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Micro Management

Questions to Ask Any Mortgage Net Branch Before you Decide to Join as a Loan Officer

Robert Lawrence asked:

In my last article, I covered some of the reasons why loan officers join net branches and what their motivations are. I also covered some of the personal questions one should ask themselves before they decide to make the jump and join a net branch. Questions such as: Are you financially secure? Have you reviewed all your options? Do you have a support network in place? Etc.

In this article, I’ll cover some of the key questions to ask the net branches. These are things you absolutely must be aware of before you make any major decision. You must have all the facts and know EXACTLY what you are getting into. Don’t just guess…use my checklist and be certain. These are questions I’ve compiled over my career and you are reaping the benefit of years of experience in the industry.

Remember, a successful loan officer doesn’t leave a company without reason—-they leave so that they can BE MORE SUCCESSFUL SOMEWHERE ELSE. Someone who exceeds in sales, won’t put up with small commission splits and micro-management for very long.

Here are the questions you should be asking when looking for a net branch to join:

(You will want to print this out, this list is comprehensive and covers everything!)

START-UP COSTS:

1. Is there an upfront fee I must pay the COMPANY itself in order to join the net branch?

2. Is there a franchise or territory fee?

3. Who is responsible for the state and local licensing fees?

4. Do I have to set-up a reserve account with the company?

5. Who pays for office and other business expenses?

6. Who pays for brochures, business cards, letterhead, etc.?

7. Are there any other business start-up costs I should know about? (such as background checks, credit review, etc. as a new hire).

8. Tell me the total amount it will cost me upfront to get started.

COMPANY RULES:

1. Do you have any career experience requirements or can I join with little or no mortgage experience?

2. Is there a minimum loan size amount?

3. Are there any minimum commission amounts I must make on a loan or am I free to price the loan however I like it?

4. Do I have to close a certain number of loans per month?

5. Do I have to work only with company approved third-parties such as appraisers, credit companies, etc. or can I choose my own people to work with?

6. Do I have to check-in or report to anyone?

7. Are there approved lenders I must use?

8. Can I work from home instead of an outside office?

COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE LOAN:

1. Who pays for the customer’s credit reports?

2. Who pays for the customer’s appraisal, can we bill them later?

3. Who pays for the title work and the attorney or title company fees?

4. What happens if the deal dies and the customer didn’t pay for these things upfront?

5. What is the policy of the appraisers, credit reporting agencies and other third parties we deal with?

6. Do they bill the company directly or will they bill me?

7. Who is responsible for leftover unpaid bills?

8. Does the company charge me a processing fee above and beyond the HUD which will come out of my commission?

9. Any there any other individual loan costs I should know about?

DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS QUESTIONS:

1. How are expenses submitted to the company?

2. How soon will bills be paid and who is responsible for this?

3. Who can I call when I have a question on a loan?

4. How will rate sheets be delivered from the lenders?

5. Do you have account executives already set-up with all the wholesalers in my area?

6. Where do I get my online passwords from?

7. Do we get any special incentives above and beyond the rate sheets with certain lenders?

8. Can I use a lender not on the company’s list?

9. Who handles the processing of the loan?

10. Can I hire my own processor or use the services of a processing company?

11. Is there an online forum or company website I can log-into to communicate with the other net branches?

12. What other back-office support is there for me?

GETTING PAID:

1. Do you pay a salary?

2. What are the commission splits?

3. Are there any elevated commission splits for top performers?

4. How much do your top performers make, and do you have proof?

5. What is the average start-up time for a new loan officer, once they begin until their first loan is closed and funded?

6. How soon after the loan is closed, will I be paid?

7. Do you take out all the local, state and federal taxes and handle all the payroll stuff for me?

8. Will I be paid with a check or via direct deposit?

9. Will the closing attorney or title office forward you the commission check from the loan directly, or do I send that do you?

10. Who do I call if there is a problem with the commission on the loan and I haven’t been paid?

11. Can I recruit others underneath me to originate loans, and make a percentage of their loans as well?

12. Any other payments or bonuses I should know about?

COMPANY BENEFITS:

1. Do you have a 401K?

2. Do you offer health or medical insurance?

3. Do you offer dental insurance?

4. Do you offer vision care insurance?

5. Do you offer “errors and omissions” insurance in case I make a mistake on a loan?

6. Do you have any sales incentives or prizes?

7. What other benefits do you offer?

8. How soon after I join will I be eligible to participate in any of the above? (This is very important, because firms will dangle these carrots for you, but the benefits never materialize, especially health insurance, so please be extremely diligent about this).

9. Besides your waiting period, do they benefit providers have a waiting period as well?

10. Are you really going to pay for my health insurance or how much will I be responsible for myself?

11. What type of ongoing training do you provide?

QUESTIONS TO UNCOVER THE REAL “TRUTH” ABOUT THE NET BRANCH:

1. What makes your net branch company different from all the rest?

2. Who is your top competitor, and why should I not just join them?

3. Why did the last person leave your company?

4. Do you have personal references I can check with?

5. Do you have trade and bank reference I can check with?

6. What is your mortgage broker license number?, (so you can review their record with the state banking agency).

7. How does your company really make money?

8. Who is your management team?

9. Have the owners of the company ever originated loans themselves? (You will be surprised how many have NOT! I can tell you about a major mortgage company where one of the owners used to pump gas for a living, he owned a chain of convenience stores and never sold a loan in his life!)

10. How many branches do you have?

11. What were the revenues for the company last year?

12. How do you rank nationally, have you won any special industry awards?

13. How long have you been “net branching” for? (Very useful for knowing if there are any bugs to be worked out).

14. Does the head office originate loans as well, or do they solely serve the net branches?

15. Give me your best sales pitch in 1 minute or less. 🙂

16. Do you have any other information I can look at before I make a final decision?

You should never assume anything. Companies won’t
tell you these things unless you ask, so don’t be afraid to ask these questions. Of course, you may not get all the answers directly from them, so you’ll have to dig around a little. Ask other people in the industry, or try googling up the companies on the Ne
t. Also, check with the state banking commission on the firm’s track record.

Your objective is to have as many of the facts as possible, so you can make an informed, educated decision. After all, this is YOUR CAREER AND YOUR LIFE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

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