How to Get Into the Mortgage Business

I get asked this so many times, I thought that I would write about it. How did I get into the mortgage business and how does someone get into it now?

My answer, oddly enough, is much like everyone else that I know in mortgage…”By mistake.”

When I was growing up, not once have I heard anyone say, “I want to be a mortgage banker when I grow up!” I am also pretty darn sure that kids nowadays still don’t say it.

They should though…cause it is a great field to be in. You get to help people, you have somewhat of a flexible schedule, and you can make great money. We are counselors, we get to help people every day with one of the largest purchases of their lives. We get to see people’s dreams come true. We see tears (sometimes our own LOL) and happiness. Stress followed by joy. The drawback? Most of us are on straight commission…which can be scary to some folks…but not me. Having been on straight commission my entire adult life, I would never take a salary of any kind ever.

Right now, there are over 550,000 Loan Officers in the USA. I am one of the Top 200 and one of the Top 50 Women in the USA. So you should totally listen to me! 🙂

So how do you get into this business? It doesn’t take a college degree. I don’t have one.

It is not something that you can go to school for, technically. I mean, there are classes you have to take in order to get your loan officer license…but in reality, you really don’t use any of that information in “real life” application, much like the stuff you learn in college. That is a whole ’nother blog post though.

Years ago, it was super easy to get into the mortgage business…especially back in the early 2000’s before the market took a crap. It seemed like anyone thought that they could do this career with promises of tons of money and minimal work…and unfortunately our industry allowed all of these idiots to just become loan officers over night. Oh, you have a heartbeat? Cool. You can be a Loan Officer and give all sorts of advice to people that made no sense other than to make money for yourself. They got no real training and were just let loose to do whatever they wanted with really no regulation. Well, we all know what happened…the market crashed and only whose who were true professionals survived. The people who should never have been able to be called, “Loan Officers” quickly exited the industry when the Frank-Dodd Act was passed. We were, for the first time, regulated and a lot of people didn’t like that. I did. It thinned out the pack. Buh-bye.

My personal story is that I found someone to train me from scratch when I was 19-ish and still in college. I was, at the time, a receptionist at a mortgage company and every day, I saw these people on the phone, selling stuff and it sounded easy. This was my 19-year old self prospective. LOL. So, I went and got my Loan Officer License and then looked in the newspaper for my job because the company I was working for wouldn’t hire me because it was too big of a jump to go from receptionist to Loan Officer. I get it now, but back then, I didn’t understand.

When I started, I read off of a script and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Every night, I took the guidelines home and read them. Memorized them. Figured out how to make the process smoother, better, faster. The broker I worked for did massive mailers across the USA and the phone rang off the hook. So back then, I didn’t have to go out and get my own business or build a book of business. It came easy to me, thank God…and I made a decision to quit school (which everyone thought that I was cray cray…but as you now know, I was not) and become a Loan Officer full-time.

The rest is history for me. When I left California, I moved to Texas and I moved up into management until 2006, when I decided I had enough and came down to San Antonio. I had to go out and get all of my own business. I did not know a damn person in SA except for my family.

13 years later, I have become the Top Loan Officer in San Antonio. All self-generated. That is the hard part…going and getting my own business. Now that is an art. It takes grit, thick skin, great problem solving skills, tenacity, great people skills, and outgoing personality and a really good sense of humor. Wine also helps! HA.

Point is this: Being a commissioned Loan Officer is a LOT of work. It is stressful. It is a LOT of hard work. There is a difference between a Loan Officer and someone who works at a big bank or credit union and does only the loans that come to them through their institution. Generally, the experience and knowledge level of the “big bank” LO’s is elementary compared to a LO that works on commission? Why? Because they don’t have to have the knowledge. They will most likely work 8-5pm and they will be on a small salary. You will probably get treated like a number instead of a person. Now, this is a generality…it doesn’t apply to everyone that works at a big bank…just most.

I think that it might be a good place to start now-a-days if you just want to learn the basics…

And trust me…there is nothing wrong with staying or starting in a career path like that. Going to the next level is definitely not for everyone. There is nothing wrong with staying at one place. You can still make a pretty good living.

So what is the bottom line? You have to find someone to train you and take you on as an apprentice of some sort. Period. There is no schooling or degree or anything that can possibly prepare you for what it is like to do what we do. You just have to learn from osmosis. The only issue is though, is that the people that you would love to train you, are generally too busy to train you. So, my suggestion is that you start somewhere “low” and learn the ropes. Study. Try. Fail. Try again. If you feel like you can do it on your own, then go on straight commission. If you like a salary, get a job at a bank.

A bank LO can make maybe 60-80k a year. A seasoned straight commissioned top producing loan officer can make upwards of a million dollars.

So there you have it! Go find someone to take you on!!

My favorite meme…but possibly the most accurate one too!! HA!

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