Sink Or Swim: Survival Of Lenders In Today’s Changing Landscape


The business of real estate is shifting.

Potential homebuyers are pulling out of the market due to current interest rates, once super-high property prices are beginning to lose their luster, and the country is still transitioning as part of the pandemic with companies and employees working together to see what business model will suit them in the future.

People in the real estate world have been left wondering: Can I continue to thrive?

In the upcoming months, mortgage lenders, refinancing businesses, and real estate agencies may fire thousands of people as the housing market cools.

Carmen Arroyo, Steven Church, and Maxwell Adler at Bloomberg reported last week that “the mortgage industry is seeing its first lenders go out of business after a sudden spike in lending rates, and the wave of failures that’s coming could be the worst since the housing bubble burst about 15 years ago.” 

Andrew Berman of American Business Media, Alex Kutsishin, co-founder of Sales Boomerang (Which recently partnered with Mortgage Coach), and Jarrett Stanley, CMO of Southern Trust Mortgage recently hosted a National Mortgage Profession webinar called “Sink or Swim: The One Way To Stay Afloat in a Stormy Market” to offer advice to lenders.

Stanley said even with the tumultuous market and fears of a looming recession, Southern Trust Mortgage has still seen steady growth. He said a lot of his firm’s maintained growth can be attributed to the software use on the inside and the relationships of different technology pieces of the overall puzzle.

“It comes down to the stack you use,” Stanley said. “Finding how your software systems work together is the key to success. All of them are reverse engineered around the experience you are trying to provide the borrower, the co-borrower, the agents (both buyer and seller) as well as builders out there and any other relationships you have. We are always adding, refining, and adding to our stack and you should too. Connectivity and customization equals speed and context. There are a number of different vendors out there who can become your stack or just be a part of your stack.”

Stanley went on to stress that software systems that can talk to each other are crucial to making your office work efficiently.

Kutsishin further explained the concept as thinking of your software systems in terms of *LEGO tech.

“The beauty of LEGO is that they all fit together,” Kutsishin said. “LEGO makes sure that things work together, and they fit together. There isn’t this controversy or fighting, or a having a silo of ‘I can only build here because this only works this way and something over there works that way’. That is literally how you blow up your business in the wrong way and it is bad. LEGO tech is key. It means find technologies that work well together. Pay attention to how you choose your technology partners.”

Stanley agrees.

“How can I make my technology modular to work in the largest space possible? Stanley said he asks. “Our team, we serve all across the country along with several states on the East Coast. We don’t have 30 people on our marketing team. We have to build technology that scales out so that we can be lean, but we can also focus on content that moves the needle without having to Duct Tape technology in the background. It is super important.” 

Kutsishin added it is important to stay ahead of the game when choosing or staying with a technology partner.

“Make sure you ask your technology partners not, ‘What are you doing today?’ but ‘What are you doing tomorrow?’ If the environment hasn’t shown you why it is important to ask what is happening next, I am not sure what you would need to happen to make you start asking those questions,” Kutsishin said.

Kutsishin went on to say when looking over your lender business model, it is important to ask yourself if you are getting to the buyer before they make it to market.

Jarret Stanley said the answer to that question should always be, yes. And he gave some tips on how lending businesses can stay ahead of the curve and reach out to borrowers so that they can have a relationship before they are ready to buy. He said being proactive is important because 80% of buyers will go with the first lender they speak to.

There are ways to help move a business in the direction of reaching more people who may not be ready to buy, but likely will be soon.

“News companies and Twitter accounts make money by posting clickbait to reach people as they will form an opinion about these things,” Stanley said. “As sales professionals, we are supposed to be a source of truth. Not just during the transaction period, but before, during, and after, and maintaining that relationship. You don’t really maintain a relationship with somebody if you have never talked with them before or you send them a Happy Birthday email that is canned, and you never hear from them again.”

Stanley adds in modern times, you have a lot of options to use market movements and circumstances to put you in charge of the narrative. You want to be the voice of authority.

“Give them a :30 video voicemail. Put that out there inside your customer groups. You be the one who tells them what is going on, you be the one to serve up that opportunity. That way you control the narrative. When you control the narrative, they are not going to go to try to find something on a search engine, they are going to come and find you.   Realistically, the more you can control that and be the source of communication, I feel that is going to be the way that people will come back to you. Even after you have already dealt with them, they’ll come back to you.”

Kutsishin said it is even a great plan not only to build relationships with those who come in and get a loan, but also the ones who come in and maybe cannot buy yet due to low or damaged credit.

“Remember, 79% of people will always use the first mortgage company they speak to. Be that first person,” he said. “This is where a partnership with a program like Sales Boomerang comes into play. Here is an example. A couple gets a reference from a good realtor, they apply, and are turned down. If you send them away they are gone. Work with them. Most people will repair their credit in 12 months. Let them know, along the way that when they are qualified, you will be there. If you stay in touch, you are reaching them before they come to market.”

Kutsishin said it is in that period that you build a relationship and trust.

“Getting to the customers, before they get to market is so key,” he said. “Also change your mind about what is a customer. They are your customers, they just have not bought anything yet. Build some trust. How? Advise, solutions, helping, calling them at the right moment, calling them before they realize they have a value in the market and go back into the market. Nearly half of your mortgage database will have a mortgage event in the next 12 months.”

Kutsishin said a good thing to keep in mind when reaching out is keep conversations personal. Also, he said this not a year of volume, but is a year of conversion.

Leads you would have passed up in the past when everyone who came in was likely approved, reach out to them all, and begin building relationships, Kutsishin said.

He added if you think of a buyer’s value beyond the mortgage you are perceived as the authority and a confident customer acts faster than those who are not. Kutsishin went on to say it is good to share leads with referral agents because you both share a common customer.

Stanley added don’t let the market dictate how you do business.

“Put customers first, build a foundation of best practices,” Stanley said. “And the market adjustments will have minimal impact.”

*LEGO is a registered trademark of The LEGO Group.       

Read More Articles By Scott Kimbler:

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