Customer Service Still Key in Mortgage Lending

Written by Inlanta Mortgage Inc. Third Party Originations Manager, Dave Stephan.

Bad customer service is nothing new.  I’m sure that as long as there has been an exchange of goods and services among humankind even the first caveman probably muttered something about waiting in line too long to get his share of wooly mammoth.

At times, I feel like we’re resigned to receiving bad service or, at worst, simply grown to expect it.  Often, companies are striving to maximize profitability and cut costs where savings can be easily and quickly achieved.  Low staffing and training levels lead to high turnover, which leads to increased costs, which leads to lower staffing/training, and the cycle renews itself.

I was treated (yes, treated – more on that later) to one of the most shocking examples of poor service recently at the 2017 Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association’s Spring Real Estate Conference. Imagine a typical conference lunch among your peers. Food is served, water and coffee are poured, and oops! Your server fills your glass (leaning in waaay over your back) until it overflows on the table and you notice it happens to the person next to you, and another, and another. Now, the server is talking on his cell phone while trying to pick up dishes.

He drops a tray and asks a diner to hold some dirty dishes while he picks up some others. Soon, mouths in the room are agape and people are whispering. Cell phones come out to record for several minutes what looks to be a social media worthy disaster in the making. Then, the server begins heckling the lunch speaker! Beyond the worst service ever.

As it turns out (and as you might have guessed), the server, Don Pryor, AKA The World’s Worst Waiter, was the lunch entertainment. The gig was up when the keynote speaker, as he was being heckled, challenged Don to come up to the podium to see if he could do better. Don spoke for several minutes about his experiences doing this skit over the years, recounting reactions ranging from mild annoyance to threats of physical harm. It was one of the most memorable conference experiences I’ve had and it got me thinking.

As bad customer service experiences go, it was fascinating to see how polite and tolerant the audience was, at least until things went way over the top. Perhaps, in a less public setting, things would have been different but I suspect we have indeed lowered our expectations in these kinds of interactions. Given a slightly less outrageous spectacle, I think most would have chalked the experience up to, “what can you expect?”, and hardly given it a second thought.

Mortgage Lending is at its core, a customer service business. We sell an intangible product that through all the technological advances of the last decade or so, still hinges on the interaction between borrower and lender. As such, we’re susceptible to the same lessening of expectations of any customer service business, even something as different as food service.

We can help your institution focus on that customer interaction by leveraging Inlanta’s Third Party Origination program and the expertise that a billion-dollar lender can bring to the table. Your originators can manage the customer experience for all your FHA, VA, USDA, RD, and even conventional loans and we take care of the rest.

We’ll help you originate more and worry less.  Need more information?  Email me at davestephan@inlanta.com or call 262.754.6292 or visit our LinkedIn page.

What Makes Inlanta Great? Ask Our CEO & COO!

This past year has been one of growth and great opportunity for our company, Inlanta Mortgage, and as we continue to expand our team of rock star professionals, we asked ourselves the question- what makes Inlanta great? We wondered, what makes us different from other companies, what do we have to offer, and what is our “wow” factor?

Rather than pondering the question ourselves, we decided to ask our very own President & CEO, Nick DelTorto, and our COO, Paul Buege, their thoughts on the matter. We were more than excited to receive a response of the top 5 things from each of them below!

Nick DelTorto, President & CEO, Inlanta Mortgage:

  1. “Goldie Locks” We are the right size! Too big, and you feel that you are not important and get lost in the shuffle. Too small, and you find it difficult to get the platform support, tools, loan programs, and pricing execution you need to accommodate volume.
  2. You have a voice – We are a production/customer-centric company. During company transitions, such as our move to a new LOS system and regular process improvements, we listen to our employees and act on sound, responsible improvements to better our processes, procedures, and products. Our Advisory Board represents our branches and directly influences decisions about the company’s direction and strategy. They are a group that is elected by their peers, not senior management.
  3. We communicate… a lot! – The good, the bad, or the ugly, we communicate and are always transparent with everyone. Our culture is open, family-oriented, and challenging, and our code of ethics are the guidelines for us all to follow. We challenge each other and hold each other accountable so that we can achieve our personal best! Our huddle keeps everyone informed and creates alignment in our mutual goals and achievements. The pipeline newsletter communicates all company news. There is also a monthly manager call, processing call, and department head meetings along with our COO daily 15-minute morning meeting to discuss the day’s and week’s objectives and tactics.
  4. Our leadership team – We are a team of seasoned mortgage veterans that have worked together for many years and some, for careers. There is a continuity, collaboration, and mutual respect for all of the different skills we each bring. No politics, posturing, and bureaucracy. Just a mutual respect and deep commitment to Inlanta and the success of this company. And, we enjoy each other’s company!
  5. Mortgage banking for grown-ups! – Mortgage professionals with an entrepreneurial spirit thrive in our system! You have the ability to run your business (no one looking over your shoulder) and share in the value you create, all with the support of a strong platform and culture where everyone supports each other’s efforts across all departments. It’s the Midwest culture of great people that believe in hard work, honesty, and integrity and people feel it when they are here. Lots of companies talk about culture, but few really have it. The only way for people to actually feel it is to come for a visit, call and talk to other professionals in the company, or ask about us to others in the industry – let’s start a conversation!

Paul Buege, Chief Operating Officer, Inlanta Mortgage:

  1. The power of momentum Inlanta is a refreshed, invigorated company. We’re growing and expanding. We’re a winning organization with a sense of urgency and pride to always be better, and we are getting noticed by top industry professionals!
  2. Our offering – service, consistency & reliability – One unified corporate goal is supported by every employee each and every day: create a great consumer experience that is always completed ahead of schedule and always on time.
  3. Who says work can’t be fun?We look for ways to make our work environment relaxed, positive, and productive. Our employees look forward to coming to work each day to support each other.
  4. Balanced leadership, dedication to both consumers and employees– Leadership at Inlanta is focused on treating customers and employees well. It’s simply the right thing to do!
  5. Entrepreneurial spirit – We give employees a voice regardless of position, seniority, or rank. Employees at Inlanta are allowed and encouraged to feel like the owner and are motivated to think anything can be possible. Decisions get simplified and are made quicker, driving better results.

Special thanks to Nick & Paul for the great answers! If Inlanta sounds like the place for you, contact us today to learn more about our winning team.

Pura Vida! Inlanta Mortgage Celebrates Successful 2016 with Rewards Trip

Last month, our Inlanta Mortgage rewardees jetted off to beautiful Costa Rica to celebrate what was truly a successful year not only for our team members but for our company as a whole as well.

Most of the group arrived on Sunday, March 5th, though some of them came in a day early to have extra time to relax and explore Costa Rica. Sunday evening was spent unpacking and unwinding after the long day of travel. First thing Monday morning, employees were invited to a breakfast meeting where the senior leadership team led a discussion on any pressing issues that needed to be addressed and solicited topics that should be on the agenda for Fall’s annual sales conference.

On Tuesday, March 7th, Inlanta hosted an awards event to give special recognition to the deserving recipients. Despite the occasional gust of wind, they had a beautiful dinner and awards ceremony in the resort’s outdoor Spa Garden. Inlanta President & CEO Nick DelTorto emceed the evening, starting out with a touching tribute to Joe Ramis, an invaluable member of the Inlanta family who passed away from Cancer in 2016. The tribute set the scene for the introduction of the Joe Ramis Rising Star Award, an award that will be given out every year to someone who embodies the qualities that Joe demonstrated every day—integrity, respect, strong work ethic and character, and the dedication to helping others succeed. The inaugural Rising Star Award recipient was Rob Stettler, Branch Manager of Inlanta’s Sarasota, FL office. Rob, a close friend of Joe’s, has grown exponentially since he started working with Inlanta, has become an advocate for the company, and personally helped Joe throughout his battle with cancer. We could not think of a more deserving recipient for this first award!

As we moved onto the rest of the awards, Nick introduced each award recipient with a funny quip or anecdote. Awards and recognition included the Corporate Citizenship and Leadership Excellence Award, Reward Trip Recipients, and Top Producers.

Inlanta 2016 MVP’s included Cindy Laffey, Mortgage Planner and Branch Partner of Overland Park, KS; Jim Snyder, Branch Manager of Pewaukee, WI; Rob Stettler,; Josh Badciong, Marketing & IT Systems Specialist of Pewaukee, WI; and Carla Blazek, Underwriting Manager of Pewaukee, WI.

The rest of the trip, guests had time to explore nearby towns and go on excursions such as harvesting coffee beans and packaging their own coffee, visiting waterfalls, riding ATV’s, and zip lining. A group even went fishing and brought back enough fish to feed 20 people, which the resort graciously prepared for them!

Our Reward Trip Recipients are selected based on all scorecard criteria, including but not limited to Volume, Units, Loan Quality, Purchase Volume, Pull Through, Market Penetration, and Good Company citizenship.

Where will we go next and will YOU be joining us? Contact us today to learn more about our rewards program and how you can become a top producer at Inlanta Mortgage.