Survey: ‘Talent’ Biggest Challenge for Mortgage Staffing

An annual survey of mortgage leaders showed finding qualified talent leadership development rank highest in staffing challenges for 2017.

Rick Glass Executive Search, Sacramento, Calif., said the survey of C-level executives ( showed four key priorities to meet the needs of a rising rate environment:

–Talent acquisition
–Leadership development
–Employee retention
–Mergers and acquisitions leadership experience

“It is too simplistic to say they are concerned about loan volume,” Glass said. “Of course they are. But to achieve and sustain growth, profitability and market share, executives are all-too aware that they must have the right people in place to lead their origination and operations teams. This is where the most meaningful challenges are to be found.”

Glass said many mortgage bankers expect to grow their companies through acquisition as the industry continues to consolidate, noting some smaller and mid-sized platforms with purchase lending penetration are being squeezed by a lack of cash for expansion and are at a premium today, particularly among non-bank mortgage lenders.

“Finding top field sales talent and developing the leaders to manage them while ensuring optimal integration with acquirers will be primary concerns, along with retaining the most valued team members,” Glass said “It is a tricky time. Companies will be competing for the best origination talent and that means they must be able to merchandise and deliver a meaningful value proposition while finding the right leadership to attract, manage and retain those high performers.”

Another trait executives reported was missing from their leadership teams was “performance accountability,” with 78 percent of respondents expressing concerns over the way their leaders accepted and embraced responsibility for their teams’ performance results.

“This would seem to indicate a cultural resistance from using traditional business metrics to identify performance success,” Glass said. “C-level executives like leaders who seize opportunities, accept responsibility, drill down to root cause analysis and articulate solutions supported by data and analytics and engage participation necessary to ensure results. This well-rounded ‘operator’ has a broader reach into multiple disciplines and is prepared to do everything possible to meet the objectives of the greater good. It indicates a prime recruiting challenge for senior leadership in our industry.”

When asked about the most common items in which survey respondents plan to invest over the course of the year, 60 percent indicated that Millennial talent acquisition was among their highest priorities. Glass said to recruit Millennials effectively, executives need leaders who can identify the top Millennial prospects and relate to them in a way that brings out their best. “Recruiting and leading them are not necessarily as intuitive as in the past,” he said. “They require a careful approach and new thinking on the part of management.”