January 26, 2024Loan Officer, Mortgage Insurance, Servicing, Origination, Title, Closing and Settlement, Sales Tools
4 Simple Steps for Loan Officers to Build Lasting Relationships in 2024
Without a doubt, 2023 was a challenging year for most mortgage loan officers. Rising interest rates and higher home prices have demoralized prospective homebuyers, and many homeowners feel “locked in” by their existing low-rate mortgages.
Mortgage application volume has dropped over the past two years; however, there are still many success stories to point to. According to the 2023 State of the Industry Half-Time Report from Dave Savage and Kristin Messerli, a surprisingly high number of loan officers managed to close over 100 loans in 2023, and a smaller population were able to achieve a remarkable 20 closings per month.
The most successful loan officers today are focused on marketing their businesses and building, cultivating, and maintaining relationships. Relationship building — with real estate agents, prior clients, local community organizations, and other trusted service providers — is more than just securing a loan. It’s about establishing trust, which can help lay the foundation for a strong business.
The Importance of Building Relationships
Many local service providers and business professionals in the community work closely with potential homebuyers and can be a great source of repeat business for loan officers (LOs). By building a robust community network, LOs can leverage these relationships to help boost business growth.
Here are some of the benefits of building community relationships and developing better relationships with existing clients:
- Trust and credibility: Homebuyers want to work with someone they trust. In many cases, buyers have an established relationship with local real estate agents, charitable organizations, or other businesses and are more likely to work with an LO that those existing relationships recommend.
- Repeat business and referrals: Never underestimate the power of client referrals. According to a Nielsen report, 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth referrals more than all other forms of advertising. A strong relationship can lead to repeat business from satisfied clients.
- A better customer experience: Focusing on creating a positive experience for existing clients can help LOs better understand the needs and goals of other prospective clients. A McKinsey report found that the most important factor in first-time homebuyers’ decisions to choose a lender was discovering that they delivered an outstanding customer experience.
Check out these four tactics to help forge new relationships and improve your existing ones:
Building a personal brand can give potential clients a better understanding of who you are and what you bring to the table. Your personal brand is how you portray yourself and how you want people to see you. Your reputation is your credibility, but your personal brand is your visibility and the values you represent.
Here are some tips that may help you create a strong personal brand:
- Determine what sets you apart from other loan officers.
- Showcase your skill set, products, and services on a professional website.
- Build your online presence through social media platforms.
- Engage with online conversations and communities and provide helpful tips and advice.
- Create a newsletter and build your email list.
- Collect testimonials from happy clients.
- Encourage clients to leave reviews on Google, Facebook, and other websites.
- Stay current with marketing strategies and trends.
Whether you love it or hate it, social media is a uniquely valuable tool for promoting your brand and connecting with clients. It offers the ability to build and engage with your network anytime, anywhere. For those looking for a place to start, here are some tips to begin leveraging social networks for your business.
It may be tempting to be active on every social media platform out there, but you could risk spreading yourself too thin. Focus your efforts and pick two or three social media platforms to master, typically where both consumer and professional audiences are the most active, such as Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok, which is growing in popularity, especially with the younger generations beginning to enter their homebuying years.
Once you commit to using social media for your business, it is important to stay active. Consider commenting on and/or sharing posts relevant to your industry. You should also take this time to build your own presence, share your industry knowledge, and establish yourself as a trusted and credible authority in the mortgage industry.
Don’t forget that you can also add a call-to-action within your social media posts. This can include registering for your email list, subscribing to your newsletter, clicking the follow button, or scheduling a chat.
Social media is also a great place to find events and other opportunities to connect with community members. Explore within your network, including other service providers and prior clients, and see if there are possible opportunities where you can add value.
If you need some more help with your social media strategy, check out our Radian National Training webinar, Embracing the Social Generation: Strategies to Grow Your Social Media Presence.
Once you have made connections, it can be critical to continue to nurture those relationships with open communication and recurring touchpoints to keep your business top of mind.
When it comes to nurturing your networks, consider what value you can provide to each of your different connections and how you can establish trust and credibility with them.
For existing clients, it is helpful to maintain regular communication that enhances the customer experience and quality of service. That may include timely responses on pre-approvals and pre-qualifications, updates on the loan approval status, information on what to expect at closings, and regular check-ins to make sure they understand every step of the process.
For other connections like past clients and your professional network, email marketing, including newsletters, can be a very useful method to stay in touch. With email marketing, you can keep your business top-of-mind by sending regular updates, local promotions, and information about community events.
Relationships will be short-lived if you don’t provide ongoing or lasting value. Instead of thinking about how relationships can help you, think of what you can do to make them stronger.
Here are other tips that may help loan officers provide value:
- Attend closings and be proactive. LOs aren’t required to attend closings, but it can help make the closing process go more smoothly and make the borrower feel more confident.
- Be available, communicate often, and follow up. Open communication and frequent interaction can help prevent obstacles at every step.
- Meet in person if you can. Everything is online nowadays. If you want to stand out, try having a conversation in person.
Another way you can bring value and potentially generate more business is through product offerings that address affordability, such as lender- or borrower-paid mortgage insurance.
Radian Guaranty’s CustoMIze SplitEdge is a mortgage insurance premium plan offering flexible monthly MI premium options to fit borrowers’ budgets. By providing a range of rates and greater access to upfront and monthly payment choices, borrowers can focus on other financial goals.
Radian Settlement Services can also help borrowers feel more confident at closing with a Radian Ready instant title decision powered by Radian Title Technology. Titlegenius by Radian integrates seamlessly with leading LOS systems and can potentially save homebuyers and sellers up to 20%* on closing costs in comparison to other providers. Plus, easy-to-understand reports put borrowers at ease and help streamline the entire process.
Find a title product that matches the borrower’s needs and customize your offering down to the last detail through the Radian family of companies. Reach out to your account manager today to learn more about Radian Guaranty’s mortgage insurance options and affiliated title services.
Kristin Messerli & Dave Savage, 2023 State of the Industry Half-Time Report (Mortgage Coach, Sept. 2023)
Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages (Nielsen, April 2012)
Ayush Madan, Akshay Kapoor, Rohit Singh, Competing on customer experience in US mortgage (McKinsey & Company, Dec. 2019)
* Potential savings may vary. Florida: Radian Instant Rebate is consistent with the Butler Rebate as permitted in the Florida Supreme Court decision Chicago Title Insurance Co. v. Butler, 770 So. 2d 1210, 1221, 2000 Fla. LEXIS 2034, *32. All other states: National averages of competitor standard rates as of July 2023. Potential savings will vary. Annual Premium for basic policy; coverage and discounts may vary and may not be available in all states and situations.
© 2023 Radian Group Inc. All Rights Reserved. 550 East Swedesford Road, Suite 350, Wayne, PA 19087. “Radian” is a brand of Radian Group Inc., including its licensed insurance affiliates. Mortgage insurance is provided and underwritten by Radian Guaranty Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Radian Group Inc. with home offices at 550 East Swedesford Road, Suite 350, Wayne, PA 19087 . Radian Guaranty Inc. is a monoline mortgage insurance company licensed to write business in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for the insurance policies it issues. Insurance coverage is subject to the terms and conditions of applicable insurance policies, which contain exclusions, limitations and other conditions and requirements. Not all services or products are available in all areas throughout the United States. In addition, you may not be eligible under the applicable underwriting guidelines for all products or services described herein. All information contained herein is subject to change without notice. Title insurance is provided and underwritten by Radian Title Insurance Inc., 6100 Oak Tree Blvd, Suite 200, Independence, OH 44131; NAIC#: 51632, CA- License# 5093-0. FL – Title insurance license #51632, AZ – Title Insurer 51632 (not licensed in AK, HI, ID, IA, ME, NH, NJ, VT and WY). Title Services are provided by Radian Title Insurance Inc. and Radian Settlement Services Inc., 1000 GSK Drive, Suite 210, Coraopolis, PA 15108, FL- Non-Resident Title Agency #A271379, AZ- Non-Resident Title Agent #1800016008, both subsidiaries of homegenius Inc.. This communication is provided for use by real estate professionals only and is not intended for distribution to consumers or other third parties. This does not constitute an advertisement as defined by Section 1026.2(a)(2) of Regulation Z.
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