Churchill Mortgage is on pace to originate at least $1 billion in mortgages this year, the first time the company will break that barrier.
It has added more than 30 new employees to its staff and it is still looking for people in all areas including sales and operations. It has added branches in its home state of Tennessee as well as Tupelo, Miss.
But that is not the only personnel initiative the company is undertaking. Its chief operating officer Matthew Clarke states, “An investment in training is so important” for a mortgage lender and the Brentwood, Tenn.-based firm is putting its money where its mouth is.
The company is training five recent college graduates in all aspects of the mortgage industry. There is no set time frame on any aspect of the training, although the goal is to complete the course in two years. Each of the five participants is able to learn at his or her pace.
Brentwood is in the Nashville area. One of the reasons Churchill is starting this program is that as the company celebrates its 20th anniversary and as it reflects over its time in business, Clarke said its success is in many ways due to its commitment to its local community.
The company decided to provide some of the people from its local community jobs. Right now, jobs are difficult to find for those who have plenty of experience, he said, let alone for those who are just out of college.
These recent graduates are not being offered the same kinds of opportunities that Clarke said he had when he started his career 25 years ago.
So the company is bringing in young people who need a job and work with them over a couple of years “and we’ll teach them our business.
“You can’t do that with 100 people, but you can do five at a time. And it helps fill the needs that we have in a growth mode for resources,” Clarke said.
The first five trainees are Christopher Forbes, Benjamin Goodwin, Lawson Hardwick, Grant MacFarland and Richard Sharp.
It also helps to combat another problem affecting the mortgage industry as of late. The bust brought the number of newcomers to the industry to a grinding halt, and many others on the lower end of the experience scale elected to or were forced to leave.
“Finding talent right now is a challenge, because if you do have a great deal of experience, most likely if you are good you are working. And if you are not good, you’re available and those are not the people we want.
“We want people we can train to do the business the way we found doing the business is most successful,” Clarke said, adding this program could create the next generation of leaders. These people are not jumping into any one area of the business, but going around learning each area from the ground up.
From its end, Churchill will have the confidence that these people will thoroughly learn the business through the program.
As for the future, the plan right now is to bring in another group of people to put through the program. Clarke said it is a good model for other companies to consider using. But it is an investment, because it does take time from the leadership team to train folks and get them up and running and following up to make sure they are becoming a productive member of the organization.
Churchill has spent time and money on regular leadership training for its people on a number of industry topics. Subsequent to the interview with Clarke, it announced a partnership with sales trainer Ron Quintero, the CEO of Real Estate Radio Network.
Quintero will work with Churchill on recruiting, training, motivating and retaining loan officers. With his help, the company has created a recruiting and training website, http://www.joinchurchill.com. The site has employee testimonials and informational videos about Churchill’s philosophy and information about how to apply for open positions.