within industries that haven’t seen much growth or change over the years. It was Better’s mission of making the homeownership dream more accessible to all that drew Mallon to the company, and after meeting the team through the recruitment process, she was sold. By the end of 2019 in her first year of originating loans, Mallon had closed over $133 million in volume, surpassing originators with decades of experience over her.
Both have very different paths into the industry and through it but managed to have record-breaking years. They shared a bit about their experience, and what it meant to be recognized as a top female originator of 2019.
What is your top advice to other brokers who may be new to the industry or looking to boost volume?
Patty Lopez: Don’t walk into this job thinking that you need to know everything. It’s more important to know your resources because guidelines and rules are always changing. I never claim to know it all and always take the time to fact-check and do additional research.
Katie Mallon: Take it upon yourself to become an expert. I came to Better with no prior mortgage experience, and what helped me succeed was taking ownership of my own learning. I made sure I knew enough to provide educated advice to borrowers, so they know right away they can trust you. That trust is often the deciding factor on whether a borrower chooses to work with you. Make yourself the authority on the subject.
Has your approach changed this year, amid the coronavirus pandemic?
Katie Mallon: I have since started managing my own team, so my origination has changed, but it is not really because of COVID-19. Being an online lender means we can interact with our clients via the website. Our borrowers are dealing with the impact of the crisis however, so we do our best to meet them where they are and approach every situation with empathy. Other than that, our technology is so strong, it’s business as usual.
Patty Lopez: The biggest change has been working from home full-time, but it’s been a smooth transition. Business is booming and despite some limitations like product restrictions, we all continue to be busy.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?
Patty Lopez: When you are working with a borrower, the buyer's agent and the listing agent are often just as important. Realtors are a huge influence on the borrower and understanding that was a huge challenge at the start of my career. Loan originators need to treat real estate agents with as much respect as our borrowers and if all parties leave with a positive experience, it will lead to referrals and you reap the rewards long term.
Katie Mallon: My greatest challenge was dealing with the sheer volume on top of all the new information. I initially struggled with how to schedule my day and make sure I was getting back to everyone. Over time, the ability to stay organized improves and it really helps to have my calendar booked to the minute. Organization is key.
Why is it important to celebrate women in finance and the mortgage industry?
Patty Lopez: Mortgages are part of the biggest purchases anyone makes in their lifetime, so having women hold these advisory positions is crucial. When I first interviewed with Better, one of the first things that stood out to me was the number of women in leadership. I wanted to be a part of that. I feel like our customers see the same thing and feel that when they choose to work with us.
Katie Mallon: It's important to celebrate women in finance, specifically, so that women know that there is a place for them in this industry. Friends have told me they wouldn’t want to work in the mortgage industry after hearing stories of the company culture, so I’m happy to be part of the change and at a company that celebrates successful women.