Lending Perspectives: 5 Habits of Top-Producing Loan Officers

happy couple shakes hands with loan officer after securing a mortgage for new home
By Ali Nassirian

3 minutes

Insights from a credit union VP/consumer and home lending

In the competitive world of lending, becoming a top-producing loan officer requires more than just originating new loans and taking applications. It demands a combination of skills, strategies and habits that elevate member service and drive success. Here are five key habits I’ve learned as VP/consumer & home lending at Travis Credit Union that set top-performing loan officers apart.

1. They Are More of a Mortgage Advisor Than a Loan Officer.

Successful loan officers transcend the traditional role of a mere transactional intermediary. They are trusted advisors who become so by prioritizing members’ long-term financial goals above all else. At the core of their business is a member-centric approach that builds trust and delivers exceptional service—they give value back to the member.

Great advisors are continuously educating themselves to stay abreast of industry trends and regulations. In a constantly evolving industry, a great loan officer invests time in understanding financial principles and mortgage products so they can best inform and guide members. By being dedicated to continuous improvement, they become go-to resources, fostering lasting relationships built on trust.

2. They Have Excellent Communication Skills.

Effective communication (both verbal and written) is not just a given; it’s a critical pillar of success for loan officers. Surprises are inevitable in the loan process, and it’s the loan officer’s responsibility to successfully guide members through potential hurdles. Imagine the stress of being a first-time home-buyer. If loan officers are not proactively communicating with members throughout this process, helping them understand every step, sharing market knowledge and getting them the best mortgage rate products, they could find someone else. Top performing loan officers communicate proactively and transparently, keeping members informed at every juncture. They anticipate issues, address concerns and provide clear explanations of complex concepts, ensuring that members are fully engaged and empowered throughout the transaction. Real estate agents do a good job advising on these large purchases as well, but loan officers have to take the lead when it comes to the loan advice.

3. They Are Organized and Responsive.

Organizational skills and responsiveness are non-negotiable traits for successful loan officers. Their meticulous attention to detail ensures accuracy and efficiency in their work. It helps them communicate with clarity and precision.

Moreover, top-performing loan officers embrace technology to streamline their processes and enhance communication. They leverage digital tools to stay organized, responsive and competitive in today’s fast-paced lending landscape.

4. They Have High Emotional Intelligence and Critical-Thinking Skills.

Navigating the emotional highs and lows of the lending process requires a blend of high emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills. Understanding the member’s emotional state and anticipating potential issues are paramount. Top-producing loan officers demonstrate empathy, problem-solving abilities and ethical conduct in every interaction. Take for example, a complex loan scenario with either multiple buyers or multiple properties involved. A smart loan officer will stay in front of this scenario with many discovery questions up front and make sure to connect with all parties involved while doing quite a bit of due diligence on the properties to ensure no issues down the road. A great loan officer anticipates and addresses challenges before they arise, minimizing surprises and building trust with members through integrity and transparency.

5. They Are Goal-Oriented and Maintain Discipline.

Successful loan officers are goal-oriented and disciplined in their approach. They set clear objectives, establish routines and persistently pursue excellence in their work. They always know their goals and understand how each daily effort contributes to those goals. They map that out week over week to make sure their calendar is full of the correct activities that will achieve or succeed in hitting their goals. Top producers understand that you can’t be everything to everyone. Great loan officers maintain a laser focus on their niche markets, leveraging their expertise to deliver superior service and results. They measure their success rigorously, holding themselves accountable to their goals and continuously striving for improvement.

These habits of top-producing loan officers extend far beyond mere technical proficiency. They embody a holistic approach to member service characterized by expertise, communication skills, organization, EQ and goal orientation. By embracing these habits, loan officers can elevate their performance, build lasting relationships and achieve success in today’s competitive lending landscape.

Ali Nassirian is VP/consumer & home lending at $4.8 billion Travis Credit Union, Vacaville, California.

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