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Survey: Support Trumps Salary in Loan Officer Retention

man-walking-w-briefcaseOut of the top reasons a mortgage loan officer decides to leave their company, salary actually ranks relatively low, a survey finds.

Mortgage bankers group Lenders One released Tuesday the results of new study on loan officer retention conducted by Majestic Consulting. According to the results, most loan officers would be willing to leave a higher-paying position if they feel management at another company has a better grasp on fulfillment and business development.

"The assumption that loan officers always leave for a better compensation structure somewhere else is flawed," said Majestic Consulting CEO Tom Ward at Lenders One's Summer Member Conference, where the survey findings were unveiled.

"Issues like a short-term missed closing can have a phenomenally long-term impact on a loan officer's book of business and can be just as or more important than compensation to a decision to change employment," Ward continued.

As mortgage business switches from a refinance-heavy market to one more focused on home purchase loans, the need for a smooth, efficient process has become all the more important, Lenders One says.

Out of the top complaints among loan officers nationwide, the survey found the three most commonly cited reasons offered for leaving a company were an inability to close on time, thus hurting referral business; a slow transition or lack of training and support for new purchase business; and a lack of confidence that their company's leadership understands, anticipates, and is prepared for market changes.

Given these challenges, Lenders One CEO Jeff McGuiness said lenders need to focus on tighter fulfillment and production efficiency to ensure stability and reduce disruptive turnover.

"Loan officer retention is a critical business issue we hear about time and time again from our members," McGuiness said. "This survey highlights the importance leaders must place on both the manufacturing process and their service teams so that both are in synch."

As for what helps to keep loan officers around, the survey suggests company loyalty plays a big role, with loan officers taking an average seven months from the time they decide to leave a company to when they actually depart.

"That's a remarkable amount of loyalty," Ward said. "What’s more, we found that the company that may initially start loan officers thinking about leaving is not usually the company they end up joining."

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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