While the mortgage industry can experience fluctuations, and there may be challenging periods, there are still reasons to consider continuing as a mortgage loan originator even in a less favorable market.
The housing market is known for its resilience, and even during downturns, people still need homes. There will always be individuals looking to purchase or refinance properties, regardless of market conditions. While the volume of transactions may fluctuate, the demand for mortgage services remains present.
If you are a mortgage loan originator (MLO) or thinking about becoming one, you know that it takes effort and commitment to obtain and keep your license. If you are starting down the MLO path, you’re likely already aware that you’ll need to complete 20 hours of pre-licensing education, pass the National Multistate Licensing System (NMLS) exam and then stay current on your continuing education each year. You also likely know that mortgage loan origination, like any other profession, has ups and downs.
It’s no secret that mortgage rates rose in 2022 at a record clip. Average mortgage rates on a 15-year home loan have nearly doubled in a year, rising past 7%. Historically, rates are still fairly low, however. In the 1980s, they stayed above 10% for most of the decade. Today, the recent banking crisis has dropped rates back below 7%.
If the downward trend continues, it could lead to an upside for licensed MLOs. That means if you are an MLO, now is not the time to hand in your license. Rather, you’re in a great position to ride the mortgage upswing as prospective buyers jump in to take advantage of decreasing rates.
Mortgage Loan Originator Career
Being a licensed mortgage loan originator (MLO) is an exciting career. You can turn your hustle with advancement opportunities into a high-paying income. Indeed.com estimates an average F/T salary of over $180,000 in 2023. As you stay with the industry, you can even gain higher salaries, with a 50% gain in 10 years.
Even a part-time MLO can earn $60,000/year or more working in this fast-paced industry. That’s money you’ll be hard-pressed to find in another part-time job.
An MLO may work for a mortgage company, bank, credit union, or another financial institution. They provide guidance for the loan process. They are also responsible for moving the loan through all steps of the loan process from the initial application to the closing of the loan. They ensure the borrower meets all guidelines and understands their loan.
If you have the fortitude to ride the cyclical real estate market and mortgage declines, you can look forward to surfing the peaks and having a great career.
Tips for Weathering a Down MLO Market
Here are some suggestions to help get you through the slow times.
- Know your market! It’s important to be the subject matter expert for your local real estate market. The more you know about your local market conditions, the better you’ll be positioned to lend your expertise to prospects.
- Promote your personal brand. Get out there with your personal marketing. Keep your website current and active, and grow your brand on social media, with YouTube videos. Participate in Facebook real estate groups. Get known, so when the upturn in the market hits, people will remember you and call you.
- Build relationships today. Don’t focus on the transactional aspects of your client relationships; get to know them and give them a glimpse of your personal life. The better your relationship today with prospects, the better you’ll be in the coming months when you’re swamped with new business.
- Keep your license active. It’s not the time to abandon your MLO license. Instead, take continuing education classes in mortgage loan origination and related areas to stay current with regulatory compliance, compliance consulting, and mortgage pre-licensing insights.
- Stay focused on your goals and dreams. The real estate market rises and falls. Keep focused on the long term to make sure you’re ready for the next housing market uptick.
Enroll in MLO Continuing Education Courses
Every market cycle has its challenges and opportunities. While it may require additional effort and perseverance during a downturn, your commitment to the mortgage industry can position you for success when the market rebounds. Assess your personal goals, evaluate the long-term prospects of the industry, and consider how you can adapt and thrive in changing conditions.
Slow or downtimes are perfect for developing professionally. Regulations are always changing. New laws are passed. Old mandates are tweaked. MLOs must stay current on compliance training, or they are a risk for their company.
Compliance training covers a lot of topics. Anywhere from old tried and true topics like Cybersecurity to Customer Information Security Awareness. New hot topics include Diversity and Inclusion, and Human Trafficking Awareness.
It does not matter if you are a new MLO or a seasoned veteran. Every MLO is required to take Continuing Education and Compliance Training each year.
MLOs are required to take 8 hours of Continuing Education (CE) training each year for recertification by NMLS. CE training must include 3 hours of Federal law, 2 hours of ethics, and 2 hours of non-traditional mortgage lending. MLOs then choose an elective to complete their 8 hours to satisfy the NMLS requirements. Some states require additional topics. Check your state requirements with the NMLS.
Staying active in the mortgage industry during a tough market allows you to stay updated on market trends, changes in regulations, and industry developments. This knowledge and expertise will be invaluable when conditions improve, as you will be well-prepared to meet the needs of borrowers and provide them with the best solutions.
Professional development can lift your game in the real estate market. Our NMLS-approved continuing education programs involve a range of learning options, from real-life discussion scenarios to game-centered learning, with pre-and post-tests.
By taking a continuing education course through OnCourse Learning, you go at your own pace, through live classes, webinars, videos and more. When you step up your mortgage learning, you’ll earn greater respect from your clients and mortgage lenders.