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Mortgage brokers and wholesale lenders have risen from the depths of despair as a result of the shift to a purchase market and greater consumer demand for a more informed and seamless borrowing experience. But to keep that momentum going, brokers must effectively manage the challenges that come with a growing business and capitalize on emerging opportunities better than their retail lending peers.

"Consumers are starting to recognize the value of going to a broker again," said Irene Amato, the owner and CEO of A.S.A.P. Mortgage, a mortgage brokerage based in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. "The media and everything that happened in the meltdown put a stigma on the brokers that in my opinion wasn't accurate."

The value proposition is the product options that mortgage brokers can give to consumers that bank and retail mortgage lenders can't.

"All a mortgage broker does all day, every day is mortgages. So the main focus of our daily job description is getting these mortgages done in a way that is as most transparent as possible. The consumers are starting to realize that. I think there is a big opportunity for brokers to grow their shop," Amato said.

Employment has reached levels last seen in December 2007, when the housing crisis took hold and nearly wiped out the industry.

There were 99,700 people working as mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers in August, a gain of 9,000 from one year prior, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since January 2015, nearly 25,000 mortgage broker jobs have been added.

The broker business is taking people away from other parts of the mortgage industry.

"Loan officers leaving retail lenders and banks to become mortgage brokers has been a big trend in 2017, and will continue in 2018, 2019 and beyond," said United Wholesale Mortgage President and CEO Mat Ishbia. "A growing number of loan officers are seeing that mortgage broker shops are the best place for them to work, with all the product, pricing and service options."

From recruitment strategies to leveraging technology without losing the personal touch, here's a look at four challenges and opportunities for the resurgent mortgage broker channel.


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