When Erik Peterson joined the team at Better.com in 2018, it was a far cry from his previous experience at a big bank. Better offered a high-level tech platform that is used from start-to-finish, allowing brokers to spend more time on higher priority tasks, compared to having to work on a lot of files alone which entailed more time-consuming work. While Erik walked in with a wealth of mortgage knowledge and previous origination experience, one of his greatest assets was being adaptable and open to a new way of doing things.
“Better focuses on finding the right personality during the recruitment process. There are certain individuals who are stuck in their ways, especially when they come with experience, but Erik was humble and open to adjusting to find success at a new company,” said Jonathan Casimir, sales manager at Better.com
Casimir started at Better just a few months before Peterson, and both began to grow together within the company. For Peterson, Casimir was a mentor, showing him the ropes and helping hone his skills. By the end of 2019, Peterson closed over $225 million in loans, while Casimir surpassed $260 million. For both, working together and the large emphasis on teamwork and company culture made a huge impact on their success.
“We have a unique training environment that is very collaborative,” said Peterson. “What makes us successful as a team is the segmentation and specialization in each step in the process, but also the fact that we are all aware that we’re building something together.”
At Better, there is no commission structure, which means brokers aren’t incentivized to lock in dollar amounts. Rather, there’s an emphasis placed on helping the team and working as a collective. At Better, Casimir says culture is more than just a buzzword. He describes a vibe throughout the offices, where a willingness to help and being authentic are celebrated.
When people enjoy coming to work, success comes easy. Peterson added that the same vibe that runs through the office shines through to customers, and that’s what has made success and growth within the company so viable. One of the main reasons he chose to leave his big bank job for Better was because of their focus on the borrower and the ability through technology to give instant loan estimates with real time rates. This transparency and efficiency paired with a positive, supportive work structure has been a recipe for growth.
“Building trust and rapport with our borrowers, but also feeling great about the work we are doing is important. I never walk away feeling like I’ve pushed or peddled some product that isn't the best for them,” said Casimir. “Because of that, it’s a snowball effect. The more you do it, the more you want to continue to help and perfect your technique to impact as many people as possible.”
For new brokers looking to find their place in the mortgage industry, Peterson says it’s important to research different companies and align yourself with the right mentors because that makes all the difference.
“In my experience, there’s a lot of smoke and mirror lenders out there that will try to sell you on a dream but it’s important to dig into what past customers are saying, their rates and fees; think about if you would like to work with the company as a customer. If those answers match up with your ethics and goals, that's where you should pursue your career.”
Peterson shared some great advice that Casimir had once passed along to him: take advantage of downtime in this rollercoaster industry.
“The ups and downs have taught me to take advantage of the opportunities when they arise, and pivot when needed. One month your phone is blowing up with requests and the next, it dries up.”