What a year it has been! Certainly, none of us saw any of this coming – from a global pandemic that has changed how we live and work to a record-breaking year in the mortgage industry – but we are proud to look back on the year and know that the Priority Mortgage team stepped up to the challenges put in front of them.
We recently sat down with Priority Mortgage President, Brad Ratliff, to get his reflections on this past year, and what he sees coming in 2021.
This year was different for so many reasons. What was unique and positive for Priority Mortgage?
During 2020, we more than doubled our production from last year while only adding seven new members to our team. This meant that our staff really had to step up in a big way to meet the challenges that come from all of that increased production. And not only did they step up, but our company climbed the list of top local mortgage lenders – which includes banks, mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers like Priority Mortgage – from #14 to #13, and most recently #9!
How do you think your business and customer service approach will change (at least parts, possibly forever) as a result of the pandemic?
Priority Mortgage has always been at the forefront of implementing new mortgage technologies. Over the past few years, we have been actively transitioning to fewer face-to-face interactions with our clients, conducting much of our work electronically. While we like the personal relationships that we build with our clients, we have learned that they prefer fewer face-to-face meetings due to their busy schedules. We saw all of this before the pandemic, so we had already begun to shift to this more remote mindset.
Most of our staff had already begun working remotely one or two days per week before the pandemic, so we were prepared to pivot to full remote working when it became necessary. In fact, we didn’t skip a beat when having to work from home. We expect that our industry will change forever in many ways as a result of the challenges and subsequent changes brought by this year.
What advice would you have given to a new loan originator on January 1, 2020, if you had known this year would progress this way?
If giving advice to a new loan officer, I would definitely stress the importance of understanding that what has taken place in 2020 is NOT something expected to happen year after year. Right now, being able to respond to email inquiries and text messages from past borrowers and referrals should keep you busy. But to be successful long-term, you need to be prepared for what is to come. It is critical to align yourself with a lender, like Priority, that has proven to outperform no matter the market conditions so that you can build a secure long-term career.
How do you think your business will change in 2021?
We will preserve and push the importance of the servant mindset in regards to our relationships with referral partners, past clients, and realtors with whom we work. That’s why we are still here – and still successful – after 36 years. By nurturing this mindset, the referrals will come. You just can’t pay for that kind of reputation so I think our future is very bright!
What are you looking forward to in 2021 and beyond for Priority Mortgage?
We implemented several new technology systems this year but didn’t have the time to focus on them because we were so busy. We are looking forward to fully utilizing the impacts that these systems will provide to us and our ability to serve our clients.
We also are looking forward to developing some of our newer loan officers. We have a good group of newer originators who have industry experience and are on that upward swing. It is hard to find people that fit that mold and it is exciting when you do. Over the next few years, we will see the next generation of producers for our company really take off.
We are always seeking talented, driven salespeople to join our team. Learn more about how you can do more with Priority.