Educating the Next Generation

September 3, 2020

The mortgage industry is evolving, including the growth of the largest market share for independent brokers the industry has seen since the financial crisis. But what about the operations segment of the business supporting the growth?

The pandemic shined a spotlight on the noticeable need for experienced, educated processors and underwriters and other operations team members to handle the epic swell in business driven by the historic low rate environment. The average age of mortgage professionals is currently 54-59 years of age. As these professionals move closer to retirement, an enormous gap will be left when they leave the workforce. Compounding this problem is the lack of younger people interested in pursuing a career in the mortgage industry.

Fortunately, some leaders in the industry are already working to address the need for operational education.

The National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA) is doing its part in trying to inject youth and diversity into an aging industry through its Mission 2025 campaign. Through Mission 2025, NAMMBA aims to connect over 50,000 graduates and undergraduates to careers in the mortgage industry by the year 2025.

Four million college students graduated in May and over two million of those did not have a job given the economic environment, according to J. Tony Thompson, CMB, NAMMBA founder and CEO. Thompson and NAMMBA Visionary partners, like AFR, want to let college students and recent graduates know that there are entry-level careers in servicing right now. Mission 2025 was launched to introduce, develop, and connect college talent to the mortgage industry. Now is the time to prepare for the future.

There are also independent brokers taking it upon themselves to educate the next generation of mortgage professionals. Like Jackie Dunlap, of Next Generation Home Loans. Jackie seized the opportunity, while the nation was quarantined at home, to start posting a “Processor Training” series on her own YouTube channel to generate interest in the profession. She answers basic questions like “What is it?” and “Can I do it from home?” and dives in to start explaining in detail what mortgage processing entails and why it may present a viable career opportunity.

Industry media has also begun to recognize that operational mortgage processors are indispensable to a successful organization. HousingWire is in the fifth year of its Insiders Awards program, recognizing the “operational superstars” driving the housing industry.

We also each have a responsibility to encourage the youngest in our workforce and help them determine where they will succeed, in the best position for them.

Millennials comprise roughly 40% of the employment force. Taking the time to recruit, attract, train, and nurture this unbelievably deep and talented resource should be a priority. Many millennials looking for employment may lack “real world” work experience but have a willingness to learn. An effective paid training program paired with coaching and mentoring will not only help develop new hires into reliable and educated employees, it will also help greatly in employee retention.

Every industry needs a “next gen” to challenge the status quo, bring fresh ideas and new perspectives from which an aging industry can listen, learn and grow. It is the responsibility of every owner, lender and leader to recruit and train in every aspect of our business, beyond the loan originator path. Collectively, we need to do more to educate the next gen of operations professionals to strengthen the future of our industry, and support the families relying on us.