Recruiting, Retaining, and Training – Top Tips for Mortgage Professionals and Lending Institutions


  • The recent drop in interest rates caused a boom in purchases/refis, flooding the lending industry with new loan originators, processors, and underwriters.
  • Mortgage professionals have a high turn-over rate and short average employment time compared to other industries. 
  • Finding and training new mortgage professionals is extremely expensive.
  • Lack of effective training, investment in  technology, and operational support are some of the top reasons why mortgage professionals choose to join or leave.
  • RealKey provides a digital mortgage platform and free consulting solutions to address training, process automation, and technological resource needs.

With fluctuating interest rates, mortgage lending organizations are constantly thinking about how to appeal to borrowers with changing demographics and demands. At the same time, and just as importantly, financial institutions are battling to attract and retain the best loan originators and closing teams to cater to borrowers.

The mortgage industry has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Home prices hit record highs after the 2012 crisis, there was an explosion among first time home buyers, drastic decreases in home supply, and all-time low mortgage rates. There have also been drastic changes for mortgage lending institutions catapulted by the COVID-19 crisis. Although the interest rates are currently increasing, the pandemic drove them to an all time low, overwhelming the market with new home buyers and creating a high demand for refinances. This extreme boom drove experienced and new MLOs to capitalize.  

As the lending industry is being flooded with new loan originators, processors, and underwriters, it is simultaneously undergoing an exodus. Frustrated and overworked seasoned lending teams are looking for organizations that offer better technology, higher salaries, and better commisions. The turnover rate among mortgage professionals is almost double compared to the national average, peaking at 77% right before the 2008 financial crisis. Also, the average employment time with one organization is only 2.29 years, with high-achieving loan officers leaving in less than a year. This is forcing lending institutions to scramble to train new talent and retain the seasoned ones. Why? Because hiring and training new front and back office teams is extremely expensive, costing an organization an average of 30% of annual income.

Studies conducted to understand why MLOs and closing teams churn at such high rates found the following reasons to be the most common: 

  • Lack of Education & Training – MLOs, processors, and underwriters feel they are not provided adequate training, and are expected to learn on their own through trial and error. Thus, leading to stress, frustration, burnout, and lower earnings/commissions.
  • Disorganized Workflow – Confusing and manual processes create more room for error, making the originating and closing process more challenging and longer.
  • Poor Operational Support – A lack of strong and knowledgeable processors and underwriters delays the entire process, putting MLOs in stressful situations with their clients, and not closing within projected deadlines.
  • Lack of Technology – Many front and back office teams voice they need access to technology to automate tedious and error-prone tasks, manage higher loan volumes, and close faster.

MLOs and closing teams are constantly chasing documents and playing catch-up, making them too busy to research and learn about new digitals tools. This causes them to “get stuck” in their patterns and comfort zones of using ineffective and outdated tools and resources. For other professionals, it’s pure arrogance. They think they know best and provide their customers with superior service and rates. This ignorance and lack of time to dedicate to learning about new resources can have serious consequences for mortgage teams, who continue working with outdated tools and processes, as well as customers that are not offered the best mortgage products and experience.

To address frustrations faced by lending and closing teams, RealKey came up with solutions using its innovative digital mortgage technology.

Effective & Transparent Training That Ensures Everyone Understand Their Responsibilities

RealKey’s technology and automation is a great tool to train new originators, processors, and underwriters, decreasing the learning curve and teaching them the correct way to originate and close loans from day one. By investing in digital mortgage automation tools, organizations can make onboarding faster and easier, causing less frustration and walkouts. 

Automation provides transparency and gives a 360 degree view of the process from start to finish. It not only maps out the entire process, but helps understand the “why” behind every step and transaction. In a way, it’s a “mortgage project management” tool where each team member (including borrowers and 3rd parties) is assigned to and understands their responsibilities. With every new borrower, a LO will fill out an application and upload it to RealKey’s platform. The originator and borrower(s) will then invite all the parties (such as processor, underwriter, title, attorney, etc) to the “project” outlining their responsibilities and deliverables for closing of the loan.  This way, everybody is synced and follows the correct process from day one, leading to cleaner loans, faster closing, and more earnings.

Loan originators, processors, and underwriters are a “golden triangle” that works as a cohesive team to originate and close loans. Each is responsible for equally-important parts of the loan-closing process. Misunderstanding of individual roles and making minor mistakes can drastically delay the closing and frustrate borrowers and referring real estate agents. That is why it is extremely important that everyone is well-trained and clearly understands their responsibilities and deliverables.

Invest in Automation Technology That Simplifies Jobs & Tasks

Extensive studies have shown that MLOS and closing teams want technology and automation tools to make their tasks easier, more efficient and less error prone. If a lending organization does not offer technology to streamline origination and closing processes, the front and back office teams will spend hours manually inputting the same information into different platforms. Lack of technology is one of the main reasons why many professionals decide to jump ship to more “tech-savvy” lending organizations that nowadays also use innovation as a lure to attract new talent.

Now that interest rates are increasing and the housing market is slowing down, it also creates an ideal time for mortgage professionals to re-evaluate their processes and systems in order to incorporate automation technology before the industry starts to ramp up again. Lending organizations and independent professionals can invest in RealKey’s digital tools to make the mortgage process more efficient, close more loans, faster, with less effort from start to finish.

Stay On Top Of Latest Digital Mortgage Tools

Fintech technology and tools are changing at the speed of light and it can feel like a full-time job to stay on top of new digital offerings and learn how to use them. With RealKey, mortgage teams not only get technology that enables them to streamline their processes, but also live onboarding and training, at no additional cost, to ensure they fully understand how to use and maximize it. Because RealKey technology comes “out of the box” and ready to use, without much customizations, it dramatically shortens the learning curve. The training team demonstrates how seamless the process is and continues to provide ongoing support.

As an added service, RealKey offers free consulting from the most experienced and highest producing experts in the mortgage industry who stay up-to-date and share the most effective technologies and best practices to help new and seasoned mortgage teams easily scale their business. It’s not about “selling” technology, but also recommending complementary tools that save borrowers money and help originators earn more.

No matter what the industry is, organizations are only as good and strong as their teams. Because loan officers, processors, and underwriters are a mortgage company’s most important assets, it is important to provide support with the right digital tools so that they can thrive in any market condition.

RealKey is an innovative provider of digital mortgage technologies that fills gaps (LOSs, POSs, and AUSs) in order to streamline the mortgage process. The RealKey platform provides automated and intelligent collection of documents, review of data, and secure communications among all parties involved. These combined capabilities shorten the loan processing cycle by roughly 50%, giving MLOs time to close more loans and grow their business. RealKey’s software works seamlessly with existing point of sale and loan origination systems to bring an end-to-end, fully digital mortgage processing experience to lenders, brokers and their clients.  

Schedule a Demo today to learn how RealKey can help train new-hires, retain seasoned professionals, and automate the most difficult loan-closing processes.