Lori Brewer LBA Ware Road Show

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual Human Resources Symposium in Washington, D.C., is an intimate gathering of mortgage executives who share a common interest in compensation and HR trends and practices. In my experience, small events like this one give attendees license to be uncommonly forthcoming about the operational challenges they’re facing. This, in turn, makes for a more grounded and fruitful exploration of the problems plaguing our industry and their potential solutions.

It’s against this backdrop that I had the privilege of addressing attendees as part of a panel session on the topic of loan originator motivation. The panel also included On Q Financial CFO Scott Frommert and PrimeLending SVP of Compensation Tracy Key. On Q is an independent mortgage banker, whereas PrimeLending is backed by a depository bank (although they operate like an IMB); I think this gave us a nice range of perspectives.

After “setting the table” by taking a hard look at the realities of margin compression and the resulting compensation arms race, we tackled a sticky question that is on many lenders’ minds: how do you motivate your top performers to stick around and not jump ship to your nearest competitor?

The answer starts with identifying who your top performers really are — and who you can safely let go. The next step is understanding what incentivizes mortgage company employees. Certainly, competitive compensation and a stable, well-funded institution are critical when it comes to recruiting and retaining top producers. But top performers are also motivated by things like efficiency metrics (such as days to close), support systems, technology, products and pricing, and company culture.

In short, lenders need to evaluate what they bring to the table that other competitors can’t easily match. It’s by tapping into these incentives that companies gain competitive advantage, win the talent war and raise their bottom line.

I left the HR Symposium feeling fortunate that I could share some of LBA Ware’s hard-earned expertise. Moreover, feedback from the audience validated just how keenly LBA Ware’s data-driven approach to LO compensation is needed in today’s market. It’s a good thing, too — because I was taking my show on the road!

Over the course of the next week, I found myself addressing mortgage audiences again and again. At HousingWire’s inaugural engage.marketing conference in Dallas, I joined Mortgage Cadence VP of Marketing Pamela Hermann and Cultural Outreach Digital Marketing Strategist Sarah Vita for a panel called “Strategies for Attracting and Keeping Top Talent.”

From Dallas, it was on to Las Vegas for Source Media’s third annual Digital Mortgage conference, where I met one-on-one with a dozen companies all struggling to hang on to top performers. I even took time out from the conference to dial in as the featured guest on David Lykken’s weekly radio show, where the same subject surfaced again (click here for an audio snippet).

Retaining top performers is a serious problem for mortgage bankers from coast to coast — but it’s also a solvable problem, and the solution lies at the intersection of compensation and data analysis. To learn more, catch me at the next stop in my roadshow: MBA Annual.