The Mortgage Industry is Changing, and There's Only One Thing to Do About It
The phrase "If you're not growing, you're dying" has never been truer in the mortgage industry than it is today. I hear it all the time talking to mortgage pros, and it sounds something like "The industry is always changing around me and I just keep doing what works for me, and I'm still here!" Sound familiar? I can assure you, you won't be hearing stuff like that 10 years from now. In fact, I'm already hearing it much less now than I did even 2 years ago.
This isn't your everyday Chicken Little article where I'm going to tell you that the sky is falling and the only way to stop it is to invest in my product. I'm not talking about cyclical market conditions either. No, I'm talking about technology, automation, and the power of the internet to quickly distribute a message among 10's of thousands of loan officers across the country through the power of social media.
Technology is Changing The Most Competitive Industries, and It's Doing it Quickly
If you google "marketing changes in the last 10 years" you're going to find multiple articles that talk about the insane exponential growth in marketing that's taken place. Multiple articles from the last couple years have a title along the lines of "Marketing Has Changed More in the last 2 years Than the last 50." Inside one of those articles, from the Silicon Valley Compass, I read that more than 50% of marketers self-reported not feeling proficient in digital marketing, 65% said that their company wasn't proficient, and yet more than 66% were positive enough in the necessity of it that they said their companies WILL NOT succeed without a solid digital marketing approach.
Holy shit right?
It's not just marketing either. Imagine being a retail store owner 10-15 years ago? Do you think you could have predicted the shifts that have taken place in that arena? Look at companies like JC Penney, Sears, Radioshack, K Mart. These are companies that once had success on a level that most of us can't even imagine, and yet, they are now all but irrelevant.
The printing industry has changed drastically due to the slow and painful death of newspapers and publications across the country, not to mention the increase in consumers opting to buy ebooks instead of physical ones. And to name some more industries that someone at some point thought were immovable, you've also seen the demise of travel agencies, video rental stores, CD/record stores, and Taxis. We're currently witnessing even more radical changes in industries like banking, auto dealerships, and television.
Why do I share all of this in a blog for mortgage loan officers?
If You Think The Mortgage Industry is Immune to this Kind of Radical Disruption, Think Again
Think honestly to yourself for a minute, is there anything those industries have in common that the mortgage industry does not share with them? NO industry is safe from radical change at some point, and the mortgage industry is due. Amazon is still lining up their ducks to jump into the mortgage industry, and you've seen the changes they've brought to every other sector they've touched. What makes you think you're safe?
Compliance hurdles with the rollout of TRID in 2015 definitely slowed the rate of growth of technology in the mortgage industry. Rest assured, if it wasn't for the fact that the rapid changes and increased scrutiny led to a need for basically an entirely new loan process for most lenders, this article would be nothing more than a salute to Captain Obvious. But most companies are back to closing loans in 2-3 weeks (which is an indication of dialing in systems and processes allowing companies to focus more on tech advancement), and if you think Quicken is far behind them, think again.
Remember Keller Mortgage? If not, you're definitely out of the loop. Keller Williams rolled out their own mortgage company earlier this year based on the idea that they can offer a comparable mortgage solution with lower than market rates at NO cost to the customer, in fact offering a $1000 credit to offset their settlement costs. They run the entire operation out of an old call center in Ohio. Everyone thought that they would implode right away, and although it's too early to make any definitive assessments, they haven't even stopped advertising their "Zero Plus" loan yet. I, among others, thought there might be enough dissent from LOs and, more importantly, their real estate referral partners to cause KM to backtrack and bag the idea altogether. Given how little I've seen anyone cover or really even speak to the impact of KM, I'm going to say they're probably operating as if business as usual actually means something to them by now.
What Can LOs Do to Protect Themselves From the Coming Changes?
Well, the easy answer here would be a shameless plug for my company, Empower Funnels, that builds fully automated lead generation and follow up systems for loan officers. Fight automation with automation ya know? Margins are shrinking and compensation plans are decreasing, the best way to combat that, in my opinion, is to make it possible to do A LOT more volume.
However, that's just a band-aid fix. If mortgage originators aren't completely irrelevant in 10-15 years, you'll need to be able to keep up with the changes that lie ahead, beyond what we can even forecast right now. If Amazon tanks the entire industry, or something else crazy happens, then you should know how to adapt in whatever industry you move on to. So what's the solution?
Is that cliche enough for you? I've found that when I can identify something that sounds cliche, it usually means it's actually really good advice that people brush off because they hear it so often, so a very small percentage of people ever actually follow it. So try and ignore that voice in the back of your head telling you that you already do this, and hear me out.
Remember those marketers I referenced earlier where half of them basically said they suck at what 2/3rds of them said was crucial for their company's survival? Yeah, well over 80% of the people who felt well-versed in digital marketing reported that they had NO formal education on the subject. How insane is that?
When it comes to self-educating, most people think that the fact that they read 2-3 self-improvement books a year and go to a conference every other year qualifies them to say they're doing their part. In some respects their right. In fact, in the mortgage industry, that probably puts you in a position where you're growing more than 80% of other loan officers out there. Here's the deal though: that doesn't mean it's enough.
You've got to start being intentional about recognizing the shifts that are taking place and learning how to navigate them. In my opinion, the best way to do that is to learn how to leverage technology and automation in your business to minimize the amount of work that you do to only tasks that someone/something else couldn't reasonably be expected to do for you. If that's what you want to take from this article, and you start down a path of learning more about tech, automation, and digital marketing, I personally think you're going to be better off than 95% of the industry whenever the next radical change takes place. However, if I'm wrong and learning about those things don't do anything to help you when that change takes place, just know that you'll have invested your time in learning a subject that will be useful in your next venture, whatever it may be.
If I'm 100% completely wrong about the direction of the industry, and you follow my advice, you'll end up building a kickass mortgage business that makes you millions of dollars, and there won't be anything to take that away from you. Or, you could just keep doing what you're doing, fighting to survive in an industry that's likely to spit out 70-80% of its workforce over the next 10 years. Your choice.
If you're ready to take that next step in your business and start learning more about technology, automation, and building your business to withstand the coming changes, you're probably going to need to take something off your plate that's on it currently. If I may, I suggest you outsource some of your lead generation efforts to a fully automated lead generation system. It's a lot easier to invest time and energy into learning about this stuff if you aren't stressing about where your next deal is coming from. If that's something you're interested in, click the link below to schedule a time on my calendar.
As always, thanks for reading and I'll see you at the top!