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Lending

Mortgage hiring picks up

Sales, origination professionals remain in high demand

now hiring

As housing continues to rebound, various sectors of the market are taking a bigger unemployment hit, while others are watching hiring demand grow for the first time since the crisis.

For the remainder of the year and into 2014, a tremendous amount of demand will be felt on the production and sales side of the mortgage market, explained Steve Rennie, managing partner for Hammerhouse, a recruiting firm for the mortgage industry.

"Our customers are very purchase-oriented, so it’s trying to create awareness that they need to develop relationships with those in the market who are Realtors and builders, and less rate dependent," Rennie stated.

Hammerhouse looks for six criteria to improve the performance of both organizations and individuals through its model-match process, which includes leadership, culture, business model, operations, technology and geography.

The benefit to potential employees is the system's ability to determine the level of compatibility between the employer and job hunter.

Another area expected to see an uptick in hiring is sales.

Companies that only have five employees within the sales department may grow their teams by as much as 20 to 40 people this year, Rennie suggested.

The market also is desperately seeking loan officers and companies want someone with a track record in the market and decent loan volumes in the range of three-to-five units per month.

"Companies we work with are targeting the same person and asking themselves, 'who’s worth your time and who’s not,'" Rennie stated. "They want someone who understands the organization of a company that looks similar to theirs."

A big challenge many mortgage firms are facing is trying to find a middle-tier loan officer because they need to be willing to be more open-minded and be a part of a growing organization. The result is a better partnership in a middle market because the loan officer sees a shared value.

The power has shifted in the recruiting process from the loan officer to the company because without them it’s hard to keep stability within the business, Rennie said.

"Loan officers can’t run a company by themselves anymore in a regulated industry. There are different rules of engagement in such a heavily regulated compliance industry," the Hammerhouse managing partner pointed out.

The side of the mortgage industry that is taking the biggest hit in hiring is servicing as companies adjust to operating within thinner margins. Not to mention, falling delinquencies are killing demand for the servicing function.

In some cases, servicing companies are being sold or acquired. As a result, there’s no need to keep all of the employees once a merger is complete.

Hammerhouse only sees mid-sized servicing companies adding jobs, but even they are likely to expand by no more than one or two employees this year.

The reduction in the mortgage-servicing sector continues to be a trend, with Retreat Capital Management joining the ranks.

The firm announced Tuesday morning the impending layoff of 73 employees at its facility in North Texas. 

Rennie

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