Michael Hughes: The Importance of Lending Technology in the Recruitment Process
PERSON OF THE WEEK: As mortgage lending volume continues to contract, lenders are cutting staff and freeing up excess capacity. However, they are still aggressively recruiting for top sales talent.
Attracting the attention of the best OL is a challenge. Getting them to jump ship can be even more difficult.
To find out what it takes to attract the best OL, MortgageOrb recently caught up with Michael Hughes, associate director of sales effectiveness at Mortgage Cadence and former loan officer.
Q: How long have you been mortgage LO and what was your experience?
Hughes: I joined Mortgage Cadence in May 2021, but for the previous seven years I was LO at a regional bank. I loved it and the relationships I built with my clients. In fact, I was a loan originator until the day I started here. At that time, technology played such a large role in our work as loan originators that I began to consider moving into selling technology and looked at a number of industries.
After meeting the team at Mortgage Cadence, it was clear this was the place for me. I made the decision at the right time, as volumes are starting to normalize, lenders have more time to assess future technology investments. In doing so, they are finding that better lending technology helps them attract better teams and so we are seeing a lot more interest from lenders.
Q: What are lenders currently looking for in a loan origination system?
Hughes: In many ways, lenders are looking for the same things they have always been: a modern system based on the latest technology that gives them the flexibility to power their own workflows and business processes instead of adopting everything the developer has integrated into the platform. They want to be able to easily work with any vendor they choose, not just LOS developer partners. They want the power to create better processes that finally remove friction from the business and accelerate loan closing.
But on top of all that, we’re talking to more lenders who focus on the LO experience. They see LOS as a recruiting tool – and they’re right.
When I was making loans, I was always looking for tools that would make it easier for me to find deals and better meet my clients’ needs while making closings easier.
Lenders who are serious about recruiting the best people in the industry are taking a closer look at new loan origination technologies.
Q: What does it really take to get OL’s attention?
Hughes: It’s a good question and I think more and more lenders are talking to their sales teams about it these days. Having good support in the business has always been important. Good managers attract a lot, culture is so important, sometimes even more important than the initial compensation plan.
But for most LOs, the tech stack the company gives them can make or break the deal. An LO will want to have autonomy, but ultimately it will come down to what makes the job easier.
Ultimately, if an LO can take out more loans and still have time to be home with family or friends – and doing the things they want to do with their life – that’s the business for which he wants to work. It takes technology.
Q: In terms of functionality, what does an LO need to achieve this goal?
Hughes: Since LOs all have different approaches to how they grow their business, it is difficult to create a single approach. The real answer is that the LO needs whatever it takes to empower it to do the best job it can to bring borrowers through their process all the way to the closing table.
Q: Do LOs today expect recruiters to understand mortgage technology?
Hughes: I think so. The LO a lender is trying to recruit is going to have questions about the company’s technology – and if the lender can’t answer those questions over the phone, they’ll never entice them to come for a visit.
But that doesn’t mean everyone in HR needs to understand the lender’s tech stack. When I worked at the bank, I was often called in to go on a call with a potential recruit and explain what we used on a daily basis. It helped them get a complete picture of what they might be getting into when they change organizations.
It helped them learn all about the culture and the brand, but it always came back to the question: is it easy to get a new loan on the platform and keep the borrower happy?
Every LO knows they’re not going to grow their pipeline and have enthusiastic fans without technology to help them do that.