Help Wanted … But Possibly Unaware

Where are the young professionals in the mortgage industry?

As organizations across industries evolve to meet the demands of a new marketplace – a marketplace in which nothing is left untouched by the pandemic – recent college graduates and young professionals are struggling to figure out how they fit in this new landscape. One industry that continues to show strength in hiring, retention and advancement opportunities is the housing financing industry. Mortgage banking is, in fact, a field poised for continued success and growth – an attractive career path for some who may never have considered it.

One common misconception about the mortgage industry is that the most successful candidates must have a degree or background in finance. “The key things we look for when hiring at entry level is a competitive spirit, desire to learn and a drive to hit benchmarks,” says Michael Wade, a 30-year veteran of the mortgage industry and Partner with Newbold.

The reality is that graduates and young professionals with a variety of education and experiences often make excellent employees in mortgage banking. “We could easily hire someone with a journalism degree who conveys a sharp, analytical mind and a desire to learn and grow,” Wade says “Within Newbold, we have staff who have biology degrees, some who majored in political science and some who went to technical school. The point is, we see potential in young professionals who really want to be part of a fast-growing industry with great earning potential and a desire to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Doing Good While Doing Work

Making a difference tops the list for millennials, in particular, in the job market. Making that connection between “changing lives” and mortgage banking may sound like a leap. (Grand Canyon, anyone?) But it’s difficult to think of a more impactful time than when you are sitting across from a mortgage professional, pen in hand, ready to sign for your first home. So, yeah, the opportunity to change a life is not a stretch. And, because the age of homebuyers is trending younger as interest rates continue at the lowest they’ve been in years, these borrowers want to be looking back across the table at someone with whom they can relate.

So how do we get more young professionals to enter the mortgage industry? We bust the myths.

Myths of Mortgage Banking as a J – O – B

A degree in finance or business is required. No, it is not. What is needed is a competitive spirit, a will to win, a desire to make connections and a thirst for learning. Someone with these attributes who works hard will earn well. Future employees in the mortgage industry may include history majors, a college volleyball player or a young professional with a stellar record in auto sales. Leaning into a career in mortgage finance may not be something these individuals have considered. They need to think again. Companies invest in training – paying well while learning the job – and continue to invest in the employee’s skillset over time.

Mortgage bankers have a bad reputation. One of the positive outcomes of the 2008 recession was the resulting regulation and boost in financial reform. With the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the government ensured against a financial crisis of that magnitude occurring again. Today’s mortgage finance professionals are part of the solution – not the problem – when it comes to helping consumers manage their debt intelligently and safely.

It takes too long to rise up in the industry. The mortgage industry is as wide as it is deep. There are as many job types as there are personalities. Underwriter, loan processer, financial analyst, research associate, market analyst. And as many fields within the industry as there are positions: loan servicing, risk management, public policy, accounting, compliance, sales, capital markets, and let’s not forget technology. The mortgage industry has woefully underinvested in technology in the past, but that’s changing and young technologists are needed. What does this mean for new hires and young professionals? Opportunity! Opportunity to learn, to advance and to excel.

The industry is unstable. While many industries are currently struggling to stay afloat, mortgage finance is going strong. With expected low interest rates continuing, the mortgage market is predicted to remain strong for years to come. With an increase in homebuilding, sizable demand from young adults choosing to buy over renting, and families sizing up (in many cases way up), the future of mortgage finance is strong.

It’s Not Just About the Money

Strong earning potential in the field may be a factor in attracting the bright, young talent mortgage banking is missing right now. But seasoned hiring professionals need to look beyond salary packages when it comes to bringing more recent college grads into the industry. Quality of life, the ability to impact others in a positive way and advancement opportunities all matter to our young workforce. Play those benefits up when recruiting, and dispel the myths of working within mortgage finance.

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