How to Avoid Mortgage Loan Officer Burnout

Chase Gilbert - President at Built

Trevor Hammond, Branch Manager

The mortgage industry has been fast paced in 2020, and the result is some mortgage loan officers have battled with burnout. Avoiding mortgage loan officer burnout is an important topic, and one I have discussed frequently in recent months.

I recently connected with a colleague who is someone I respect greatly as a professional. He’s enjoyed a lot of success and has helped many families throughout his career. The words he shared with me hit home: “I’m burnt out.” I could tell, even his voice over the phone sounded tired.

As a certified High Trust® Coach who coaches loan officers on my team and loan officers around the country, the word “fatigue” has become an all-too-common word. Avoiding loan officer burnout needs to be addressed.

I understand. I have been there, and I’ve come close to pulling the plug on this career path more than once. Loan officer burnout is a real thing, and a dangerous place to be.

But here’s the good news: There is a better way! I’ve learned to love this mortgage industry business more than ever. I truly believe there is no better business to be in, both in terms of income for our families and the direct impact we have on the clients we serve.

I’ve learned a strategy for re-energizing yourself and your business. And if you’re like me and can truly commit to what I’m going to share, you may even find yourself with a mortgage practice you never want to retire from. So, let’s dive into the top two reasons a mortgage loan officer can “burn out” or become fatigued.

Problem #1:  Spending too much time on the wrong activities

Mortgage loan officer burnout often comes from doing activities that frustrate you and drain your energy. Spending the majority of work hours on the wrong tasks will slowly sap your enjoyment and eventually lead to burnout. Imagine a world-class chef who is passionate about cooking. The chef opens his/her own restaurant and soon becomes embroiled in managing staff, bookkeeping headaches, and other tasks that take away from doing what they love to do. As mortgage loan officers, we encounter the same problem. The truth is, there are only 3-5 key activities that you should spend your time on. They are the things you love doing, the things you’re great at and the things that pay you the most when done well. Do you know what your 3-5 things are? For many successful loan originators, the top priorities boil down to:

  • Conversations with people who want to borrow money
  • Conversations with people who can refer people who want to borrow money
  • Designing and overseeing an awesome client experience

Words like “prospecting,” “marketing” and “borrower consultations” fall under these three categories.

Here’s the million-dollar question: How much time do you spend on these activities in any given day or week? Are you spending 20% of your time on these activities and using 80% of your time doing things that drain your energy and aren’t your best use of time?

Here’s the solution: Commit to spending 80% of your work time on the 3-5 activities you love, i.e., the things you’re great at and make you the most money. Once you are truly committed to doing this, the rest of your journey becomes focused on delegating, automating or deleting everything outside of your top 3-5 priorities. It won’t happen overnight. It won’t always be easy. But if you do this, I promise you’ll become more excited and energized than ever about the future “you” and your business, and burnout will become a distant memory.

Problem #2:  Not taking time off.

As a mortgage loan officer, when is the last time you took some truly unplugged time off? By unplugged, I mean no work emails, no work phone calls and not engaging in work-related books, articles or podcasts. Avoiding burnout means taking time to take care of yourself.

Does your time off look more like working remotely? Are you checking emails from your phone while nobody is looking? Do you take loan applications by the pool or on the lanai? Do you sneak away from family game night to send a pre-approval letter to a real estate agent?

Here is the paradigm shift I want you to have: Taking time off as a loan officer is no longer a reward for killing yourself at work during the last week, month or year. It’s a requirement for being at your very best on Monday for your clients, your partners and your team!

How do I define “time off”? It’s midnight to midnight, with absolutely no work activities allowed. This means no emails, phone calls, or engaging in work-related books, news or podcasts. Personally, this wasn’t easy for me to do. I had a thriving business, a big team and I loved what I do! But I committed to making it happen, and I’ve enjoyed my career more than ever because I’ve reduced my burnout as a loan officer.

Think of it this way: What do your clients pay you for? To get them a mortgage? To receive updates each week on the status of their loan? To take loan applications or attend signings?  Nope.

Clients pay you for your creativity and your ability to solve their problems. 

When you begin to re-think what brings the most value to your client, you can start to imagine creating a mortgage business that frees you up to take more time off.

I know this can come across like a left hook to the jaw. The first time I coach a loan officer on this concept, the initial response is usually something like, “but those things still need to get done!” Yes, they do. But not necessarily by you. If you keep thinking there are things only you can do, you will struggle to take real time off and rejuvenate.

I want you to believe you CAN stop doing many of the activities in your business that drain your energy. It will require better systems, and you may need to expand your team. You must also be committed and have the courage to stay on this exciting path.

Avoiding loan officer burnout is so important to your success. If you commit to this and begin doing more of the right activities in your business and taking more unplugged time off to rejuvenate, your mortgage career will thrive! 

I have 22 years of experience in this business, and I love it more than ever!  My income has increased tremendously, and I take more time off than I ever imagined possible. But it first took ME changing how I viewed this business, and how I viewed my role in this business. Understanding how to avoid mortgage loan officer burnout was paramount to this success. It also meant figuring out how I could bring the most value to the most people in the least amount of time.

If I could do it, I know you can too. I wish you all the best!

Trevor Hammond

Trevor Hammond

Branch Manager, Coach, Speaker and Author

Trevor Hammond is a sought-after mortgage advisor, certified performance coach, speaker, and author who focuses on helping people enjoy more money, less stress, and more life.

As the co-author of Borrow Smart, Repay Smart and his 2018 follow up book, Mortgages, Money and Life, Trevor has created unique financial coaching programs and spoken in front of thousands of people on his book concepts ranging from improving cash flow and savings, managing liabilities, to advanced real estate financing strategies for homeowners.

 His passion for providing financial education and his ability to innovate unique processes that help both clients and originators excel, has led Trevor to become a top producer and build a #1 branch in the country for mortgage lending company Sierra Pacific Mortgage.

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