In this Q&A, I spoke to Mike Bertarelli about his role as a loan officer. He talked about why he chose to work in the mortgage industry, what motivates him to keep climbing and his top tip for people looking to buy a home.
Why did you choose to get into the mortgage business?
For me, it was not really a choice. I came into this position after graduating from college in 2014. During this time, I had worked a few sales jobs. The mortgage industry fell into my lap at this company. I kind of jumped on it. I knew it would be a lot of customer-based work. It was really important to me to not just sit behind a desk and plug away on data entry.
I like to talk to people. I found out quickly that there is a lot that goes into a mortgage. I realized how big getting a mortgage is for people, how there are many factors that go into it, and it made me stay. The importance of mortgage itself made me want to help others.
I have been with the company for five years. I went to the University of Missouri – Columbia (Mizzou) and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in busines administration with an emphasis in marketing.
What does a typical day look like for you?
As a loan officer, my days kind of blend together. We’re on our phones a lot since everything is digitized. One thing you learn quickly in this position is that our clients also have jobs. It’s my job to handle things for them outside of work hours. I would say you wake up, check emails, and make sure you’re getting priorities on from the night before.
Whether something pops up with the IRS or an income issue, we hop on them pretty quick. I work with a lot of different clients across the country. How my day looks will depend on each loan situation. We go through the pipeline to make sure our customers are updated with what’s happening with their loan, which takes one to three hours a day. We’re known for not being a big bank but rather people who want make the mortgage process a little easier for our clients.
The approach I take is that our clients are hands-on and want to know what we’re doing to accomplish their goals. We get a lot of incoming inquiries from commercials shown during sports games. We are also known for following up with people who reach out to us. I prefer to call and talk to people as opposed to email because it’s more personable. The rest of my time is spent taking care of things that pop up. No two days are the same in the world of a loan officer, which makes my job pretty cool. It’s always changing.
What motivates you to keep climbing every day at work?
I think it’s a great question to ask now. Working from home can be a challenge. We have our professional goals. It’s not just about meeting the goal for the company, but I take the clients into consideration. They have real lives that will be affected by their decision to buy a home and use us to do their loan. To me, I always think about how we can be the best lender. There are hundreds upon hundreds of lenders. When I get a client, I think to myself that they chose us, and I take the responsibility of this seriously. I enjoy the prospect of helping people out with their situation.
I have a personal duty to my job. Loan officers take an exam to become accredited by different states in order to do this line of work. You know this is a serious job when you talk to people about their careers’ worth of finances to buy a home or completing a cash out refinance because so much is riding on the line for the client. To be able to figure out solutions and help people to get where they want to be with their finances is rewarding in a sense. People can get so much out of having a lower mortgage payment such as pay off their student loans or pay off other significant debt. To the average borrower, their home payment is their biggest bill or their biggest piece of debt.
You have to be on your “A Game” because you’re dealing with the livelihood of another person. There are probably loan officers out there who clock in at 9 a.m. and out at 5 p.m. We don’t live by that here. Ryan Kelley had a hand in training us to handle the position responsibly. We honor that people trust us with this important decision so sometimes we work around the clock to do a good job in our positions.
What is your top tip for people looking to buy a home?
Do your research!
I think there is a lot of information out there that is really important that you should look into. You should call us (shameless plug) if you have any questions about anything. The odds are good that the questions you have are questions that we have already answered. You must really figure what you want before you make that call.
Additionally, make sure you are prepared to handle the cut-throat market we have right now. You can’t be on the sidelines. You have to be all in, prepared and ready to make the decision on the home you want to own. Once you do all of this, the hardest part is over. We can take it from there.