Top Originator: Joseph Massey says expertise will prevail in times of uncertainty

by Kasi Johnston01 Apr 2020

Originators across the country are adopting new strategies to minimize business interruption due to the coronavirus outbreak. While much of the mortgage process can be done online, prospecting and client engagement can suffer without the ability to meet face to face. Using technology like video conferencing and screen sharing is how some top originators are staying connected.

“We’ve always taken a consultative approach. With video calls, we can still go through documents line by line with our clients,” said Joseph Massey, branch manager and senior loan officer for Castle and Cooke Mortgage in Denver, CO.

Massey has been in the mortgage industry for 18 years and has witnessed a few ups and downs throughout his career, which is why he believes having a solid education and understanding of products and services is the best way to get through difficult times. Massey contributes to the real estate and mortgage community with regular presentations on financing options and continuing education classes for industry professionals. Instead of hosting classes at the office, Massey has moved everything online to a webinar format, due to social distancing rules surrounding the global pandemic. Webinars range from everything you need to know about your first loan, financing condos and tips on building a portfolio of rental properties. New professionals in the mortgage and real estate industry often don’t have a lot of experience, he says, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, education is critical in making sure you can set clients up for success.

“Education shouldn’t stop at licensing training. We need to know how buying a house is going to impact someone’s financial wellbeing over the next 30 years, and you have to be highly skilled and trained to be able to do this,” said Massey. “I don’t think many loan officers and real estate agents take this seriously enough, which I feel is a disservice to their clients.”

Providing accurate information and giving direct answers to clients is something that Massey always strives to do, but during times like these, it’s more important than ever. With conflicting information on rates and mortgages being circulated, Massey says borrowers are nervous, so being a source of factual and trustworthy information is critical.

“Review everything with your clients. There are times when the client already has the best possible loan, and we steer them away from refinancing. I think I’ve gotten a lot of referrals from my honest and upfront approach,” he said.

At the start of Massey’s career, really digging into the details is what helped differentiate him from his competitors. Learning and understanding the four C’s of credit (character, capital, capacity and conditions) helped him to close more loans because it opened up his skillset enabling him to find the best possible transaction for the client. Another big differentiator simply came down to where he sat in the office.

“I positioned myself close enough to my boss so I can hear him on the phone and listen to the way he closed loans. I copied everything he said and when he asked me to do something, I did it without question,” said Massey.

In 2019, he closed almost $80 million in loans. He gave credit to having a supportive team to help him accomplish more.

“It really catapulted me to the next level. Before I built my team, I was closing about 100 transactions a year, but this year for instance, we’ve already crossed 100 transactions in the first quarter,” he said.

To keep busy during this uncertain time, Massey says it’s important to use the time wisely to stay top of mind and reach out to referral partners and past clients. He advises calling every single real estate agent that you’ve worked with in the past two years to check in and see if there’s anything you can do to support their business.

“Call every person you’ve done a loan for in the past five years or more. Let them know you are still closing transactions, still reviewing loans and can potentially help them save some money to make things easier going into this recession,” he said.

Massey does warn about brokers biting off more than they can chew. While many have been riding the recent refi wave, it’s important to understand their own capacity and not overwhelm their system, which could result in unhappy customers.

“My team has picked up a ton of transactions and we are still operating and closing on our normal 22-day process, but there is a risk if you don’t have good back end support.”