[Pulse] What’s an underwriter doing at a marketing conference?

Mortgage & Real Estate

That’s the question I was asked at least five times while attending HousingWire’s engage.marketing conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, last week.

My response: Yes, why not?

Marketing applies to the entire mortgage loan origination process. It applies before and at the point of sale, during processing, underwriting, and closing. It may sometimes apply to funding and post funding.

The underwriter is often portrayed as the enemy internally and externally, with loan originators and borrowers. The person who sort of slows down the process of moving forward. The wall that’s between the application and closing.

This may create a bad customer experience, but every mortgage professional knows that we are in a business where quality matters as much as quantity and the balancing of the two is not an easy task.

The identity of the underwriter is usually unknown to a borrower, but the way in which the underwriter engages with loan originators, coordinators, and other team members will directly and indirectly affect the borrower. Underwriting is a large piece of customer satisfaction.

I would like to submit that marketing is the subject matter of every mortgage employee of today and the future. Marketing is a tool that every mortgage professional may wield. It isn’t only a “front-end sort of deal.” It isn’t only the task of originators and marketing teams. It is a task for each employee.

After only a handful of years in the mortgage lending business, I’ve learned that every team member must work together and continue to market their brand. Each employee must continue to “sell the loan.” It cannot begin with an originator and end there.

Operations must take a mortgage application and turn it into a mortgage-backed security (internally), but we must also take a mortgage application and turn it into a marketing utopia (externally). This utopia is a place of referral relationships, customer satisfaction, and online transparency.

Housingwire’s 2019 engage.marketing summit was “focused on mortgage marketing in a purchase market with specific focus areas around leveraging technology, building referral relationships, customer experience and online reputation.”

One word seems to summarize the conference: relationships.

Marketing entrepreneur Brittany Hodak spoke about turning borrowers into superfans. “The best marketing doesn’t cost money. You can’t buy superfans.” She’s absolutely right. The best marketing is available by simply communicating yourself to the world. If you love your company and your brand, tell people about it. People have the best marketing tool available: the Internet. In particular, social media.

According to Hodak:

“You’re going to win by being the best YOU.”

“Each of us has the power to influence people around us.”

“92% of people trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than other marketing – so maybe everyone is an influencer.”

When I was a loan coordinator, I spoke with a large number of borrowers per week. I built relationships with all of them. I really cared about them and treated each of their loans as if it were my mortgage loan. I wanted to be honest, I wanted to be transparent, I wanted to show them I cared.

Purchasing a home is the largest financial obligation that most people will ever have. I wasn’t in sales and I wasn’t underwriting, but I was a small part of a big picture. To this day, I am humbled that I still receive calls from past clients wanting to complete another transaction. I’m not in sales! This tells me that I must have had a good rapport with them. Perhaps they could tell that I cared?

I’m excited to pass them on to production management. Relationships matter. Authenticity matters. Honesty matters. Efficiency matters. Timing matters. People matter.

Every teammate marketing is more powerful than a small marketing team. It’s an army rather than only the high-ranking officers. If you love your job and your company, if you feel you’re a part of something special, if you believe in your role and that your company is a significant part of the future, then market them! Market yourself!

Create and share content that is meaningful to you and others. Allow what you do every day to become a part of your story. Share that story with the world. Give others the opportunity to play a part in your story, and play a part in their story.

Meet people where they need to be met. Business should be a mutual good. In particular, mortgage lending ought to be a mutual good – a good for the borrower and the lender.

Good business is built on honest relationships. As Daniel McCoy of MVB Mortgage once said, “In the mortgage business, you can’t just have one job. You have to wear multiple hats.”

Think of what this could mean if everyone got involved in marketing in addition to their other duties. Imagine a mortgage company that is marketed by every person, in every department, in various roles – that’s is something to think about.

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