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Survey Finds Low Satisfaction, High Hopes Among Originators

collaboration-twoAs stricter regulation and declining business continue to challenge the mortgage industry, a recently released survey finds nearly two in three originators don't find their career as rewarding as it used to be.

In its fifth annual survey of loan originators, national recruiting firm Hammerhouse LLC  found that out of more than 800 respondents, 56 percent are finding that while they still consider their job rewarding—both personally and financially—it's now less so than it was in the past. Another 8 percent say their career is no longer sufficiently rewarding at all.

"Mortgage loan originators have been operating in a very difficult environment over the past several years and it should not come as a surprise that their level of satisfaction with their choice of careers has declined," said Drew Waterhouse, managing director of Hammerhouse.

Given the current mortgage environment, only 40 percent of originators said they came close to their production goals for 2014 (within 25 percent), while another 7 percent exceeded their goals. A combined 53 percent missed their production goal by 25 percent or more.

Asked about the biggest challenges facing the mortgage industry in 2015, more than half of respondents—56 percent—pointed to regulatory issues as their top concern. Twenty percent said product availability is a worry.

Despite those concerns—and the number of lenders who fell short of their 2014 goals—the vast majority of those surveyed anticipate a better year ahead of them. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they expect higher production in 2015 than they achieved last year, and another 21 percent expect production to be about the same as the goal they set for 2014.

To meet those goals, most originators said they plan to take advantage of their relationships. Thirty-five percent told Hammerhouse they expect to focus in 2015 on co-marketing relationships, campaigns, and events with referral partners, while another 30 percent will focus on structured email or direct mail marketing to past customers and partners. (When asked about people who have contributed to their development in the mortgage industry, the largest share of originators pointed to referral partners at 33 percent.)

On the topic of what they expect from their local manager, the biggest portion of respondents (41 percent) said they expect help to escalate operational issues. However, a similarly large share (38 percent) would be happy just to have management "get out of [their] way."

"As the 2015 survey showed, originators have raised the bar for their own performance by reaching beyond previous goals, strategies and tactics," Waterhouse said. "They also make it clear that they expect the same from their employer."

About Author: Tory Barringer

Tory Barringer began his journalism career in early 2011, working as a writer for the University of Texas at Arlington's student newspaper before joining the DS News team in 2012. In addition to contributing to DSNews.com, he is also the online editor for DS News' sister publication, MReport, which focuses on mortgage banking news.

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