On Deeper Thoughts and the MBA Annual in Austin – November 20th

Thoughts:
Hopefully, you’ve become a fan of LodeStar Reports, our weekly look at the mortgage and real estate industry. If you’re still with us, you’ll love what we’re about to do next. We’re going to be bulking up our weekly edition with more original content, more information you can use and, eventually, maybe even a chance to participate in the discussion and get in a word about your business, too.

In that spirit, I’m pleased to introduce “Deeper Thoughts.” They’re probably no deeper than the thoughts you might have, but if you’re a fan of Saturday Night Live in the 80s and 90s, you’ll know that Jack Handy has the rights to “Deep Thoughts.” Either way, the hope is that we’re discussing what’s on your mind and the minds of others in the mortgage industry. The plan is to discuss the things we’d talk about at a conference or before the start of a meeting. If you like what you see (even if you don’t!), please jump in. Contact me at jpaolino@lssoftwaresolutions.com Let me know what we can talk about or do better, any feedback is encouraged.

A few words about the MBA Annual:
With that, I thought I’d let you know what I saw at the MBA Annual in Austin in late October. If you weren’t there, you missed a good one. The energy was palpable, and the mood was guardedly optimistic. The exhibit hall was quite different from years past in that there were a ton of new players—many tech-oriented—manning the booths, roaming the halls or hitting the cocktail circuit. Speaking of cocktail circuit, the turnout for Freedom Mortgage’s Revivalists concert was outstanding. Great show! Similarly, I saw a lot of new faces and company names attached to the lanyards in and about the events. The folks I talked to were, as always, looking ahead to new sales opportunities and market trends: “How long with this re-fi spike last? How many of us are ready to return to the purchase market we saw dominate through much of 2018? Will there be a recession—and will it really matter to the mortgage and housing market?”

I also had the honor of participating with a distinguished roundtable at the MPact Event: Millennials in Mortgage. I was joined by fellow Millennials Travis Kniffen of Roostify, Mary Nguyen of CMG Financial, and Candace Russell of Carrington Mortgage Services. It was a treat to share our experiences as ”industry youngsters” Let’s be honest. We work in an industry of generally more…um…experienced people. It’s not easy to break into the mortgage business with a fresh face. In fact, Travis explained that he entered the game with a baby-face anyway, so he felt compelled to grow a beard even before it was trendy! (I’ve been shading toward male pattern baldness myself since quite a young age, so I’ve tried my hardest to make that an asset!).

Candace told us about her first sales trip as a young professional in her early twenties. At the time, she hadn’t had enough time to establish an extensive credit history personally, so her company-issued credit card had a limit that wouldn’t even accommodate a couple nights in a hotel room for a sales trip. Knowing looks as well as a few sympathetic chuckles came from the audience as she told the tale of having to have her boss pay for her room on his personal credit card after having hers declined upon checkout.
Mary spoke about how finding good mentors has been key to her success in the industry. With the vast about of experience in this industry, finding professionals able to help guide your career can be incredibly helpful and rewarding for both parties.

These stories serve as a great reminder, however, that we’re not always as focused on mentoring our younger colleagues as we should be. Many of our policies, ideas about productivity and so forth were designed for and by Baby Boomers. We’re not always, as an industry, receptive to the thought that newer generations may do some things differently. As a result, we often miss out on the benefit of taking a multi-generational approach. We’ve all heard the grumbling about Millennials and their perceived work habits, loyalty and willingness to “pay their dues.” At the same time , there is no denying their growing importance as the largest segment of homebuyers. Companies in this industry often struggle to sell to millennials or fail to benefit from their strengths in our own workplaces. It was a real pleasure sharing the stage with Candace, Mary and Travis, and I hope we’ll get a chance in the future to continue that conversation.

Until Next Week,

Jim

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