The Five-Tool Lender (Part 2 of 3)
In Part 1 of this series, we set the framework for the concept of the Five-Tool Lender and the correlation to a Five-Tool Player in Baseball. The first of the tools we covered was Speed and it's correlation to a "Solid Operations Workflow". In Part 2, we'll cover the next two components: Diverse Product Catalog & Competitive Pricing.
Diverse Product Catalog (Fielding)
In baseball, good fielding means more than just being able to catch a ball. A smart baseball player has to be able to read a situation and know exactly where to go with the ball if it's hit their direction. Really smart baseball players are able to position themselves defensively because they know where the ball is going even before the batter decides to swing.
It's the same principle in mortgage lending as well. Loan Officers love having options for their clients and Top Producing Loan Officers know how to find the best strategy among those options. When a unique borrower situation comes along, any loan officer will know very quickly whether that client is one they will be able to serve. The true measure of the value a lender provides their clients is the total confidence in knowing they can pair the right strategy with the right situation. This type of confidence is only achieved if the company providing those programs has the ability to be proactive and see what's coming around the corner.
Many Thrive Loan Officers and Branch Managers are members of our Products Committee which fields suggestions about future enhancements or types of loan programs which are most beneficial to the needs our clients. And our leadership listens. For the past several years, Thrive has been the first to market with dozens of groundbreaking programs which showcase the company's innovative nature while keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry before the trends even became news. Here're some examples:
- Before the recent housing frenzy of multiple offers and counteroffers and insane offers over list price, Thrive rolled out a program called Home2Home which allowed borrowers to waive contingencies by financing their new property without having to sell their departing residence first, enabling them to be more successful at winning a bidding war. This was in place a full 18 months prior to the onset of the pandemic.
- Several years ago, Thrive launched an initiative called Thrive4Home. This initiative is for those situations where a borrower wanted to purchase a new home, but wasn't quite ready to be approved based on conventional guidelines. Thrive4Home works with those credit-challenged borrowers to establish a roadmap to becoming credit approved for a home purchase. The success of that initiative has been outstanding: 96% of the clients who enrolled in that program, and who successfully completed the steps, were credit approved within four months.
- When the agencies surprised the industry with new loan level pricing adjustments for second home or investment purchases, Thrive was already busy rolling out a few NonQM and portfolio initiatives which allowed those clients to continue to build wealth through real estate and take advantage of below-market rates.
- Just this year, Thrive's Construction Division known as BUILD rolled out a Lot Loan program granting an enormous amount of flexibility and convenience to those clients looking to build their dream home and handle all of it with one lender, one application, and one closing appointment.
Based on our extensive investor relationships, program alternatives, Construction programs provided through our BUILD Division, Non-QM products, Reverse Lending, as well as other proprietary, niche products, Thrive boasts a catalog of product offerings that numbers in the thousands! Yes… you read that right… thousands! And that is a list that is growing by the week.
Competitive Pricing (Strong, Accurate Arm)
Being a great fielder in baseball is only one part of the defensive equation. If you can backhand a ground ball up the line, but you can't make the throw to first, you're not doing your team any favors. Similarly, a large product mix without the ability to deliver a competitive rate serves no benefit to a client. The correlation between pricing and a strong, accurate throwing arm means that you've got to be able to deliver both in order to provide tangible results.
Every top producing loan officer knows inherently that competing on rate is a losing strategy. Instead they compete on value. Rate is only one variable that is part of a much bigger picture. So, knowing that, why do we continually find ourselves competing on rate? This, unfortunately, is a condition of our industry's own making. For years, we have made such a big deal about rate in our advertising, it should come as no surprise that consumers are simply conditioned to focus on interest rate when they come to us.
Interest rates are certainly a big deal, and you cannot make a career out of being a point higher than your competitors. But rate isn't the ONLY big deal. There are dozens of other factors that go into a smart debt management strategy. That said, Thrive's interest rates are going to be competitive with any lender in the industry. If a loan officer is looking for a guarantee that our rates are always going to be the lowest, however, then Thrive Mortgage not the right place for them. But is that really the right question to be asking?
Perhaps a better question to ask is, "How much is interest rate a part of your value proposition to your clients and partners?" The type of loan officer who excels at Thrive Mortgage understands how much opportunity they have to stand apart from those in the industry who's ONLY value proposition is rate (and even they don't stick around all that long).
The ability to tailor a specific mortgage strategy that is uniquely designed for a client's financial situation provides a level of service and value to the consumer in which most lenders do not invest. We take a look at the whole picture of long-term financial goals paired with mortgage strategies that make sense. Thrive Mortgage is continually rolling out new product offerings and continually examining the markets. We take data-driven decision making to another level and always do what's in the best interest of serving the consumer. Tracking industry trends, maintaining strong relationships with our investors (especially Fannie & Freddie), and being a true solution provider to our clients is all a part of our recipe for why we exist... to help others thrive!
To continue reading this series, join us for our conclusion in Part 3 and learn how the community surrounding and supporting a great team, as well as the ability to tell the world your story in a compelling manner, is so significant in serving your clients.
James Duncan is the Director of Marketing & Engagement for Thrive Mortgage and has contributed to numerous published works and industry discussion panels. As a former high school teacher, mentoring and coaching is his biggest passion. Whether it is leading the Marketing Department at Thrive or working individually with clients to help them make better educated decisions, James has a tremendous passion for moving the industry forward.