Joe Camerieri of Mortgage Cadence: 3 Strategies for a Successful Spring Buying Season
Joe Camerieri is Executive Vice President and Client Account Management Executive with Mortgage Cadence, Denver. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we near the end of the first quarter, 2023 is beginning to come into focus. For many, the decreased volume combined with high fixed overhead costs and elevated staffing levels is making this an uncomfortable time. How these lenders perform during the spring buying season will determine whether they stay in the business, sell out or shut down.
But not all lenders are in the same boat. While market conditions may impact every player in the space and all lenders have access to the same basic tactics, strategies will differ.
Lenders can buy leads, woo business referral sources, recruit experienced LOs who have an existing book of business, or go back into their past customer databases in search of new business. Some lenders can buy new borrowers already in a pipeline through an M&A event.
But these are all tactics. What will set winners apart from the rest is the strategy they choose and how they apply these and other tactics to achieve their goals. Settling on the right strategy for making the most of the upcoming spring homebuying season will make or break an institution’s mortgage lending business.
Here are three strategies that lenders can choose from as they prepare to enter the fray and compete for new home buyers during the 2023 spring home buying season.
Strategy 1: Focus on a borrower class
Every borrower is different, but in at least one way, they are exactly the same: none of them want a mortgage. They may want a lower monthly payment or a new home, but they are not likely to be excited about taking out a new loan.
Of all the parties to a real estate transaction, whether it be purchase, refi, second lien, government-insured, etc., the mortgage is a necessary evil. Real estate agents would prefer to sell homes for cash and even insurance agents would rather get their premiums in one lump sum rather than monthly payments.
With a strategic focus, the lender can put more resources into pursuing new business. One of the easiest ways to segment the lender’s market is by loan requirements. Deciding whether to focus on Jumbo borrowers or FHA borrowers will tell the lender exactly where to look for new business.
Strategy 2: Focus on a product class
While it may sound similar, a product-focused strategy is all about branding the lender as an expert for a given class of loan products. We see this fairly often with VA lenders and reverse mortgage lenders, but it can work for any loan product.
While broadening the lender’s product menu can be an effective way to cast a larger net for new mortgage business, there will be many lenders using this strategy in the current market.
In a tightening market, the lender can achieve a strategic edge by becoming known as the expert for a certain loan program.
Strategy 3: Focus on a class of business referral partner
In a purchase money market, business referral partners are very important. In a down market where loan volumes have fallen, these partners become even more important.
Many lenders are now working to build strong relationships with real estate agents in the hope of winning more business this spring. And that’s the problem. The good agents are getting waves of connection requests. Agents, however, are only one source of referrals. One strategy some lenders will employ will be to focus on other potential partners.
Financial planners, CPAs and other trusted financial advisors can become good referral sources to the lender who cultivates these relationships. The key to success here, regardless of the partner the lender chooses, is to make certain that the partner looks good in the eyes of the customers they refer.
How technology empowers the lender’s strategy
Regardless of the strategy employed, good technology will be required to put it into action. Loan origination systems that are capable of supporting workflows for specific borrower or loan product types make it easier for lenders to chart their own course to success.
Regardless of the approach a lender takes to the market, borrower satisfaction will remain a high priority. Satisfied borrowers will make any of the approaches outlined in this article more successful.
Increasingly, satisfaction is coming down to how much information is shared with the borrower, when and via which medium. It’s all about convenience and ease for the consumer, who is now seeking friction free transactions via their mobile devices.
In a market that offers high loan volumes with enough business for all lenders, taking a broad approach to the market will allow a lender to maximize on the opportunity. But when the market turns, lenders who break from the rest by choosing a strategy that allows them to focus their efforts are more likely to be successful.
(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at email@example.com; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.)