Survey reveals top mortgage staffing challenges for 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA (March 10, 2017) — Some surprising and unexpected staffing and recruiting challenges were revealed by C-level executives in a recent survey of mortgage leaders.  The survey was conducted by recruiting expert Rick Glass, of Sacramento, California-based Rick Glass Executive Search.  Glass, a 20-year search veteran who has placed hundreds of executives in the mortgage industry, conducted a confidential survey among a select sampling of presidents and CEO’s of well positioned mortgage bankers to determine their most important concerns and challenges for this year and beyond.


“It is too simplistic to say they are concerned about loan volume,” said Glass.  “Of course they are.  But to achieve and sustain growth, profitability and market share, executives are all-too aware that they must have the right people in place to lead their origination and operations teams.  This is where the most meaningful challenges are to be found,” he said.


Glass’ survey revealed that senior leadership ranked their top four priorities to meet the needs of a rising rate environment:


  • Talent acquisition
  • Leadership development
  • Employee retention
  • Mergers and acquisitions leadership experience


Glass feels this indicates that many mortgage bankers expect to grow their companies through acquisition as the industry continues to consolidate. Some of the smaller and mid-sized platforms with purchase lending penetration are being squeezed by a lack of cash for expansion and are at a premium today, particularly among non-bank mortgage lenders.  Finding top field sales talent and developing the leaders to manage them while ensuring optimal integration with acquirers will be primary concerns, along with retaining the most valued team members.  “It is a tricky time.  Companies will be competing for the best origination talent and that means they must be able to merchandise and deliver a meaningful value proposition while finding the right leadership to attract, manage and retain those high performers,” Glass said.


Glass said that the most surprising trait executives indicated was missing from their leadership teams was “performance accountability.”  A startling 78 percent of respondents said they had concerns over the way their leaders accepted and embraced responsibility for their teams’ performance results.  “This would seem to indicate a cultural resistance from using traditional business metrics to identify performance success,” Glass said.  “C-level executives like leaders who seize opportunities, accept responsibility, drill down to root cause analysis and articulate solutions supported by data and analytics, and engage participation necessary to ensure results. This well-rounded ‘operator’ has a broader reach into multiple disciplines and is prepared to do everything possible to meet the objectives of the greater good.  It indicates a prime recruiting challenge for senior leadership in our industry.”


When asked about the most common items in which survey respondents plan to invest over the course of the year, 60 percent indicated that Millennial talent acquisition was among their highest priorities.  “I found this both surprising and expected,” said Glass, who has published articles on the challenges of recruiting Millennials.  “This young group has a somewhat different set of priorities and a global view that differs from previous generations.  To recruit them effectively, C-level executives need leaders who can identify the top Millennial prospects and relate to them in a way that brings out their best,” he said.  “Recruiting and leading them are not necessarily as intuitive as in the past.  They require a careful approach and new thinking on the part of management.”