♣️ Who is going to write your story? - The Letter X

Mar 15, 2021 2:02 pm




Presented by: EPM


I wrote a couple of weeks back that this decade would be won by the true professionals in our industry. These are the experts, the thought leaders, those that have put in the time and effort to be a master at their craft.


It will not be won by the talking heads, the influencers, or those who are only after the low-hanging fruit. I truly believe that this decade will write the story of what the future of lending looks like and the only question is who is going to write it.


It will be an amazing story, but will it be written by us or by the outsiders?


If we believe and agree that local experts and advisors are what is in the best interest of helping consumers achieve their homeownership goals, then working to create that narrative now.  


We all have the responsibility to innovate and create a modern industry that lasts the tests of time. It will be a struggle, but we will struggle well, collaborate, and show the way as we create our own uniqueness with the ultimate benefit going to the consumer.


Let’s do this together and let’s start today. Enjoy this week!


Say Yes Every Day 

Laura Brandao - President of AFR Wholesale


This week Say YES to being present and fully enjoying the moment you are experiencing. This is the moment when you are calm and you know exactly what you want and you are focused on what you’re doing without any distractions.


Did you know that Laura Brandao wrote a book about Say Yes? Well she did and you can get your copy today by going here. Make your days better by Saying Yes!



Winners Overcome Challenges

If you haven’t figured it out yet challenges are going to happen.

Nothing goes as planned.

Expect it.

Be ready for it.

Learn to see them before they fully materialize.

...but most importantly pay close attention when they arise, because it will show you who the winners are and who the losers are.

Losers argue over "whose fault it is".

Winners just overcome the challenge.

It's that simple.

Be a problem solver.

Surround yourself with problem solvers.

The rest will take care of itself.

Posted by: Andy Frisella 


Diana Bajramovic of MBS Highway



President Biden signed the $1.9T relief package last week, and at MBS Highway, we’ve been talking for a while now about how this may impact unemployment claims. To add some color to this, the additional $300 unemployment benefit was supposed to expire March 14th, but has been extended to September 6th.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance Claims (PUAC), which gives benefits to those that wouldn’t normally qualify for unemployment, as well as Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which extends regular unemployment benefits, were extended until September 6th as well. That being said, some of these individuals are likely receiving more in unemployment that they would be receiving if they were working, so it’s most likely not going to help the jobs picture too much until after they expire in September.



Producer Price Index (PPI) showed in February that the Headline reading was up 0.5%, and this is after a rise of 1.3% in the month prior. This brings the year over year reading from 1.7% to 2.8%, which is a huge jump. The Core reading of inflation, which strips out food and energy prices because of their volatility, rose by 0.2% month over month, and saw a big gain year over year from 2.0% to 2.5%. Energy prices caused much of the increase on the headline number, which were up 6%, food which was up 1.3%, and transportation that came in higher as well.

Since the PPI measures producer inflation, the market tends to not place too much emphasis on this reading, but given these high rates, the markets may start to pay attention. It’s also important to note that since we saw weak inflation in the beginning of the pandemic, we are going to start to see CPI numbers increase significantly year over year above 2%. The same holds true for the PPI.


We recently released a new Social Studio script that breaks down the effect of inflation on the markets and how to help your customers understand why rates may be on the rise to help them take advantage of today’s low rates which are still at extremely attractive levels.


// Have you signed up for TLX-M? TLX Masters is a new opt-in membership where you can receive more specialized content from me on a more frequent basis. If you would like to sign up for the new subscription you can do so here. //


Bowtie Economist Quick Hits


A year ago today, the WHO declared Sars-CoV-2 a global pandemic. Lockdowns commenced and prices of many goods and services collapsed, airline tickets, clothes, oil, as examples, and M-o-M inflation readings went negative in March, April, and May. Comparing those pandemic-induced prices to what they are now will soon show year-over-year inflation rates exceeding 3%/year. Ignore it! These Base Effects are one-off and indicate nothing about current inflationary pressures.


The Powell Fed has made it clear it will continue purchasing Treasuries and MBS for the foreseeable future and keep short-term rates at rock bottom levels, but will not counter rising long-term rates. This is because financial conditions are loose, and liquidity is plentiful. Moreover, the Fed sees inflation as a transient phenomenon. Finally, slightly higher rates due to improving economic conditions are precisely what the Fed wants.


In 2020, motor-vehicle crashes killed 42,060 people, up (yes, up) 8% from 2019. Moreover, vehicle miles driven dropped 13% last year. This means that the rate of road deaths per million miles driven rose 24%, to 1.49, the biggest annual increase since data collection began in 1924. Experts opine that riskier driving on emptier roads is the reason. It was hoped that reduced driving would lead to fewer fatalities. Buckle-up!


February’s job growth of 379,000 and an upward revision of 177,000 to January’s number is good. Restaurants & bars added 289,000 jobs, while recreational outlets, hotels and medical offices added 97,000, reminding us that Covid-19 drives this recovery. All, however, is not peachy. The labor force participation rate declined, as did the length of the work week. But the labor market is healing after stalling earlier and should steadily improve.


Have you joined the Mortgage X Mastermind yet? It is our FREE Facebook Group. 


The Vieaux

Brian Vieaux - President of FinLocker


Rethinking Customer Retention


Despite record levels of lending activity, servicers retained just 18% of the estimated 2.8 million homeowners who refinanced in Q4 2020, the lowest share on record, according to a recent Black Knight report.

While those are staggering statistics, the problem is not new. Black Knight records that retention of rate/term refinance borrowers languished below 20% for much of 2018.

The mortgage industry is not known for its tech advances and creative marketing solutions, which is why it should look around at other product-based industries to rethink retention marketing. Not just to retain borrowers for refinancing but for their repeat purchases and referrals.

Retail companies have invested in retention marketing tactics, such as loyalty programs, for many years, and in 2020 those businesses averaged a 63% retention rate. Consider these stats to understand why it's a worthwhile investment:

·     Over 70% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand if it has a good loyalty program. (Bond)

·     56% of customers stay loyal to brands that "get them." (SmallBizGenius)

·     Nearly 80% of American consumers say that speed, convenience,

knowledgeable help, and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience.

Yet, 59% of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience. (PwC) First-time homebuyers were responsible for 33% of home sales in January 2021. They are tech-savvy and expect their homebuying vendors to provide the same convenience as their other online vendors. To meet consumer expectations, originators should consider a high-tech, high-touch solution that is engaging, equitable, and customizable to each homebuyer as part of their retention strategy.

FinLocker can be the customizable high-tech solution for your loyalty program. Rather than juggling multiple tech solutions to monitor their home value and equity, personal finances, credit score, credit report, and real estate listings search, originators can earn their borrower's loyalty with a white-labeled FinLocker. The app provides an unobtrusive way for lenders to stay top-of-mind with their borrowers while the borrowers interact with these tools in the platform.

Contact me if you’d like to see it for yourself.

What's more, retained customers don't just increase your production volume; they become ambassadors for your business. In an industry where we mostly offer the same products and have little flexibility with pricing, it's the service you provide each customer that will create loyal ambassadors and customers for life.


Be Empowered

Quotes from Women in Business

“Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.”


Arianna Huffington


The Edumarketer

Ginger Bell - Author, Speaker, and found of Edumarketing


Add Video to Your Email Marketing

Sure, you love to send out email marketing. We’ve been doing it for centuries! But, if you want to get people to actually look at your emails you should add video.   

According to Animoto, adding the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribers by 26%.

Adding a video thumbnail into your email also boosts engagement. In fact, just adding a video thumbnail over a plain image can increase your click through rate.

Our two favorite email platforms that easily incorporate video are TotalExpert and BombBomb.  In fact, BombBomb is so easy to use you can record a video directly from your phone and upload it directly into the platform, so if you want to capture the attention of a real estate agent, why not go stand in front of their listing, record a video and send it to them. It will probably get their attention.

Find ways to incorporate video into your email marketing and watch your open rates grow!


Beyond The Numbers

Fobby Naghmi, EVP, National Sales Mgr. of First Option Mortgage


Have you heard the saying “Know your “Why?”” I would imagine most of you reading have heard of it. It’s been talked about for the last several years and it certainly does create a deeper reason for the attainment of one’s goals.


But what about the knowing your “When?” Really! When did you discover your why???


If we all look at just that simple question, most of us can trace it to a moment when all hope had been lost and it looked like the sun would never rise again. Pretty bleak right? But that’s when the magic happens if we are open to it.  


I’ve heard it said, “the nice thing about hitting bottom is there’s only one direction to go from there.” Over the years I’ve added, “as long as you stop digging!”


I won’t bore you with the details about my WHEN moment, but it was in 1996 and it required me to make a decision that changed the trajectory of my life from that moment on. I never want to forget WHEN I found my why, it’s just been that critical to me. 


 Mortgage X Marketing Manifesto

Andew Pawlak, CEO of Leadpops

What's the Closing Rate on Those Leads? 


Understandably, that is a common question when it comes to mortgage marketing for lead generation. 


And the most honest answer is: "It depends."


You give 1 LO 10 leads and she closes 2-3. 


You give the same 10 leads to another LO and he doesn't close any of them.


There's no doubt that you can come up with some metrics around closing rates and should be able to arrive at a range for just about any type of marketing/lead gen campaign...


But that range might be huge, which makes it much less helpful for people that want to know what they can expect from a campaign. 


Identical campaigns running in different geographic areas often produce drastically different results. Location is an example of just 1 of countless variables that affect outcome. 


A few more to consider include:


Timing of follow up. Speed to lead. Disposition of both the sales agent and the prospect. Number of follow up attempts. Quality of follow up attempts. Phone skills. Sales skills. Experience. Systems. Processes. 


I could go on and on. 


Bottom line is it comes down to testing. You have to test things and see for yourself. 


Sure, you can consider the results of other people who are and do things completely different than you.


And you can have all kinds of theories and "gut instinct"... but until you try something out yourself, it's impossible to give it a fair assessment. 


Also, consistency is critical to be able to properly evaluate a marketing channel. 


Jumping from one idea to the next causes many loan officers to never quite realize the fruits of an investment.


Thanks, and I'll catch you on next week's The Letter X!


I hope you enjoyed TLX #44! Now go crush this week!