How to Make Sure Every Loan Officer Gets the Right Leads

October 27, 2021

The MBA’s latest data shows that loan costs are at an all-time high for mortgage lenders, averaging $8,668 per loan. But costs have been trending upward for years now, forcing lenders to consider every lever they have to manage costs and maximize value.

One of those levers is ensuring that every lead goes to the right loan officer – easy enough to say, but complex to execute. Still, getting this right can have serious bottom-line benefits. In addition to enabling your team to close more loans more quickly, it can improve customer experience, which has implications for retention and referrals.

Here are three ways to make sure leads get to the right loan officer.

1. Upgrade Your Call Center Technology

Defining what the “right” lead for the “right” loan officer means is complicated. It depends on many factors, including borrower attributes, borrower intent score, lead cost, technical capabilities, state licensing coverage, lender SLA policies, and, in many cases, just borrower preferences.

Beyond that, timing matters. Loan officers must be quick to connect – and consistent at following up. Your call center technology should be able to take that behavior into consideration as well as the factors above so that borrowers who have the highest tendency to transact are connected with loan officers with the greatest likelihood to meet their needs.

For example, if a borrower is interested in a jumbo loan for a second home in Minnesota, your call center should be able to immediately route them to the loan officer with a Minnesota license and experience with jumbo loans for second homes. The journey from lead to customer isn’t guaranteed, but the odds certainly look good.

Compare that with what might happen if your call center uses round robin lead distribution. The borrower may connect with someone who’s never handled a jumbo loan before – or who isn’t familiar with the nuances in documentation required for first and second homes.

And this is true for every lead that comes in. A round-robin distribution fails to take into consideration logic like loan officer KPIs (funding volume, talk time, follow-up attempts, etc.), which can give a higher-converting agent more opportunities.

Unfortunately, off-the-shelf call center technology isn’t always built to distribute leads with this level of sophistication. To consistently make sure that loan officers get the right leads – and therefore that you close as many loans as possible – you’ll likely need custom software or customized add-ons to your current solution.

2. Add Smart Routing Logic

Of course, not all leads come in through the call center. To ensure that the right leads get to the right loan officers regardless of origin, you’ll need routing logic for your other lead sources, as well.

This means, for example, that you have logic in place to route direct leads who attempt to make contact with a loan officer who’s not currently working or has left your organization. It means having a system for determining whose contact information is on which direct mailers. When referrals come in through partners, it means having a system for assessing their needs and connecting them to the right LO as quickly as possible.

Smart routing should also allow multidimensional scoring for loan officers. Agents should score higher on the leads they’re best at – by product, source, or campaign. This means every agent actually has multiple scores, ranked among their coworkers for each type of lead that might come in (see Figure 1).

Agents Rating by Lead Type

Figure 1: Agent ratings by lead type

With this logic in place, a lead always gets the best configuration of available agents for their situation (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Leads get the best assortment of agents available

In addition to getting the right leads to the right people, routing logic and multidimensional scoring help ensure that your loan officers don’t have to spend their time and energy figuring out where to transfer calls or forward emails. They can spend their energy doing what they do best. The result: better close rates and happier employees.

3. Use Capping Logic

Again, a big reason off-the-shelf solutions are rarely adequate to the mortgage lenders’ lead management needs is that those needs are incredibly nuanced.

For example, while more experienced LOs should generally have access to more valuable leads, it’s also important to ensure less experienced folks occasionally have access to leads that let them expand their skills – and get the associated bigger-than-usual commission that can do wonders for job satisfaction and engagement.

Lenders can systematize this with capping logic in their lead distribution systems. Again, easier said than done. Getting this logic right requires a combination of deep industry understanding (not only of lead ranking but also of LO psychology) to create the right logic and deep technical experience to automate it.

Once in place, though, effective capping logic can improve not only close rates but also overall morale.

Higher Revenue, Lower Turnover

Correct lead distribution makes your team more efficient and increases your close rates, both of which help decrease your overall cost per loan. Beyond that, though, effective lead distribution and the fulfillment it provides can mean lower turnover on your sales team – which can translate to non-negligible savings.

While off-the-shelf software solutions can’t provide lenders with the sophisticated tech they need to get lead placement right every time, custom solutions can, whether they’re built from scratch or add-ons to what lenders already have in place.

Ntersol’s team has deep experience in mortgage lending, software development, and software development for the mortgage industry. We’d love to help you figure out a solution to route your leads better and reduce your overall loan costs in the process.

To start the process, get in touch today.

Author: Mark Hansen
About: Mark Hansen is chief product officer at NTERSOL. For more than two decades, he’s been developing digital solutions for mortgage and real estate. In his current role, Mark combines his deep industry and technical knowledge with his communication prowess to solve clients’ thorniest problems and make sure everyone involved is on the same page throughout the process.