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Best Places to Start a New Mortgage Career

BusinessWeek magazine ranks top 55 companies

September 28, 2006

By PAULA PARISOT


photo of Paula Parisot
Paula Parisot

New hires earned between $45,000 and $55,000 annually and took 25 to 46 paid days off during their first year at mortgage companies that recently ranked among the best places to start a new career.

Feedback from three different sources was reportedly used in BusinessWeek's inaugural Best Places to Launch a Career -- a ranking of the top 55 companies to hire in. After reviewing beginning salary, benefits, retention and training programs along with which employers had a presence on college campuses, the magazine surveyed 37,000 U.S. undergrads about the finalists.

Of the four mortgage-related companies on the list, SunTrust Banks, Inc. was fourth, ranking at no. 35.

The average entry-level SunTrust employee earns anywhere from $45,000 to $49,999, works 45 hours a week with 25 paid days off and receives about $10,000 in company paid training, the company said in BusinessWeek's survey. The three-year employee retention rate is 68 percent while its five-year rate is reported at 46 percent.

SunTrust, which reported 2005 production of $48 billion, was a FORTUNE 500 company and was one of America's Most Admired Companies this year.

In addition to employee satisfaction, SunTrust made the top ten for customer satisfaction this year, along with Wells Fargo, which was also recognized for its great customer service by J.D. Powers and Associates.

Customer and employee satisfaction go hand in hand, according to Pete DeLanoit, Human Resources Manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

The mortgage behemoth, which reported $366 billion in 2005 production, landed the 23rd spot on the BusinessWeek ranking.

The average entry-level employee at Wells earns $55,000, works 40 hours a week with 46 paid days off in the first year plus 30 days paid maternity leave. Wells had the best reported retention rates; the three-year rate is 71 percent and the five-year is 60 percent.

Wells, which also topped the rankings for the 100 Best Corporate Citizens, the Most Admired and America's Most Shareholder-Friendly companies, made the list because of its focus on people.

"People are our most important competitive advantage because good team members provide the best service to our customers and our communities," DeLanoit said in an e-mail statement. "From our benefits package to the possibility for advancement, we have created a workplace that rewards team members for their hard work and recognizes the importance of diversity."

In addition, Wells was recognized this year by Training magazine as one of the top 25 best workforce trainers and developers.

The ninth best place to launch a career is with JPMorgan Investment Bank, according to BusinessWeek's list.

Chase Home Mortgage, the mortgage arm of JPMorgan Chase, reported $182.8 billion in production last year and was also ranked among the Most Admired companies and in the BusinessWeek 50.

The FORTUNE 500 company has been busy making news and topping charts as it continues to grow, spokesman Tom Kelly told MortgageDaily.com.

"We are a company that has been rebuilding and growing," Kelly said. "I think there is a lot of synergy and excitement that comes with that -- it's a company on the move."

The average new hire with JPMorgan Chase earns more than $55,000 receives up to 38 paid days off and 40 days of company paid training, the survey said. Retention rates were not reported.

The company also uses innovative recruiting tools that engage potential new hires. The bank runs an interactive trading game called "Fantasy Futures" to attract the attention of college students, BusinessWeek said in its article.

Goldman Sachs topped the list of mortgage-related entities at no. 4. The company reports that the three most important characteristics for entry-level applicants are: college GPA, leadership skills and work experience.

Goldman Sachs, a Top 100 Diversity Employer and Fortune 500 company, said it pays new hires an average of $55,000 plus, 35 paid days off and 80 days paid maternity leave. Entry-level employees work an average of 60 to 70 hours a week and receive 20 to 27 days of training, the survey said.

All four companies offer cost-sharing health insurance programs.


Paula Parisot is a MortgageDaily.com feature reporter and a blogger at CloserBlog.com who has also worked in the mortgage industry.

e-mail Paula at: [email protected]



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