Intentional excellence.

Author:Cunningham, Casey
Position:The Right Stuff

Our industry faces one of the most historically significant moments in our history. Leading up to the November 2012 elections, powerful consumer emotions, business restructuring and political battles led to new heights of emotional intensity. Now that the election is behind us, waves of change will soon wash across America, with significant impact on our economy, industry and our future.

Next year we could start to see an initial unwinding of quantitative easing (QE3) and similar government policies that have driven enormous levels of liquidity into the housing market. It goes without saying that all-time historically low interest rates have but one direction to move. We'll more than likely also see a return to a more traditional purchase mortgage market as refinances wane. These two changes alone will generate large shifts in our industry's production, staffing and profitability.

As an industry, our opportunity to completely rethink our standards for employment, professionalism, productivity, training, leadership, customer service and continuous improvement is at hand. In many regards, we have the opportunity to become "born again" by establishing totally new standards and eliminating many fundamental mistakes from our past.

Now is the perfect time to address these philosophical issues--before our rebuilding decade begins.

As an industry, how do we want to be perceived? Our aging national sales force will continue to retire at an ever-accelerating rate over the next decade. It is estimated that within 10 years, more than 75 percent of the American work force will consist of Millennials, or Generation Y individuals currently between 18 and 34 years of age.

The decade ahead could deliver a near 100 percent turnover rate in the mortgage industry. We have an extraordinarily invaluable opportunity to examine our past mistakes, adopt proven best standards from across all industries and elevate our industry to heights like never before. We face an incredible opportunity to radically change our destiny.

A brief retrospective

It often amazes me to consider that average loan officer productivity has virtually remained unchanged from the era of carbon-copied loan applications with Wite-Out[R] through the introduction of laptop computers, FedEx, automated underwriting, cell phones, email, websites and social media.

From the late 1970s through today, average loan officer closings per month have remained in the vicinity of three to four purchase units...

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