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Lenders’ No. 1 Concern

Enhancing customer experience, integrating new technology, scaling loan manufacturing process to better insulate against volume fluctuations—these are a few issues on the minds of mortgage-lending executives so far in 2021. But the top industry-related anxiety reportedly involves the ability of leaders and companies to retain their current workforces, according to an annual survey from independent mortgage industry cooperative network The Mortgage Collaborative. The collaborative's President says that's a little unexpected.

“After a lender hiring frenzy to manage last year’s historic volumes, we fully expected staffing to be one of the top concerns this year, but to have it rank as lenders’ No. 1 concern was truly a surprise,” said Rich Swerbinsky, COO and President of TMC. “As much as the ‘hire-and-fire cycle’ has come to define how lenders typically manage the peaks and valleys of origination volume, there is also a real concern among lenders about the human impact of this strategy, as well as the operational and financial effects, and lenders seem to be ready to embrace alternative means to better manage volume fluctuations. This aligns neatly with the overall theme we observed in the list of lenders’ top concerns of modernizing the generally inefficient mortgage loan manufacturing process.”

Here's the full list of concerns, as determined by 598 executive responses from the co-op’s 234 lender members.

1. Retention of existing staff

2. Enhancing customer experience at point of sale

3. Scaling and modernizing loan manufacturing process to better insulate against volume fluctuations

4. Measuring operations and employee productivity

5. Implementing and integrating new technology

6. Fair lending compliance

That last one, fair lending compliance, falls outside this general theme, Swerbinsky says, but it is understandable.

“With the Biden Administration and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau telegraphing their collective intent to make housing equity a top regulatory priority, as well as the reinstatement of the disparate impact standard, our lender members are understandably focused on ensuring their policies and procedures are up to scratch to ensure compliance with existing fair lending laws.”

From where are these responses predominately coming? In terms of institution mix, 53.7% of survey respondents work for an independent mortgage lender and 46.3% for a depository lender (i.e., banks and credit unions).

Click here to request the full report from The Mortgage Collaborative.

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media/Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning news, among others. Contact Christina at christina.hughesbabb@thefivestar.com.
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