WHY PRO­FES­SION­AL­ISM MAT­TERS

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It’s been my great honor to have spent the last 25 years with mort­gage pro­fes­sion­als across the coun­try, work­ing in all as­pects of the in­dus­try. Some of my clos­est friends are our staunch­est com­peti­tors. I con­sider my­self for­tu­nate to have found the mort­gage in­dus­try as my pro­fes­sion, and I’m proud to have built a life around the peo­ple con­nected to it. Un­for­tu­nately, while the vast ma­jor­ity of pro­fes­sion­als in our in­dus­try con­duct them­selves in a way that el­e­vates the crit­i­cal role we play in hous­ing, a vo­cal mi­nor­ity has emerged and threat­ens the rep­u­ta­tion of us all. This group uses em­bar­rass­ing lan­guage, in­ten­tion­ally mis­lead­ing nar­ra­tives, mis­in­for­ma­tion and even flat-out lies about com­peti­tors for their self­ish gains. This ap­proach is un­like any­thing I’ve wit­nessed and causes me great con­cern for an in­dus­try and group of peo­ple I care for very deeply. Quicken Loans Mort­gage Ser­vices (QLMS) is in a great po­si­tion – our com­pany has been grow­ing sub­stan­tially. We’ve made sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments in build­ing our bro­ker part­ners’ busi­ness, and our in­creased mar­ket share and strong re­la­tion­ships with our part­ners show it is pay­ing off. So why does it mat­ter how oth­ers are be­hav­ing? Isn’t this all just part of “gritty” com­pe­ti­tion? Make no mis­take, nei­ther I, nor Quicken Loans Mort­gage Ser­vices, are fazed by name-call­ing. We’ve seen this hap­pen far too many times to be both­ered. How­ever,

I do think this “race to the bot­tom,” as it per­tains to pro­fes­sion­al­ism, has con­se­quences, and without enough brave peo­ple will­ing to stand up and say “enough is enough,” it will end with grave con­se­quences. The bro­ker com­mu­nity has done a spec­tac­u­lar job of grow­ing its share and in­flu­ence in the 10 years since the mar­ket crash. These strides have been born out of hard work, pas­sion and the will­ing­ness of the bro­kers to grind and do all they can for their clients. These hard-fought gains would be a shame to lose at the hands of a few bad ac­tors. Ci­vil­ity, pro­fes­sion­al­ism and in­tegrity mat­ter tremen­dously in the mort­gage busi­ness and even more in daily life.

Ci­vil­ity mat­ters be­cause thought­ful dis­course on ideas helps us grow and re­fine our in­dus­try. Through this dis­cus­sion, we learn and un­der­stand. For in­stance, there is noth­ing wrong with sell­ing ser­vic­ing on mort­gages. That busi­ness de­ci­sion, with its in­her­ent strengths and lim­i­ta­tions, should be ob­vi­ous to all. Of course, there are also draw­backs, but these busi­ness mod­els can be con­tem­plated and de­bated without vil­i­fy­ing oth­ers’ char­ac­ter or in­tent. These dis­cus­sions should also be viewed through the lense of the clients we all serve. Their voice seems to have been lost in the bit­ter­ness.

Pro­fes­sion­al­ism is the ante to play in our in­dus­try, or at least it should be. Pub­lic mud­sling­ing and child­ish po­si­tion­ing that in no way aims to ben­e­fit the con­sumer will not help us earn the very im­por­tant trust of leg­is­la­tors or those we hope to serve. We can be so much stronger when we act in a pro­fes­sional man­ner and work to­gether to ben­e­fit our in­dus­try, our part­ners and our clients.

In­tegrity is cru­cial be­cause we hold lead­er­ship po­si­tions in our com­mu­ni­ties, and our clients, who are in our neigh­bor­hoods and across the coun­try, trust us to have their best in­ter­ests in mind. Telling half-truths and spread­ing false in­for­ma­tion to ad­vance a po­si­tion hurts ev­ery­one and should not be ac­cepted by pro­fes­sion­als. “Honor” and “com­pe­ti­tion” are not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive. They are time­tested meth­ods for grow­ing in­dus­tries and re­la­tion­ships. We can - and should - ex­pect more of each other. The bro­ker chan­nel has an ex­cit­ing fu­ture. This is a fu­ture that we have the op­por­tu­nity to shape ev­ery day. I fully ex­pect QLMS and our com­peti­tors to fight tooth and nail for ev­ery client, ev­ery loan. Com­pe­ti­tion makes us bet­ter and, quite frankly, pro­vides mort­gage bro­kers with what bro­kers truly want: great pric­ing, in­no­va­tive prod­ucts, ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy, world-class pro­cesses and out­stand­ing client ser­vice. Let’s not al­low those who are den­i­grat­ing and de­ceiv­ing gain more of a foothold in our in­dus­try. In­stead, let’s en­cour­age them to join the ma­jor­ity of bro­kers who are rolling up their sleeves to be builders of our in­dus­try and our com­mu­ni­ties. Bul­ly­ing may drive head­lines and at­ten­tion, but in the end, those gains will be short-lived and leave the in­dus­try you and I love in the rub­ble. I chal­lenge us to stand up to those who be­have un­pro­fes­sion­ally and to de­mand bet­ter, know­ing they don’t speak for the rest of us. Let’s get back to fo­cus­ing on what we do best: pro­vid­ing fi­nanc­ing for the Amer­i­can dream.

Dave Schroeder QLMS, Sr. Vice Pres­i­dent

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