Advice to mortgage newcomers: Don't do it for the money

Instead, be consistent, adaptable and focus on your branding

Advice to mortgage newcomers: Don't do it for the money

The biggest piece of advice Nikkie Haley-Herbert (pictured) has for newcomers to the mortgage industry: Be consistent. 

In a recent interview with Mortgage Professional America, Haley-Herbert, branch manager at Lending Heights in Philadelphia, spoke about how the profit motive should not be the main motivator in pursuing a career as a mortgage broker or loan originator. Instead, those entering the industry should place a premium on being consistent in terms of their sales activities.

Having begun her career at AnnieMac Home Mortgage in 2016, she has derived further rewards beyond the financial and imparted advice to newcomers on focusing on similar pursuits. By focusing on helping people achieve the American Dream of homeownership, she suggested that everything else falls into place.

The virtues of being adaptable

“The number one thing is to be adaptable,” she told MPA in a recent telephone interview. “Be willing to be patient with yourself to learn what you don’t know and then follow that up with consistency. The hardest part that most people have is that consistency itself.”

But in exercising consistency, she has seen her own business profile grow. “Literally, I’ve seen it in my own business,” she said. “It may take a while because you have to put the time in and do the same sales activities for weeks. But give yourself 30 to 60 days and you’re going to see a difference in that pipeline regardless of what rates are doing.”

Such attention to consistency made all the difference in her career, as she started out, she noted. “I wanted to learn what I didn’t know as far as guidelines, how to package a loan, how to speak to a customer properly about all the different types of loans out there.”

Focusing on one’s branding is also important, she said. “The second part is: How do I separate myself from everyone else? Because we’re in the banking world and it can get a little muddled, so you have to decide which lane you really want to be in as far as your branding, how you present yourself on social media. It all comes together.”

Adaptability is a key dynamic to possess given the ever-changing landscape, she added. “We’re not in the old-school banking world anymore. Everything is digital. And you have to be able to adapt.”

Don’t do it for the money

People can make a comfortable living in the mortgage industry. But those entering into the career should not be fueled primarily by the profit motive, she said. “Don’t do it for the money,” she said. “Because if you’re only doing it for the money, that’s where your focus is going to be. Do it for your family, helping other people.”

She also spoke of the importance of belonging to groups of like-minded people who support one another. She pointed to the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME) as such a group, saying her membership has benefited her since joining over the summer when she joined the broker channel after working as a loan consultant at loanDepot for nearly four years.

“I’ve always wanted to join the broker channel but wasn’t sure,” she said. “I feel it’s a different level of support on the brokers’ side versus retail,” she said. “It’s not so much this lender versus this lender, but a lot of information sharing. One of the huge benefits of AIME if you’re new to the broker side from retail, you’re coming in a little green, I find that AIME did a great job at just really making a strong footprint for brokers where they can share information and learn from each other.”

Learning from AIME, even at rest

Haley-Herbert said she’s looking forward to going to her first AIME conference next year, an annual gathering in Las Vegas that takes place in the fall. “I would love to go,” she said. “They give us vendor discounts, networking, community support.”

She joked about her frequent choice of nighttime reading since she’s joined the group. “I’m one of those people when I can’t sleep at night, I scroll the mortgage Facebook group,” she said with a laugh. “But it gives me opportunities to learn. It does! If I’m in that group in the middle of the night and someone posts about a specific scenario, it could be something that I’ve never come across myself but just reading about it and reading the comments and seeing how people are coming in to support each other - it helps you expand your abilities and create that camaraderie.”

Even at rest, she continues to learn. “I can’t wait to dig in a little more,” she said with palpable enthusiasm.

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