Avoid Roller-Coaster Commissions by Originating Like a Mortgage Underwriter!


Have you ever met a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) who complains about earning roller-coaster commissions?  One month their paycheck is impressive while the next month’s is weak.  Show me a Mortgage Loan Originator who’s plagued with this problem and I’ll show you an MLO who takes shortcuts.  Mortgage loan originators who cut corners to make the loan origination process easier for their customers are MLOs who will typically peak at mediocracy.  And wouldn’t you prefer success over mediocracy?

Why do MLOs do this?  Well, many of them are actually scared of their customers!  They prefer to appease their clients by requiring very little effort from them in fear of losing that client if they demand too much.  But customers can smell desperation a mile away.  And desperation does not command respect.

A loan originator who tells his or her client what he or she wants to hear instead of what he or she needs to hear, or an MLO who takes an application from an unprepared borrower instead of rescheduling it to a date when the borrower can be better prepared may be appeasing that customer temporarily but, after inevitably experiencing countless and completely avoidable delays caused by these corner cuts, with what that loan originator will ultimately be left is a loan that may close but a borrower who won’t remember their name six months later.

No salesperson should ever conduct his or her business from a position of fear.  What do I mean?  I’ve met hundreds of MLOs who are so afraid of losing the customer and their transaction that whatever the customer wants, the customer gets.  Would a doctor ever let a patient direct the course of their treatment?  Give the patient what they need to make an informed decision, yes.  But map out their own treatment plan?  Never!


It’s Time for a Change in Thinking!

The Mortgage Loan Originator needs to see him or herself as a trained professional, skilled at facilitating the financing that a homeowner, or future homeowner, needs.  When the MLO approaches a transaction from the perspective that they need the customer more than the customer needs them, the customer is given control and the loan originator becomes little more than a facilitator.  The skilled MLO recognizes and appreciates his or her worth.  The successful MLO approaches his or her business from the perspective that the customer needs him or her more than he or she needs that customer.  When conducting business this way, a shift in dynamics becomes inevitable.


Control the Transaction From the Start!

From the first interaction with the customer, the MLO should professionally and respectfully establish the appropriate expectations.  After identifying the appropriate product for the customer to apply, the next step is to inform the client of exactly what will be needed of them by the time they meet to complete the application.

Would a tax professional ever prepare someone’s tax returns from verbal estimates?  Absolutely not!  The customer should understand not only what they need to have with them at application but why it makes a difference. After all, garbage in always ends with garbage out! Making things easy up front will be quickly forgotten with every new request for something else that results from updates to their application based on accurate data eventually received versus the original estimates.


Originate Like a Mortgage Underwriter!

The mortgage underwriter is the person who ultimately decides whether or not to approve your customer’s loan application.  Why not make his or her job as easy as possible?  Maybe an MLO cutting corners will expedite the file off his or her desk so he or she can more quickly move onto the next applicant, but this inevitably leads to a logjam.

Be sure to complete your mortgage applications in an organized, methodical, and thorough manner.  Address all sections with nothing less than pristine accuracy and attention to detail.  And always remember to collect all necessary documentation from the customer in complete formats and with all pages of the most recent statements.  A bit more work upfront saves a huge amount of time and effort later on down the road.

Additionally, the MLO should be thoroughly familiar with the parameters of the product for which the applicant applies and prepare a file that accurately meets those parameters. A mortgage underwriter will be able to approve a file originated by an MLO who crosses all T’s and dots each I much quicker than he or she would a file infested with loose ends and sloppy work.  This, in turn, translates into an easier and more streamlined customer experience that easily justifies all of the initial legwork.  Not to mention how a mortgage underwriter would be more likely to decision in favor of a quality loan officer’s future customer whose qualifications may be “on the fence.”


Thorough and Detail-Oriented Origination Leads to Consistent Income!

So why would an MLO who does not originate like a mortgage underwriter experience “roller-coaster” income patterns?  The answer’s quite simple!  The sloppy originator may submit lots of files one month, but, instead of originating the same volume the next, he or she instead finds it necessary to spend his or her time putting out all of the fires caused by the previous month’s sloppy origination.  Then, once those fires have been extinguished, the MLO can resume originating.  And voila!  Roller-coaster income patterns!



The Mortgage Loan Originator is much more than an application taker.  He or she is a knowledgeable and respectable professional who a borrower seeks out just as someone who is sick or injured seeks out the expertise of a qualified physician.  By the MLO perceiving him or herself as such, a dynamic will naturally emerge that ultimately renders that mortgage loan originator able to replace mediocracy with the brass ring of success.

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