Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mortgage Lending A Great Career Opportunity - JD Crowe

Mortgage Lending A Great Career Opportunity

With the unemployment rate in Georgia at 8.9% and nationally at 8.1% there are a lot of people looking for jobs. And there are an additional 1,781,000 students who recently graduated from college who have also entered the job market.

But very few of these young people are considering a career in mortgage lending. And there has also been a decrease of people entering the field from other industries. As we’ve mentioned in a previous column, at the height of our industry, there were more than 3500 mortgage brokers and lenders in Georgia. Now there are less than 750.

The positive side of the huge decrease in the number of mortgage brokers and lenders is that anyone you deal with for a mortgage has a lot of experience. But the time is fast approaching when there won’t be enough mortgage lenders to handle the increasing volume of applications over the next five years, as the housing market starts to recover.

Rob Chrisman, of Daily Mortgage News and Commentary wrote, “In traveling around the country meeting with regional groups, and attending conferences, there definitely seems to be a lack of young people entering the business. Looking around the room or across the lobby of any conference, it is not hard to see the lack of anyone under age 35. How young people enter the mortgage and real estate business is a concern of many.”
The lack of young people entering the industry may also partly be due to the bad reputation mortgage lending has gotten from the media. We have often been portrayed as the bad guys whose lending practices led to our current economic condition. Just as in any industry, there are less-than-trustworthy people in it. But that just means there’s more room for the honest, competent people to become successful.
Few companies are willing to invest the time and money into training and there are even fewer people equipped to train.

Tim Galligan, a mortgage lender and director of sales at 1st Advantage Mortgage in Lombard Illinois, said in an interview, “It is especially hard for people trying to enter the field since experience is so critical, but don’t be discouraged: many mortgage lenders are finding ways to train inexperienced people. There have not been many young people getting into this field in the last few years, but we are going to need young people in 10 or 15 years when everyone retires. We’ve started hiring junior mortgage lenders who work under a more experienced person, and they can learn about the business before starting on their own.”

At Southeast Mortgage we are following a similar path. We have had several recent hires new to the industry. We are actively training them based on opportunity we see in the coming years. I always like hiring talented people who can learn quickly even if they have no experience in the industry. Our biggest challenge is that there won’t be enough originators to handle the volume as the housing market recovers.

If you are intelligent, have good communication skills, a good work ethic and have a basic knowledge of finance, the field of mortgage lending is wide open. If I were a young person just starting out in my career, I would look at this as a great opportunity.

J.D. Crowe is Senior Vice President of Southeast Mortgage

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