BMO Harris Bank is getting rid of most of its customer-facing mortgage loan officers.
According to a report from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Paul Gores, the Chicago-based bank is going to put its energy behind its centralized mortgage call center and minimize its face-to-face LO presence in response to changing customer behavior.
“Things evolve, and we have to change with the times and with our customers’ wants and needs,” BMO Harris spokesman Patrick O’Herlihy told the Sentinel.
The bank is not saying how many people have lost their jobs in the move, but a document from sent to the Sentinel by a laid-off employee of BMO Harris indicates that almost 170 positions are disappearing as a result of the move.
BMO Harris is confident in its decision, saying that in the end, it will benefit customers.
“From our perspective, there’s some benefits for the consumer. You’re going to get immediate availability of a mortgage banker, and that wasn’t always the case in the past. You might go in, and a mortgage banker might be traveling, and you might not get them right away. Now you’re going to get them immediately,” O’Herlihy said.
“You get quicker responsiveness and turnaround. “There will be more expertise under one roof. We’ll have the underwriter, the processing and other mortgage-related expertise all sitting together,” he added.
This news contrasts with Bureau of Labor Statistics predictions that the number of loan officers employed increased by 11% by 2026.
It is possible that when these predictions were made (2016), the BLS did not anticipate customer preference skewing toward maximum speed and minimum personal involvement.
There are some in the industry who feel there is still a place for in-person LOs as educators for first-time homebuyers who might prefer a friendly face to guide them through the process, but other than that, it seems in-person LOs may go the way of the dinosaur.
“I think that for the person who is going to be a first-time homeowner and is not well-acquainted with the whole process, a face-to-face (interaction) is valuable,” Jon Bruss, CEO of Fortress Partners Capital Management, told the Sentinel.
“But beyond that, I don’t think it’s necessarily important.”