by Tom Hughes
The mortgage business is like any other business, success is dependent on what you know. With the ever-increasing regulation and industry changes in recent years, priority and investment must be directed to training. The lack of focus and investment in this area hinders the employee’s proficiency and ultimately, the company’s intellectual structure.
Staying abreast of change is a critical component of the individual staff member’s success and thus, the operation. One of the main challenges is to build upon existing strengths of the individual and to create an excellent education experience. The training investment should have equal consideration as other capital expenditures. A knowledgeable employee is better able to perform their job – adding efficiency in productivity. These factors give the company a competitive advantage that increases the bottom line.
A well-designed mortgage training program should not be established just for the sake of doing it. In the first and subsequent Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE’s) audits I experienced, the first items requested were the training program with a list of specific courses completed by the mortgage staff. A well-designed program will not be a “shotgun” approach. Often lenders see the training function addressed by having everyone taking the same assigned web classes. Employees are given the “list” and told they must be completed in a certain time frame. Many staff members end up taking classes in which they have already mastered the content, or the module does not apply to the skills required to successfully perform their job functions.
The mortgage industry does not have to reinvent the “education wheel.” We just need to adopt practices and procedures utilized successfully by our public school system. Fortunately, I have an advantage in this area. My career prior to entering the banking profession more than three decades ago was teaching. Within my family are three generations of educators and I had the experience of witnessing the changes occurring in that profession. Many times, educators are required to develop student specific individualized education plans. As mortgage lenders, we can adapt this process. A mortgage specific employee development program will result in:
- Operation Effectiveness and Efficiency: Employees that are cross trained will be able to think logically.
- Motivation: Training and development opportunities create job satisfaction and loyalty.
- Recruitment: Employees want a workplace in which they can further their career.
- Risk Reduction: Both reputational and compliance risk can be reduced.
- Improved Employee Performance: Employees who are competent and ahead of peers in our changing industry will assist the company to be a market leader as well as have a more competitive edge.
The planning and production of a training program is not a single step by step process. Instead, it involves planning, commitment, monitoring, needs analysis, strategy and evaluation.
Mortgage lenders should recognize the importance of education and its contribution to their success. We need to accept the obligation to make training a continuous process. Train, practice, challenge and evaluate the results. In order to create a learning culture, it needs to be embraced and driven right from the top. After all, customers want to deal with the most knowledgeable mortgage lending professionals in the market who possess the skills to serve their needs.
Tom is a Managing Partner of Bankers Mortgage Consulting, LLC and serves as CEO of Mortgage Insource Services, LLC. He can be contacted via email at email@example.com or by phone at 270-590-9116.