What do you say to a group of young men of the millennial generation when they ask you, "Why would anyone our age want to enter the field of mortgage banking?" [paragraph] If you are like some of my successful mortgage banking friends--highly jaded and with 25-plus years into their career--you might advise these young men to consider other options. [paragraph] Yet, if we really believed this business was so bad, could we have had the opportunities many of us have experienced? Is it too late for their generation to enjoy the benefits of what has mostly been a fantastic career for many of us? [paragraph] Well, I suppose this is one of those glass half-full or half-empty questions. So like any astute salesperson, I refrained from answering the question and instead asked them: Why are you asking? [paragraph] Apparently, their brief familiarity with our industry and the fact that many successful Americans are either in real estate, technology or financial services, prompted the question of what it would be like and whether it might be a potential career fit. [paragraph] Like all those in the mortgage industry older than 50 (which, unfortunately, is the average age of most of us), I've had my share of good stories and bad stories. Yet, if I'm really honest, there aren't that many careers that I could have fallen into that would have provided the same lifestyle I have enjoyed all these years-one where I can help people, manage my own time and produce a great income.
And with that, the enlightenment of these young men (or should I say my own enlightenment) began.
The first thing I did was provide an overview of the main positions within the industry. I discussed who did what; what sort of income to expect; and, important to the ever-observant millennial, the lifestyle one could expect.
Having sparked their interest, they proceeded to ask what types of training were offered to get young, intelligent and driven people prepared to pursue a career in mortgage banking.
For most of us veterans of the mortgage business, we were hired and expected to figure it out. Survival of the fittest has definitely been the mortgage mantra.
From the millennials' perspective, that was quite shocking. They asked, "How do they ensure that employees are always growing? After all, virtually every other industry has intern or apprenticeship positions because they know the future of the company depends on continually growing new talent."
I explained that many mortgage companies have become jaded when it comes to hiring inexperienced people because, as many of them put it, "it doesn't work." I went on to say that it does work, but most do not know how to make it work and retain those they train-which is key.
I also shared that the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) has launched an impressive array of new courses designed to acquaint young minds with our industry, and at a price point that is affordable. (MBA's education offerings, including Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry [NMLS] courses, can be found at www.mbaeducation.org.) With a few more conversations, they had decided on their new career path. Little did I know that their education would actually become mine.
Launching the team
The Dream Team, as I now refer to my millennial trainees, decided that mortgage origination fit them best. They were all business or marketing graduates, very knowledgeable in marketing techniques and social media, and had spent the last couple of years working in financial services, sales and marketing, to some degree.
With the goal established, they asked for my help. Now at this point, a busy executive has two choices: 1) wish them the best and possibly refer them to those in the...