Issues Facing Originators

The Five Habits of Successful Loan Originators

Written by Jim Jumpe

How can mortgage loan originators finish 2020 strong and begin 2021 with substantial momentum? One time-tested strategy is to emulate a successful LO’s daily habits.

In today’s ever-changing housing market, one clear path to success is to emulate the actions of veteran mortgage loan originators with a long record of achievement.

After sifting through multiple books and scores of articles and blogs on this subject in a search for consensus, I think it’s clear the experts often agree on the five habits that help many veteran LOs succeed:

  1. Measure Progress: You may already have an Excel spreadsheet showing how many deals you’re closing each month, but does it also show your top referral sources? Do you know how many of your borrowers are first-time buyers vs. relo customers from outside your region? Major League Baseball obsessively charts every possible statistic because players know you have to measure performance to improve it. In the 2016 book The Millionaire Loan Officer, author Scott Hudspeth takes the idea of measuring progress a step further by asking readers, “Do you know what your monthly expenses are so that you know how many loans you need to close?” LOs often see inconsistent results from month to month, according to an industry blog by Empower Funnels, a lead generation system provider. “The only way to reliably break the cycle of ebb and flow … is to track everything you can and develop systems, processes and habits around the activities that consistently yield positive results.”
  1. Work Your Sphere of Influence (SOI): Your friends, neighbors, relatives and other real-life connections are your best source for business and referrals. According to the BNTouch Mortgage Blog, family, friends and close acquaintances often represent the easiest-to-close prospects and those deals usually generate the most productive referrals. In many cases, LOs are uneasy about talking about the expertise they can offer friends. Clearly there’s a balance that needs to be struck between a hard-sell approach and simply letting friends know you would love to help them with a mortgage, a refi or simply advice. These days, Facebook and Instagram make it easy for you to demonstrate your professional acumen by posting on-point comments when changes occur in your local market or in the overall housing economy. According to The Mortgage Loan Officer Success Guide (2016,, you can also expand your sphere of influence by communicating regularly with recent customers. As an example, author Michael Zuren recommends sending cards to customers to mark their birthdays or the anniversary date of their homes’ purchase.
  2. Find Your Niche: Become an expert in your market, advises The Mortgage Loan Officer Success Guide. The book states that a loan officer’s niche could be veterans, property investors or first-time homebuyers.  “Being a niche lender will help you become an expert in your market. Real estate agents … will think of you first when (that) particular mortgage type is needed,” according to Zuren. “Identify your ideal client … Now identify how you can reach your audience … such as builders, contractors, insurance agents, CPAs or non-profit organizations.”
  3. Over-Communicate: In 10 Habits of Highly Successful Loan Originators (2016, author Angelo Christian writes, “Communication is the number one thing you must do to make the sale,” and you must “continue to follow up until they move into the new home.” After the sale, The Millionaire Loan Officer suggests calling former customers three or five times a year to stay in touch — and ask for referrals.
  4. Continuous Learning: According to the BNTouch blog, “serious mortgage experts are constantly expanding their knowledge and improving their skills. Boost your understanding of the finance world and economy, of taxes, appraisals and alternative lending.” Arch MI offers a comprehensive set of complimentary training resources, including monthly webinars on topics ranging from analyzing appraisals to building your business using webinars, Facebook Live events and YouTube. You can also hear from the housing industry’s top thought leaders with Arch MI’s new PolicyCast video podcast. Recent guests include former Fannie Mae CEO Don Layton, Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford and former National Economic Council adviser Jim Parrott.

Share your own success strategies with fellow LOs in a future update to this blog. Send us an email to share the habits that have contributed to your success while helping your customers achieve homeownership.

About the author

Jim Jumpe

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
As Chief Marketing Officer, Jim Jumpe oversees a long-term strategy to steward the Arch MI brand, help drive sales through effective customer communication, events, advertising and marketing collateral, and develop and execute innovative marketing strategies.