Mistakes from Top Originators, Part II

by Kimberly Greene23 Jan 2019

Whether an originator has been in the business for 10 months or 10 years, there are some mistakes that they had to learn the hard way. Here are some mistakes that they’ve made in their careers, so that others may not have to do the same.

On being a good partner
“I learned late in the game that if you can’t do it, but someone else can, send it to them. My realtors go to me because even if I can’t do it, they’ll know that I’ll put it with someone who can. And my builders used to have three preferred lenders on site, now they only have one because they love the service I give, the reporting I give, and they know if I can’t do it, then I know who can and I’ll hand it off to the right person who will get it done without getting the buyer frustrated. If I were new to the business, that would be great advice I wish someone would’ve told me, is build relationships with little banks, with portfolio lenders, even hard money, people who can get things done, even if it’s not you.” —Allyson Kreycik, Guaranteed Rate

On moving lenders
“If you’ve committed to go somewhere else, cut your ties . . . no one’s going to steal a dollar from you, no mortgage bank is going to possibly get sued or have the CFPB come after them for not paying LO comp (and that’s Dodd-Frank), but just cut your ties and move over to the other place and start kicking ass and start learning. . . . I recruit loan officers weekly, and I’m like, if you want to come over here, I need you to say to your employer, ‘I’m leaving.’ Your deals are going to be taken care of, and I promise you, it’ll clean up your life. It’ll just make the transition smoother.” —Sean Cahan, president, Cornerstone Mortgage

On systems:
“I waited too long to choose a CRM and then go all in on implementing it across the business. . . . We’re seeing great reviews and high borrower satisfaction right now; we would’ve been enjoying that for a longer period of time if we’d have known how far along we could’ve been. We were like other mortgage companies in the sense that we were trying one, and then we tried another one, and then another shiny one came out. It really comes down to selecting one and going all in, working through the challenges, because it’s easier to scrap them sometimes and say, ‘We’re not working with this, let’s try a new one.’” —Chad Jampedro, president of GSF Mortgage

“If you lose a deal and they decide to go with a different lender, you just say, ‘all the best’ to them, never say anything negative. Twenty-six years ago, there was an originator that didn’t have the best reputation and I said something to the client about that, and I was very young, and it came back to bite me. You have to take the high road, you’re not going to get every deal, and sometimes the clients will come back and sometimes they’ll remember how professional you were.” —Bruce Salik, Guaranteed Rate

On working a database
“Even though I do a good job at keeping in touch with my database, I don’t do a good enough job. So it’s not one mistake, but it’s the multiple times that I just didn’t do a good job keeping up with a customer that went somewhere else that would’ve gladly stayed with me if I’d been a little bit more in touch with them. It’s those lost opportunities.”  —Dan Stevens, Wells Fargo

On setting boundaries
“You’ve got to set the boundaries with your realtor partners, you’ve got to set those boundaries, you’ve got to know your worth. Don’t take calls at 8:30 at night. You know what? Don’t. The world survived before cell phones and email, and it did just fine. . . . Have a funny voicemail. My voicemail for a while was, ‘hey, thanks for calling. You’ve reached me after 7 o’clock during the week; just so I don’t get divorced and pay a ton of money in alimony, I’ll call you back in the morning.’ Funny little things like that where people just laugh. People understand. People that are calling typically have families, they know that, they get it, we’re not asking them to do their job at 8 p.m. at night, they’ll understand that you have normal hours. That’s the big thing, setting those boundaries, I was really bad at that, my wife really helped me that. She’s like, ‘trust me, babe, you’re not that important. All you do is sell money for a living. Trust me. You’re not saving lives.’ You need to hear that, as a human being.” —Brian Decker, loanDepot

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