Top originator’s counterintuitive advice to closing “profitable” loans

Branch manager discusses how he adds value to his clients' lives

Top originator’s counterintuitive advice to closing “profitable” loans

If you’re an originator who is either starting out in the business or has been in the business for a long time and is having difficulty boosting production, the best thing to do is ignore the transaction completely and focus on your client, Clint Hammond (pictured) said.

Hammond, an originator and branch manager at Mortgage Network, knows that it sounds counterintuitive in an industry that is 100% commission-based and where you only get paid upon closing.

“But if you ignore the transaction entirely and focus all of your energy and efforts on adding value to your borrower’s life, the transactions will take care of themselves,” he said. “Some of the most profitable loans I’ve worked on are loans that never closed, but I added value to someone’s life, and they subsequently turned into referral sources on par with any realtor. Do good, and good comes back to you. It’s just that simple.”

The mortgage professional recalled closing a loan about 10 years ago for a borrower who had been homeless just a year prior. For about six months, they worked together on an overall plan that included building good credit and a strategy to save up what his client needed for a down payment and cash to close. Then, they went home shopping, made an offer, got a house under contract, and closed 30 days later.

“We were sitting at the closing table, and as he signed the last couple of documents, he started crying and was completely overcome with emotion. It was pretty cool to be a part of that,” Hammond said.

Instead of just taking an application and filling an order, Hammond believes that originators can help clients by providing sound advice. He also emphasized the importance of arming yourself with all the industry insights and practical knowledge you can get your hands on.

“The biggest influence on my overall career was the financial crisis. I struggled like everyone else in the industry, but I doubled down on it by devouring any and all information I could find that was industry-related: I studied market behavior, took a deep dive into MBS and pricing, and pursued a practically grad school level learning of the financial planning side of the business,” he said.

This approach enabled him to pick up market share and solidify some borrower and realtor relationships that otherwise might not have been established without the mortgage and real estate world melting down. It was not always smooth sailing, Hammond admits, but after nearly three years of hard work and dedication, he was able to grow his confidence in who he was and where he was going in this business.

In 2020, Hammond funded $126 million in loans, and he’s on pace to exceed that this year with $150 million in volume – assuming strong housing market conditions remain as they are now. Hammond said that he and his team of three are pouring all their energy and efforts into providing a top-notch client experience.

“The biggest challenge is time management and ultimately making sure that our level of service isn’t diminished or diluted with the level of volume we’re producing,” he shared. “I’ve built this business and grown it based on the one thing that actually gets harder as you close more and more loans — the personal touch. So, my struggle is just making sure the whole team is completely on board and that everyone understands that, above all else, we serve our borrower.”