Inside the mind of a top executive--Craig Strent.

Author:Cunningham, Casey
Position:COLUMNS: THE RIGHT STUFF - Interview

IN THIS TIME OF TUMULTUOUS CHANGE in the mortgage industry when it comes to regulation and technology, among other things, it is important to stay focused on the opportunities that change can unearth. That is exactly how Craig Strent approaches these uncertain times.

Strent is an award-winning chief executive officer (CEO) of Rockville, Maryland-based Apex Home Loans as well as an award-winning mortgage originator. So how does he manage to accomplish so much? How does all of Strent's success and industry insights benefit his employees and customers?

I had the opportunity to ask him these questions and others for this edition of my Inside the Mind of a Top Executive interview series. (The Inside the Mind of a Top Producer interview series also appears regularly in this space.)

Opportunities and obstacles

When asked about the changing landscape of the industry, Strent was thrilled to talk about the subject. For the first time, he said, loan officers have the opportunity to control the interaction with the customer. Because of technology, more and more first-time homebuyers start their search online. This is the perfect opportunity to be the first contact with the customer rather than having to wait for referrals.

Unfortunately, along with the opportunities, our changing landscape also includes obstacles--such as the lack of clear answers when it comes to regulation. Even with challenges posed by new regulations, Strent says he stays focused on issues having the most impact on his business--the employee and the customer experiences.

Recruitment and development

Strent says he utilizes the DiSC[R] profile when hiring for his leadership team. The DiSC (dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness) profile is a test used for understanding one's behavior, temperament and personality. He also looks for someone with a high energy level and who is honest, dedicated and works well with others.

When it comes to recruiting new loan officers, Strent empathizes with the challenges many other leaders face in recruiting for the mortgage industry.

Although it can be challenging to bring new people into our industry, he says, "We need to do a better job as a whole in the industry to get the word out that this is a great career path." With the average age of a loan officer rising, Strent says there is a huge opportunity for young people to enter the mortgage business.

Strent and his Apex Home Loans team spend a lot of time and resources making sure...

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