Is it Better to Work in One Channel or for a Multichannel Company?

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BLOG VIEW: No matter what you do in the mortgage industry, chances are you can do it for a multichannel company or a single channel company.

Which makes for a better career?

I have worked for many multichannel companies in my career, so it may surprise you to know that I do not think it is always the right place to begin.

As you come into the business, concentrating on one discipline at a time will lay an essential foundation of skills and knowledge. Then, when you are ready to grow your career, switching to a multichannel company will give you greater insight and the well-rounded base of experience needed to become a leader in mortgage banking.

Over the years, I have managed a wholesale channel and retail fulfillment channels. I have been fortunate enough to have also overseen wholesale, retail, retention, reverse, and correspondent channels at the same time. There are challenges faced in running multiple channels that don’t occur in single-channel operations. Resolving those diverse challenges builds your leadership skills. 

Each channel is unique, yet the lessons learned from one channel can be invaluable when setting overall strategy and managing others. For example, correspondent channels must run lean, so the people hired in that channel tend to think in that manner. They are masters of operational and workflow efficiencies.

When managing correspondent, I would pick up on those ideas and see ways I could use those tactics in retail or wholesale. Had I stuck to wholesale or retail, I would have uncovered process efficiencies, but I would not have the hands-on experience to employ them as I do.   

Learning to manage diverse processes is invaluable as you grow in your leadership. There are common themes that run across all channels – customer service, dedication, efficiency – but the experience of managing different channels broadens your insight. Your ability to cross-pollinate ideas across channels will make your company leaner and stronger as a whole.

Employee Benefits

From the employee’s perspective, multichannel companies offer opportunities to try different channels. I have had employees who did not do well in retail talking to consumer customers, who excelled in correspondent or wholesale speaking to lenders or brokers. 

Working in a multichannel business also offers you the flexibility of cross-training. You can apply your skills to a new area and grow without having to job-hop companies. You might start in correspondent, then try a position in retail, servicing or correspondent. Your career does not have to be a ladder at a multichannel firm. It can be a lattice, where you move sideways, up and around to challenge yourself.

For those who do enjoy customer-facing roles, a multichannel business model delivers a customer-for-life approach to the business. When the servicing stays with the originator and repeat business goes back to the mortgage loan officers, they can be there for someone’s first home, move-up home, retirement home or second home. It’s a model that allows originators to act as true advisers who fulfill customers’ unique needs at different points in their financial lives.

Employer Benefits

Each channel has unique characteristics and places different demands on employees. Having the ability to move from one channel to another for a better fit or a promotion not only benefits the employee but also the company.

Multichannel companies also offer employment stability in changing markets. When interest rates are low, originations boom. When rates rise, the value of mortgage servicing rights goes up. As the market shifts, one channel’s profits can help carry a less-profitable channel until the next shift occurs.

Some of our leaders have stayed in their respective channels for their entire career, such as correspondent or servicing. Yet, they enjoy working across channels. For example, Planet Management Group, LLC, sends the loans in the portfolios it manages for investors to our Planet Home Lending servicing channel. Together, they share the goal of maximizing portfolio values for asset investors. 

The luxury of working in a multichannel company allows leaders at PMG and in servicing to create value across the company by sharing ideas, working toward common purposes, or bringing in additional assets, making the entire company more profitable.   

Working for a multichannel company strengthens your experience, provides diversity in day-to-day skills, and develops your leadership capability as you learn to pivot between channels. 

Addressing the unique issues and needs in each channel makes you more well-rounded in your thought process. It also makes you more valuable because you can lean on your experience to strategically identify clear solutions to new challenges. That is why for me, the right career path will always be a multichannel road.

Suzy Lindblom is COO at Planet Home Lending.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policy, or position of Planet Home Lending.

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