There was a time when most lenders didn't feel the need to keep their loan officers on a tight leash. They were commission-based employees or contractors who were expected to be self-starters, working on their own initiative and generating leads from real estate brokerage firms and any other sources they could muster up. When the company provided leads to them, lenders felt little need to monitor how those leads were pursued or managed. Originators had plenty of incentive to turn leads into business, and how they went about that work was of little concern to the mortgage company.

But a new mortgage regulatory environment has put lenders under more pressure to monitor and manage how originators interact with potential customers. And an expanding array of technology and electronic commerce has broadened access to consumer leads, and made lead and contact lists more transient than ever. That has raised questions about who owns leads or contacts, and what happens to them when a loan officer leaves a lender.

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