Should you work with an individual Loan Officer or a Loan Officer team? This discussion will stir up some controversy. I will likely get some angry comments as well as some supportive comments. Keep it classy, and let’s discuss!
This is an age old question that many of us do not even know exists. This lack of awareness is because many consumers start out dealing with an individual but end up being handed off to a team member. The hand-off to a team member is so smooth many consumers do not even realize they are no longer being helped by the individual they were referred to.
Use a Solo Provider or Team?
I discussed this years ago related to choosing a realtor or a realtor team. Ultimately the answer may be that this question depends on your own level of knowledge and need for hand holding. Personally, even if I have a good command of the subject matter, if I am seeking a vendor to help me with something, I prefer to be helped by the principal. I want no issues, no open questions, no oversights, and zero problems.
I routinely see online discussions, marketing, TikTok videos and Facebook posts from loan officers bragging about how many loans “they” do each year. They accept awards as if it is their own personal loan production. They act as if they personally helped each individual borrower. I can tell by the level of production that it would be impossible for one loan officer to serve such a high number of clients personally. In fact, many “top producing” loan officers have an initial phone call/video call/meeting, and then they do what is called a “warm hand-off” to a team member. Then the team handles the client from there. In some cases, loan officers that do high volume never talk to the client at all. Fair or foul?
What Do I Do?
In full disclosure, I act alone as a solo mortgage loan officer. My opinion should obviously be considered biased. I help each borrower, talk to each borrower, and deal with the client from start to finish. I do have a loan officer assistant who is excellent, but they only handle the administrative tasks leaving me time to interact with the client, alone.
- I handle your pre-approval
- I answer your questions
- I handle the call with the listing agent when you make an offer to discuss your qualifications
- I send you rate quotes and estimates
- I explain the fees on the loan estimate
- I strategize with you
- I discuss the markets for mortgage rates and real estate
- I follow up after closing, to help you refinance or drop your PMI, or help you with another mortgage
- I am your one point of contact
Downsides Of A Team
Is all that valuable to the average mortgage consumer? Or is all of that overrated? Can a team of lesser talent support all these functions just as well, and the lead mortgage person should mostly be tasked with marketing and team management, and not the client interactions?
I feel like clients choose a service provider for the education, responsiveness, service, experience, and performance of the provider. This is especially so for something as important as financing the most expensive thing that most of us will buy like real estate. I do not feel like consumers choose a service provider based on their team. I confess I could be wrong, which is why I am writing this and soliciting opinions.
A team can’t be full of all stars. It is not possible to find and staff 100% all-star talent, and when you find star talent it is not possible to keep a team staffed with such excellence. Excellent talent on a team invariably always moves on to do their own thing.
Don’t you want the A+ talent to be the person always consulting with you? Is it fair to get attracted to a mortgage star’s marketing, have an initial call, and then get handed off to a team that does the bulk of the work that is full of talent to varying degrees, but none of which are stars?
Mortgage team loan officers are excellent team managers, and that is a talent. But does it make them an excellent mortgage loan officer? Does it mean their team is best suited to serve you? What will your access be to the lead loan officer? I can already hear high producing loan officers saying, “My clients can call me whenever they want, and I will respond.” And that may be the case, but that’s not what a team is designed for. A team is designed to deflect and defer client interactions to other people who are not the lead mortgage loan officer.
However, can a team allow a mortgage loan officer the freedom to do things that an individual loan officer cannot? Maybe a team has better technology? Maybe a team is better able to be more responsive to the consumer’s inquiries? I would argue I am just as efficient and responsive as a team by using various software, my website, calendar blocking, text messaging, automations, and other technology. Just look at my Yelp reviews that mention the word “responsive” as proof.
What do you think at this point, should you work with an individual Loan Officer or a Loan Officer team? In the end, be aware of who will primarily be helping you. Choose the best setup for you whether you choose a solo provider or a team, and hold everyone accountable.
Please comment and offer your own experiences with teams versus individual service providers, and comment with your own opinion on this topic.