With many companies, this is not an issue, because they will not consider part-time loan officers. This is especially true of banks and larger mortgage banking entities, while smaller brokers are more likely to entertain this question.
If it is not against your business model, there may not be a clear-cut answer to this question. Many take the position that the addition of a salesperson who can bring in one loan each month will add positively to the bottom line. This is especially so within a small company that is not providing benefits, desks, technology or other support. Others will not look at someone who is not a full-time productive producer.
Let us take a look at a few of the issues that may affect the decision-making process in this regard:
- Some employment situations would rule out the hiring of a part-time producer, especially one who is learning the business. For example, perhaps the company is a real estate-owned mortgage firm and the loan officer is assigned to an office. That salesperson may be responsible for servicing the office—usually much more than forty hours each week. Other companies invest many resources within their sales force, paying draws and/or benefits, conducting training, providing marketing support and more. This substantial investment may preclude the support of part-time loan officers who would tend to be lower producers.
- The person may have skills and/or experience that would enable them to be very productive on a part-time basis.
- The person may have skills and/or experience that would be helpful to the company. For example, perhaps the person is from the world of Information Technology. How many small companies would love access to an IT person on a regular basis?
- Their full-time job may give the individual access to a large sphere of influence. It is one thing if the candidate is a security officer working in an empty building at night. This would give them no access to relationships. On the other hand, perhaps the candidate is a financial advisor with a built-in customer base and also the skills to understand the concepts that are important within the industry.
- The goals of the candidate are very important as well. Does the candidate have a goal of transitioning to the industry full-time? Or are they just trying to earn a few extra dollars?
Managers often complain that their loan officers are not working “enough” hours. For some workers, full-time means 30 hours per week, for others it means 70 hours. For some, part-time means five hours per week, for others it means 30 hours. It is important to set expectations and define the effort that will be involved in the business.
Though the hours they work each week are important, it is even more important to understand that what a manager should be looking for is results. When a manager complains about a loan officer’s hours, would they be complaining if they were working the same hours but producing ten loans per month? Not likely.
Finally, it is very important to get these expectations out on the table. If someone has a goal of transitioning into full-time, it is not enough to say "I want to originate full-time eventually, what is the time-line? What must be accomplished and by when to achieve this goal?" Once again, you must be specific in setting these goals, timelines and expectations. Regardless of the expectations, the key will be hiring the right person, not whether they start part-time or full-time.