Per tradition, LLL wrapped up its season by sitting down with LodeStar Co-Founders Jim Paolino and David Spektor to reflect on the company’s growth over the last several months. And of course, we checked in on Dave’s inextinguishable dream to purchase a t-shirt cannon.
As a company, we’ve slowly progressed forward. As the market has contracted in 2022, we’ve seen that affect us all. And yet we’ve grown as a company and offset lots of contraction.
As we prep over the summer for the September kickoff of LodeStar Lending Leaders season 3, Jim predicts lots of internal focus. It’s time to really practice what we preach with regard to the power of automation and systems. We need to foster growth, but without swelling our operations budget. We’re also going to keep focusing on not succumbing to the cyclical nature of the industry. That means no layoffs per market contraction, as we’ve seen with the Better and Rocket Mortgages of the world.
6 months from now, Dave expects slow growth. If you want to survive as a constantly growing company that doesn’t lay people off, slow growth and consistency need to be your backbone.
LodeStar has done well to focus on being closing cost experts. Not all diversification is good, Jim and Dave have found. Sometimes you’re better off being the best at one thing, so invest in expertise. Say no to things that don’t fit that bill and spread you too thin. That’s what’s worked for LodeStar.
How does a product like us, or another specialist in the market, benefit from focusing on one thing, instead of trying to be all things to all people?
As a small company that sticks to its guns re: fee expertise, LodeStar is nimble enough to offer clients the customizations and configurations they ask for. Large competitors struggle to match us in terms of tailoring their service to the individual client. We can do that because our focus is sharp and our crew is lean.
Jim adds that we’re getting better out sniffing out projects that aren’t a good fit.
Lenders are looking at how to automate their services amid layoffs. How are we leveraging automation?
Any time a person has to do something multiple times, especially Dave likes to ask, “How can we make a tool to do this?” or “How can we make clients do this themselves?” That lets Customer Success focus on giving their best to every ticket, it eliminates wait time, and it winds up better for both sides of the customer service transaction.
Many of our clients have been hit hard by the death of the refi boom. On the other hand, some clients never went all in on refis, because they knew it wouldn’t last forever. If you don’t establish a dependency, you aren’t hit as hard when refis dry up.
Dave’s dream of a LodeStar t-shirt cannon lives on. Perhaps we are no closer to actualizing that dream, but enthusiasm has hardly waned. The dream lives on. Soon, perhaps. Soon.
Thanks so much for being tuning in to LodeStar Lending Leaders! We can’t wait to resume our conversations about the mortgage industry and related topics when season 3 begins in September 2022. In the meantime, tune in to the Lending Leaders Summer Session: Between Two Palms, which kicks off next week, June 2nd!
Read our CEO Jim Paolino’s Deeper Thoughts and get the latest mortgage industry news.