Originators tend to be a conservative group that is dominated by men. A majority of originators earn six figures, and many would have earned more if it weren't for cumbersome rules and regulations that have been recently implemented. Also hurting earnings and causing much grief is the appraisal process. Among mortgage service providers, Mortgage Daily advertisers have garnered a healthy share of their respective markets.
Consumers who are financing a home purchase or refinancing an existing mortgage will likely be guided through the mortgage lending process by a male originator with a decade in the business. More than three quarters of originators have some college education or a four-year degree.
Earnings among individual mortgage originators are fairly well distributed among people who make less than $100,000, those who earn between $100,000 and $249,999, and those earning at least $250,000. More than half of loan officers earn at least $100,000 a year.
But originators face obstacles in generating income.
The first obstacle to earning more is complying with regulations imposed as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
However, many mortgage service providers see opportunity in automating compliance for originators so that their resources used to generate more business instead of for managing a mountain of paperwork and requirements.
Appraisals are also impeding originator income. In addition to cumbersome appraisal regulations that have recently emerged, originators are struggling with values that fall short of what is needed to make a deal work.
Appraisals seem to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the production process for loan originators. More than one-in-10 loans are being lost due to low values -- though some originators are impacted more than others.
In addition, the appraisal process has slowed with the implementation of new rules and regulations.
Almost universally, loan originators have strong negative feelings about appraisals. Originators complained about the process, appraisal management companies and individual appraisers.
Current sentiment presents an opening for AMCs to gain market share by addressing the many appraisal concerns among loan originators.
Currently, the biggest market share of any AMC is StreetLinks. The Indianapolis-based company's standing was likely impacted by its status as a Mortgage Daily advertiser -- as was the case for top-five AMC Nationwide Appraisal & Settlement Network.
Several service providers that ranked high among their peers in the survey were Mortgage Daily advertisers.
Calyx Software was the top-ranked provider of loan origination systems. Calyx, as well as No. 2 Ellie Mae, is a Mortgage Daily advertiser.
In the arena of product and pricing engines, Optimal Blue had a market share of nearly a quarter. Mortech Inc., which ranked fourth among PPEs, is a Mortgage Daily advertiser.
The three top wholesale mortgage lenders in the report were Flagstar Bank, FSB, Freedom Mortgage and United Wholesale Mortgage. Freedom Mortgage advertises with Mortgage Daily.
Business has been strong during the first half of 2012, putting surveyed originators on track to close 40 percent more than they did in 2011. That's better than the industry as a whole, which is expected to see originations rise 25 percent between 2011 and 2012.
Prior customers and realtors are each the primary source of new business for more than a third of survey participants. Mortgage leads are used by around 13 percent of originators.
Originators utilize online advertising more than on any other advertising medium. A smaller, but sizable, share distribute flyers or invest in newspaper advertising.
While originators are aggressively incorporating social media sites like Linkedin and Facebook into their marketing strategies, few are reporting that the efforts are leading to closed production. This leaves lots of room for service providers to deliver products that help originators improve their social media strategies.
The average loan originator started his or her current job more than seven years ago.
More than a quarter of originators found their current employer from a colleague, while nearly a quarter were recruited by their employers. More than quarter founded or own their employers.
Most of the survey participants were employed by firms that are not affiliated with a bank. The makeup contrasts the general originator population where most originators work for a bank or a bank affiliate.
When it comes to providing personal computer products to originators, service providers are primarily limited to the Windows platform. It's the same story for technology providers that utilize browser-based cloud products.
But when it comes to smartphones and tablet devices, Apple dominates the market, trailed by Google.
However, few originators actually use their portable devices for origination functions. The lack of mobile adoption by loan officers presents a huge opportunity for mortgage industry service providers who are first to drive the sector to the small screen.
E-mail and product and pricing engines are the two most frequently used methods for originators to obtain rates, though traditional rate sheets and the Internet also ranked high.
Wholesalers are well-advised to use as many of these mediums as practical to distribute interest rate information to mortgage broker customers.
Originators most frequently turn to the Internet for general news and news about the mortgage industry.
Based on their favorite news sources, many originators maintain conservative and moderate political views.