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Four Tips For Communicating More Effectively with Your Branches

It’s no secret that most branch managers were (and may still be) high performing loan officers and because of this, the vast majority naturally tend to be hyper focused on production goals when it comes to performance review time. However, despite its undoubted importance production is not the be-all, end-all performance measurement metric. Working and speaking with retail lenders from the very big, to the very small, the sentiment is unanimous: the longevity and true success of a branch is reliant on the management of both production and expenses. Although it is indeed part of the larger lender, a branch is a business and it operates as its own entity; the fact is a healthy business does not operate and make decisions based solely on production revenue alone. The best branch managers frequently delve into expenses in particular as they understand that some things can’t be fixed with more originations alone. They are constantly looking at things such as credit report fees, marketing costs and concessions which can all have a big impact on a branch's bottom line and ultimately their income. In fact some of the biggest areas that affect a branch’s profitability are the costs of fee leakage and concessions associated with the loans, meaning expenses will continue to rise with the origination numbers.

 

A mortgage lender’s finance team must be cognizant of the fact that branch managers don’t necessarily have a deep knowledge of accounting or know how to interpret intricate financial documents. Sending them complex reports each month may not necessarily get the job done. So how do you communicate financials effectively with your branch managers?

 

1. Make the information easy to access and easy to digest.

With so many working from home these days and email being the primary form of communication, there’s an absolutely real chance that your emails are getting lost in the shuffle. Should they be looking out and making sure they receive it? Of course! But as my grandfather says “shoulda, woulda, coulda.” Having the information easily accessible is the first step to having branch managers pay attention. If they don’t have to go searching for it, they’re more likely to look at it.

 

Furthermore, that information needs to be easily digestible as well. Clean reports that point out the most pertinent information will go much further than a big jumble of numbers. The use of graphs where appropriate will help catch the eye, but also providing the ability to easily drill into the numbers and answer more detailed questions is essential. Whether it’s a full P&L to your non-producing branch managers or a condensed financial report for the producing branch managers, having succinct, clean paths of information is indispensable.

 

2. Supply branch managers with up to date information

If you are using some kind of tool, be it the Loan Vision Branch Portal or another, this is something that should be relatively easy. In many cases, soon after your month-end close is completed, branch financials are available. This means that branch managers are able to make decisions on numbers that are still relevant to them and not over a month old.

 

3. Go through the information with them

While I understand this may be time-consuming, taking the time to go through the information with your branch managers will help them understand the data better and why it’s relevant to them. It’s not an activity that needs to be done every month; they should be able to grasp it after a few times, as they’ll know what to look for, and your finance team should only have to check in every so often once the branch manager has that understanding.

 

4. Use financials as a success measuring tool.

This seems like both a no-brainer and something that many do already, whether it’s in the form of a monthly ranking system or a “business health check-in”. However, it’s still something worth noting. So much emphasis is put on production numbers and origination revenue that they are considered true measures of success, yet, as I mentioned above, they really aren’t.

 

Leveraging your branches’ financials as success measuring tools is important to not only give managers a look at the health of their business but to also show them the actual areas that need improvement and gives them a jumping-off point to achieve better profitability. On the reverse side, it can help highlight the areas that some branches are excelling, giving the opportunity to call out their specific successes.

 

All in all, just as your finance department watches the company’s bottom line, the branches’ bottom lines are just as important to a mortgage bank’s success. If you’d like to see how other Loan Vision users are leveraging the Branch Portal to communicate effectively with their branches, join Carl and me on November 3 for a discussion with Tricia Sobon of American Pacific Mortgage and Janet McClusky of Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group.

 

 

 

About the Author


Jordan Pavelka

 

Jordan Pavelka is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Loan Vision, the mortgage industry’s fastest growing provider of accounting and financial management solutions. She is responsible for the company's marketing efforts and brand management. You can reach her by email at jordan.pavelka@bestborn.com or by phone at (724) 216-5266.

 

The accounting department at FBC Mortgage, LLC (“FBC”) was trying to keep up with the rest of the company's growth, however they had outgrown the legacy system that was implemented in 2011. Dissatisfaction came to a head when a system upgrade ended up shutting their department down for days. Even after the system was fixed, the department was still having more issues than before. 

Dyron Watford, CFO at FBC, began searching for a solution that would expand on the loan level capabilities of their old tool, while providing some much-needed reliability to the department and a frustrated team. Knowing the cost to customize a generic accounting system was too high, he came to the conclusion that Loan Vision was the solution to many of their problems and began to prepare for its implementation. However, with an understaffed department and a go-live set for the beginning of the year, the accounting team at FBC still had an uphill battle. Luckily our implementation process, which has been honed over 150 different mortgage banks, is not only clear and concise, but also a key driver in the success of our customers on the system. Dyron and his team got first-hand experience with this, facing adversity that was out of their control, but still able to make their go-live a reality. Since starting on the Loan Vision system, the accounting team at FBC is operating more efficiently than they have in years, with Dyron stating, “We’re twenty times the size we were the last time we operated this smoothly.”

How is this possible? Firstly, they aren’t spending hours manipulating their LOS data to get the information they need due to Loan Vision’s import automation bringing that data in overnight. It allows them to get in to work, start the day, and know the information they need is available to them. This automation also eliminates a number of errors, giving them the freedom to move forward. “We typically have 95-97% of our imports going in correctly the first time without us having to look at it. It’s been a huge time saver for the group,” said Dyron. “When we come in, we’re able to put yesterday to rest and concentrate on how we can benefit the company for the rest of the day.”

Secondly, Loan Vision reports on real-time data, so there’s never any guess work. They are able to supply accurate, analytical reports that their executives can use to make the hard-hitting decisions. “Our executives always want to know where we are at this very minute and with Loan Vision, we’re able to make that happen,” expressed Dyron. “In today’s market especially, analyzing data at a speed where you can make an appropriate decision is a must. I have the confidence in this system that when I provide that data, it’s real-time and it’s correct.”

While Dyron and his team are in a much better spot, they are still excited about what more they can do on the system and what advancements Loan Vision will bring in the future. “It took us years to master our old accounting system. A little over a year after implementation, I realize we really have just scratched the surface with Loan Vision,” Dyron admitted. “Not only do we continue to learn more about the solution’s capabilities, the team at Loan Vision is constantly improving, adding new tools that further smooth out our processes. It really makes a difference, systematically, for teams and for companies our size.”

To learn more about FBC Mortgage’s successes with Loan Vision, check out the case study here. 

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Testimonials
With Loan Vision, growth has been facilitated through allowing the business to run reports and extract key data quickly and efficiently"
Oystein Konsmo, Chief Financial Officer, NOVA® Homes Loans
Moving to the latest version of Loan Vision will allow us to automate more and get more information to the decision makers in the branches without them having to reach out to the head office
Oystein Konsmo, Chief Financial Officer, NOVA® Homes Loans