The role of the Loan Officer is vital to the health of our economy. The demand for loans as well as the need to fulfill the American Dream of homeownership has never diminished. However, when you look around at your fellow peers, can you not help but notice the consistent age range of the sales division? The average age of Loan Officers in the United States is 42.3 years old for men, and 43.2 years old for women.
SO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN LOAN OFFICERS RETIRE?
This is the big question. As many mortgage companies stray away from hiring a millennial with no experience, there is an obvious gap that is destined to occur in the industry.
It’s true, experience does come with time, but who are you to withhold experience? If you never give the incoming generation the opportunity to learn, you are only setting yourself up for failure; we all are.
As a millennial working in the mortgage industry, I can vouch for this apparent gap. Many Loan Officers are extremely talented and still withhold values that the millennial generation will never grasp.
What stands out about the mortgage industry is the strength of relationships many Loan Officers have with their business partners and customers—never missing the opportunity to meet someone face to face. This sociable trait is nearly non-existent today as technology has provided many with the ability to speak “face to face” via web conferences.
These values are not qualifications or something that can be enforced, but with the right guidance, the mortgage industry will not lose its original essence but will rather progress with the ever-changing landscape. Have you watched the 2015 drama The Intern starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro?
Anne Hathaway’s character Jules, with a few drinks in her, comments on how men have lost something in one generation of evolution. She says to the male bar audience, “Look and learn, boys, because this is what cool is...” then back to Robert De Niro, “How in one generation have men gone from guys like Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford to...?” (gesturing to the crowd).
OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH
So, what I’m getting at here is that, this is the perfect opportunity for Mortgage Professionals to shape the future of the entire mortgage industry. By simply acting as a mentor to the millennials while adopting their technological ways, there is no reason as to why mortgage companies will not be able to compete.
The reality is, if the “old regime” wishes to maintain its power and protocol, they must begin teaching their predecessors, passing along their values and wisdom. This way, they can develop a relationship between generations, ease communication, and thus ensure the efficient transference of knowledge—being present along the way to catch and address any failures or shortcomings. If they refuse to do so, the values will retire along with them.
Millennials get a bad rap for being “entitled,” however, what older generations fail to recognize is our eagerness to embrace the world before us.
We want to know that our employer not only cares about us, but cares about those around us. We go to school to learn and ultimately make a difference in whatever we choose to pursue.
If we stop to analyze the new rising market, not only for employees but for potential customers, we will see that the amount of time and effort we invest in truly understanding and embracing these incoming generations, is directly correlated to our success as a company in this ever-changing landscape we call the mortgage industry.
(To continue the metaphor... if Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford had raised the younger generation, rather than taking a backseat and letting them fend for themselves, the mortgage industry would be left in good hands.)