8 things to know about the post-layoff mortgage workforce

People with mortgage industry experience might have opportunities in technology or in other financial services, noted Levin.

“I do see opportunities for those folks with those types of companies, whether it be in customer success, or customer experience positions, marketing and support in general, because those companies do continue to expand, especially the ones that are verticalized, they’re not just tied to the mortgage industry,” Levin said. “They may touch other financial services platforms as well.”

But the skills needed to manufacture a mortgage have left some workers pigeonholed, since they are not necessarily exchangeable with many other businesses, Hrobon said. Mortgage lending is highly regulated; even underwriters for government-guaranteed products need to have approvals.

These workers are “entrepreneurial and independent thinking and highly specialized in terms of technical knowledge that may not be transferable,” Hrobon said.

On the other hand, because of the regulated environment created by Dodd-Frank, when “you look at the specialization, not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of project management, in terms of digital marketing solutions, our industry has advanced, grown up, in tremendous ways,” Hrobon said. “I used to comment that a loan officer used to be a salesperson; today they are a salesperson, they’re a technician and they’re highly competent if they’re successful, with a skilled level of emotional intelligence, because it’s not for the faint of heart.”

They’d likely land in industries that call for someone “who knows how to grasp technical items, has sales skills, communication skills, is accountable, disciplined, hard-working, and, has learned, whether it’s by schooling or by the school of hard knocks, a level of empathy, understanding and personal awareness of emotional intelligence,” such as pharmaceutical and medical equipment sales, Hrobon said. 

“The challenge is going to be there’s a lot of sales positions, but they’re not as highly compensated,” he added. “So you’re going to look at it and you’re going to say, ‘where can I find an industry that historically compensates on the upper end?'”

In the back office, retail closers average compensation was $71,285 last year; the average processor, $76,422. For a retail underwriter it was $137,117.

“An underwriter is a role that requires not only high technical skills but it’s a licensed role,” Hrobon said. “That licensed role commands a premium in our industry, which really is not transferable outside of the mortgage industry.”

Logistics is another area where former mortgage people are finding jobs, said Angela Hood, CEO of ThisWay Global, which provides a matching engine for employers and job seekers.

“I think people have identified that when you can handle getting someone approved and getting all of the paperwork and all the documentation pulled together and you can be the manager of that,” Hood noted. It can help moving goods around, especially those that come from overseas.

“They feel comfortable and they feel like that they’re qualified and that they will fit in well, possibly with the other people that work in that industry, because culture matters a lot,” she said. “There’s just other opportunities where people can take their skills that they learned in the mortgage industry, which is crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s, and they can leverage that in another industry that’s growing.”

Technology is another area she sees ex-mortgage workers gravitating to, for positions such as being a SalesForce administrator.

But across all industries, approximately 40% of job seekers are looking in another industry. “It’s a case of, you know, the grass is greener on the other side,” Hood said. “They think that possibly there’s a better work-life balance or there is less fluctuation in how they are treated or how much demand there is for what they do.”

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