Taking Personal Responsibility

OCT 14, 2012 11:26pm ET

The key point in my rabbi’s sermon this past weekend made me think of what is happening in the mortgage sales business on several levels.

Let’s start at the beginning; to be exact the beginning of the Bible, which is what was read in Jewish synagogues this past weekend. It is the story of Adam and Eve as well as Cain and Abel. In both instances, there were cases where the subjects were less than willing to take personal responsibility for their actions.

To tie this theme together, my rabbi cited a study of the top 1% and bottom 1% of neurosurgeons. The finding—the difference between the two groups was not education or training, it was that the top 1% took personal responsibility for their actions, especially when the outcomes were bad.

The bottom 1% on the other hand had a list of excuses for what happened.

For those in the mortgage industry, I would dare say the successful producers have a sense of personal responsibility for their clients; in most of my Producer Profile interviews (such as the one with Sherry Riano) they declare their clients came first, before making money. Some made decisions during the boom years that would cost them income, but the result is that they are still working as mortgage originators today.

As a group, mortgage brokers need to reexamine their standard response of “we were only originating what the secondary market wanted” (which is only somewhat valid) and instead look at their collective culpability on why the industry is now seeing a heavy hand of regulation.

Bob Levy and others had said if the industry does not self-regulate, others will do so and as a result originators might not be happy with the results. Well, guess what happened.

The industry needs to rebuild trust with both the government and public to regain credibility in its calls for a light regulatory touch.

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