Can I Work Remotely as a New Mortgage Loan Originator?

One thing has become abundantly clear in our post-covid career era; people prefer to work remotely.  Working remotely affords employees more freedom, a casual work environment, the avoidance of commuting hassles, and the reduction of fuel expenses.  Employers mandating that their employees work out of a physical office location are now frequently accused of being oppressive and overly demanding.  The monster has been released from its enclosure and is fighting tooth and nail to avoid being returned to captivity.

Future mortgage loan originators (MLOs) who I’ve helped to pass the NMLS exam are regularly asking me for the most effective ways to find sponsorship.  And the majority of them stipulate that they would prefer a sponsor who will allow them to work remotely.  My response to those who ask me this is to paint a picture.  I ask them to imagine the consequences of a newly-sworn police officer, freshly graduated from the police academy, entering a police cruiser the day after graduation, and patrolling his or her sector on his or her own.  I shudder to think of how disastrous that could prove.  The newly-graduated police officer’s training begins the day after graduating from the police academy.  The rookie law enforcement officer must work under the direct supervision of a seasoned field training officer, sometimes for up to a year, before being permitted to engage in his or her responsibilities on his or her own.

Similarly, the rookie mortgage loan originator, having freshly passed the NMLS exam, cannot be expected to effectively perform his or her duties on his or her own.  New mortgage originators need the guidance and support of more experienced professionals who they can shadow and from whom they can learn.  And this can only be accomplished through in-person efforts and activities.

New mortgage loan originators who are permitted to work remotely generally abandon the mortgage industry significantly sooner than those who benefit from the expertise and in-person guidance of experienced mentors.  Without this guidance, new MLOs are far less successful navigating their way around mortgage programs and processes, cultivating the loyalty of new referral sources, and winning borrowers’ trust.  Even when a remote employer offers online training programs, retention, understanding, and implementation of that training is frequently less effective due to the many distractions affecting the employee’s concentration while undergoing the remote training from the comfort of their own home.

Lastly, let’s not forget about the potential for civil and even criminal liability.  Just as the newly-licensed driver is not immune from the consequences of violating a vehicle and traffic law, the newly-licensed mortgage loan originator cannot claim ignorance in the event that he or she violates any of the numerous laws, regulations, and rules governing the mortgage industry.  Even if the violator’s recent mortgage industry tenure is considered, simply being new to the field will not exonerate him or her from the consequences associated with violating a rule.  And just as the newly-licensed driver’s claims of ignorance to the rules of the road won’t necessarily buy him or her a break, neither will the newly-licensed loan originator’s.

Without question, operating as a remote MLO affords numerous benefits and conveniences.  But the opportunity to work remotely should be reserved only for the experienced and seasoned mortgage professional who has evolved beyond their rookie status and never for the brand new mortgage professional.

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