One of my favorite questions to ask young workers in the mortgage industry is, “What motivated you to join the space?”

And even more importantly, “What made you decide to stay in it?”

The question is two-fold because not only is this industry in desperate need of new mortgage talent, but it’s also struggling to retain that talent.

We’re already working so hard to get younger people to realize this industry exists, so you don’t want to blow it when you finally get them in the door.

I had the wonderful opportunity to discuss this topic with the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association Young Mortgage Bankers group on Thursday night at a networking cocktail event.

While the event had enough people come to keep you chatting the night the night away, it was still a small example of the state of the entire mortgage industry right now.

When we polled the audience on how many people knew they wanted to join the space growing up, only one person in the entire room raised their hand. Most everyone else knew someone or had a family member that got them involved.

And even though this event had a good turnout, for one of the largest industries in the country, in one of the largest states, in one of the five biggest cities in the country, there should've been so many people there that they filled an entire restaurant.

Events like this one are working to fix that.

We need to work together and connect to help solve this problem.

There are so many directions and ways this discussion could go, and a lot of them need to be heard, so I hope to discuss them further in future blogs.

But, for now, I wanted to focus on one specific call to action: mentorship programs.

One important component identified during the event was the need for mentorship programs.

Mortgages are complicated and complex. TRID. GSE. HUD. APR. LTV. HMDA. Don’t just throw someone into this alphabet soup.

When a new hire joins your company, connect them with a mentor that can be their go-to resource as they figure out the space.

But this connection needs to be genuine.

Comments came up during the discussion that mentors don’t always want to pick up the phone, or it’s too much of a burden to do their own job and then have a mentee.

Mary Pirrello, senior vice president of national warehouse lending at NexBank, helped me lead the discussion at the event and joked that if people in this industry want to retire, they need to do better at these things:

  • Help create the next generation of mortgage professionals.
  • Pick up the phone when they call.
  • Seek out the new person in the office.
  • Invite them out for lunch.
  • Do something.

There is a reason you chose to stay in this industry. Don’t let people who join this space leave before realizing what that reason is for you, and how they can love the space, too.