Skilled mortgage broking operations staff are in high demand. And it’s no surprise, given how much work goes into processing a home loan these days. With lenders requiring more documentation than ever before, the average brokerage’s workload has increased significantly
A great operational team can make or break a brokerage, but it can be tough to know where to start when hiring a support role like this. What ‘level’ of loan processor do you need? How will your recruit’s skills impact the business? And how do these types of roles typically develop?
We work with lots of mortgage brokerages to fill this crucial skills gap, and we know how important it is to make the right decisions to achieve success in the long run.
First, get clear on the distinct ‘types’ of loan processor roles and what to look for in candidates.
Three types of operations roles in a mortgage brokerage
Brokerages with well established systems and confident, capable brokers often benefit from the typical loan processor type role. Loan processors contribute basic admin skills to keep the brokerage running like a well oiled machine.
These roles can be more affordable than more advanced operations roles, however still provide immense value to a busy brokerage. Expect to invest $65–$70K + Superannuation for a strong candidate with good experience.
Key skills required for a loan processor include:
- Data entry
- Document management
- Customer service and communication.
Great loan processors are organised and able to drive loans from submission to settlement, while keeping track of customer notes. They’ll also be able to perform post-settlement customer service, client maintenance, repricing and more.
Look for a loan processor with a year or two of experience up their sleeve at a minimum, and don’t write off people from a banking background, as they’ll have a good understanding of the industry.
The best candidates for a role like this possess strong attention to detail, great verbal and written communication skills, a knack for customer service, effective time management skills and general admin proficiency. Psychometric testing may help you identify these skills in candidates.
For a slightly higher investment of around $70–$75K + Superannuation, you can expect to hire a candidate with a bit more capability. These types of roles tend to be called ‘loan packagers’.
The key difference is that loan packagers get involved in the loan process a little earlier on. They’ll typically be involved in more pre-submission tasks including chasing supporting documents, NCCP documents, signed applications, packaging up a customer’s application and lodging it (or in some cases handing it to a loan processor for lodgement).
Unlike a loan processor, a loan packager will be able to take recommendations from the mortgage broker or broker analyst, scrutinise the documents against the lender policy and finalise the loan structure. They’ll then manage lodgement or pass onto a loan processor to do this.
Key skills required for a loan packager role include:
- General admin
- Client interaction
- High attention to detail for scrutinising documents
- Time management
- High level of organisation.
Look for individuals who appear proactive, as they’ll be able to add value by identifying potential issues before they arise. Loan packagers of this level may have about 2 years of industry experience, and could again have worked in a bank.
Interestingly, we’ve noticed a surge in operations roles that fall more into the realm of the ‘broker analyst’ recently. These positions perform functions closer to what mortgage brokers do.
They’re likely to be involved at the beginning of client interactions, and actually play a role in working out what strategy and types of products clients need. They’ll be heavily involved in calculating serviceability and loan structure (lots of number crunching!), as well as communicating this with the client. They’ll also take the role of the policy and product expert, conducting research on the best recommendations for each customer. From there, they may also package and lodge applications, or hand that part of the process over to another packager or processor.
Key skills and abilities for broker analysts include:
- Service calculations
- Numeracy (they have to be very good with numbers)
- Loan strategy
- Problem solving
- A deep knowledge of product options.
If you’re looking for support like this, you may even search for mortgage brokers who don’t enjoy business development. The key is finding someone who is good with numbers, organised and very ‘switched on’, with more substantial experience with the loan process.
While a bit more of an investment – roles typically being advertised anywhere from $75–$90K + Superannuation – these candidates will typically have upwards of 2–4 years’ experience and have a lot to offer a growing brokerage.
How operations roles typically evolve
Take some time to think about what level of experience and capability you require in your own brokerage. While you should take into account what level of remuneration you can afford to offer, you’ll also need to consider what progression opportunities you may be able to provide for a good candidate.
Loan processors don’t typically need formal qualifications, however if a candidate has their sights set on becoming a mortgage broker, you could offer to support them in obtaining a Cert IV in Mortgage Broking. They may be able to work their way up into a broker analyst position if they don’t want to specifically be a mortgage broker, but want to gain skills and be more involved in loan strategy.
You can also assist an operations team member in developing their admin and operations skills as your business grows. Loan processors could advance into Business Manager positions, taking on more leadership and overseeing staff and operations. Over time, they could become a very valuable asset in keeping the brokerage operating effectively.
If you’re looking to fill an operations role in your business, consider what level of candidate would benefit you most. We’re always willing to advise and support you in your business’ growth and would love to offer a free business consultation. We also have access to an extensive network of skilled mortgage broking professionals, and would be happy to connect you with someone of the right calibre and culture fit. Get in touch to get started with us!