Featuring: Kevin Porter, Assistant Vice President Loan Officer at Intercity State Bank
Whether you’re starting a new career or you’re an established Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO), it’s helpful to hear stories from those who have been in your shoes. There are many advantages to working as an MLO as Kevin explains.
Kevin began his career as an intern at Northwestern Mutual focused on planning and advising. After five years, he felt insurance and investments might not be the right fit and pursued personal banking. Kevin was then introduced to a private brokerage company in Madison, WI and began working in mortgage brokering. He enjoyed this side of the business – and to this day he still originates residential loans. As a mortgage broker, Kevin can have a clear focus in a business area he enjoys the most.
Here and Now
We caught up with Kevin to learn more about his journey working as a mortgage loan officer, and here’s what he had to share with us.
What is the most rewarding part of working as a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO)?
Loan officers play a key role in society, which is why the mortgage loan industry is one of the most popular among job seekers today. No matter what part of the U.S. you live in, there is always a demand for loan officers. Consumers are always looking to purchase new homes or refinance existing ones, and when this happens, mortgage loan officers are needed in the process.
While Kevin enjoys being an expert in the mortgage industry, the most rewarding part of his job is helping his clients and adding value to the community.
“The most rewarding part of my job is acting as a consultant and not a sales person,” said Kevin. “By lending to our customers, we’re adding value back into the community. We’re improving our local economy everyday by helping with the construction of new homes, helping renters become homeowners, and helping local businesses expand their operations and production.”
Was it easy to become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO)?
It took Kevin a couple months to become a licensed mortgage loan officer. The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act) includes requirements for the licensing of all MLOs.
“The NMLS requires you to take mandatory mortgage education classes prior to your state exam,” said Kevin. “I took testing very seriously, enrolled in mortgage licensing and exam prep courses, and studied a lot. I believe my initial exposure in mortgage financing helped, but the right training is very important.”
What is a typical day like as a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO)?
A typical day may consist of taking inbound calls, processing loan applications and attending closings. Networking, establishing relationships with realtors and prospecting are also very important. He is continuously problem solving to find the best possible solutions for his clients.
Kevin also focuses on staying ahead of the competition by enhancing his sales, communication, and leadership skills through online professional development courses and in-person resources.
What gets you excited about coming into work?
As the market started to evolve from new buyers to investment real estate, Kevin created a niche there for himself and loves coming to work every day to work in this space.
“Mortgage lending is an exciting career,” said Kevin. “A home purchase is one of the biggest financial considerations most people ever make, and as a MLO, my job is to educate and guide borrowers through the process from application to closing. It is a fulfilling way to earn a living and help others at the same time.”
What are some challenges an MLO might face through their journey?
“Competition amongst other lenders”
Kevin expressed competition is always out there and there’s always someone who can lower the price to get the deal. When you encounter this he encourages you to ask “Is that you? What is your business worth to you?”
Kevin expressed the challenge that can come with obtaining new leads. In a perfect world, every great client would pass you along to a group of friends. However, finding a way to tactfully ask for a referral might be a great way to gain referrals organically.
What advice would you share with others considering mortgage loan origination as a career?
“Plug in and participate,” Porter said.
Kevin is an active member of the Builders Association, Real Estate Investor Association, Apartment Owners Association and the Economic Development Planning Council, to name a few. He is also on the board for his local Big Brothers Big Sisters and United Way. He is actively involved in his local chamber and goes to as many chamber events as he can because he has found great success and tremendous networking opportunities in this group. He finds the educational aspect in his external efforts very rewarding and would encourage anyone to look into their local options.
Where do you go to stay up-to-date on industry trends?
Kevin turns to third party resources such as Originator Success and Hammer Solutions to get Daily Rate lock advice. He also reads the NAHB weekly newsletter (National Association of Home Buyers), the WBA weekly newsletter (Wisconsin Banker Association), and the NREI daily newsletter (National Real Estate Investor). These resources provide insight into the market and allow him to have proactive conversations with his clients.
Kevin’s experience in the mortgage industry has also educated him on real estate. He plans to continue working with clients to help them pursue their dreams and identify potential residential and commercial investment properties.
Kevin Porter is the Assistant Vice President, Loan Officer for Intercity State Bank located in Wausau, WI. Groomed by his experience in financial services, banking, and mortgage lending, Kevin was uniquely equipped and sought after to be his bank’s leading Business Development officer who can originate loans for both residential and commercial customers.