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Assignment HR Essay

    I conducted an interview with Steve, a manager at a mortgage company. This company specializes in mortgage loans, both original loans and refinancing. The company occupies the second floor of a four-story building and has approximately thirty-five employees, including: receptionists, secretaries, brokers (similar to salespeople), loan processors, closers, funders, and an underwriter. In addition, there are four managers and the owner maintains a daily presence in the office. The company is a single branch; it is not part of a chain. They make a profit on the fees charged for funding mortgage loans.

    Steve’s job is to supervise both the brokers and the loan processors. He keeps track of the number of loans originated and he must motivate the brokers to sell as many loans as possible each month. The company provides the leads for the loans, people who have expressed an interest due to mass-mailings, advertisements and such. The potential customers will call the company and will be referred to the brokers. If the company-provided leads are few, it is up to the brokers to seek out leads of their own. According to Steve, the brokers usually have so many leads that they don’t need to seek them

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out on their own. Steve is in charge of giving bonuses for reaching a target (such as a certain number of loans per day or per week), and to make a decision as to firing a non-productive broker. The loans must be processed quickly, and he supervises this department to ensure that they’re doing their jobs and that they have everything they need. The goal is to process and fund as many loans as possible each month.

    The staffing structure is as follows. There are two receptionists in the front office who take and transfer calls and greet customers. As mentioned previously, the brokers and loan processors report to Steve; the closing and funding departments report to a different manager (on the same level as Steve), and there are two managers above them who report directly to the owner. Each department has anywhere from 5-7 employees and they each have one secretary who takes care of paperwork, faxing, phone calls, etc.

    When Steve arrives at work, he checks his voicemail as well as his desk for any urgent messages. He takes part in a short meeting with the owner and the other three managers. They will let him know if there are any problems originating in his department, such as processing errors that can make it difficult to close the loan. For example, one loan closer found two different spellings of a street name when she reviewed the plat map and the mortgage documents (the customer was refinancing). A misspelled street name can cause a loan not to be funded on time. Steve had to bring this to the attention of the processor who overlooked the discrepancy. The owner will let Steve and the other managers know of the incentives they are allowed to offer for a job well done and the day’s goals. From there, he will hold a meeting with the brokers in order to inform them of any important changes as well as their loan origination goal for the day. Often, the brokers will be so set upon meeting their goals that they will leave out vital information that will assist the loan processors (such as loan account numbers, social security numbers, address, etc.), and Steve will go over these mistakes individually to ensure that they do not occur again. This meeting will last from fifteen minutes to a half hour, but no longer than that. The more time spent talking to the brokers, the less time they have in the day to originate loans for the company. Next, Steve holds a short meeting with the loan processors. He needs to motivate them to process the loans quickly. They need to acquire all of the information necessary to fund the loan (such as credit history), and it needs to be completed by the end of the month. The processors are motivated to acquire information in a timely manner because they will receive bonuses for each loan that funds by the end of the month. In this sense, they are just as motivated as the brokers to do a good job. Most of the day is spent supervising the two departments and handling problems as they occur. The most critical assignment is to get the brokers to originate loans. Once they have customers, they can bring in extra help if needed by the loan processors. Steve does not leave until the brokers and processors have finished their work for the day.

    Steve has a high school education. He spent two years in college and dropped out due to financial reasons. I also had an opportunity to speak with the owner of the company. He, too, has a high school education, so he is not concerned with having managers who have a college degree. He believes that if one is capable of doing a job, then they should be able to do it regardless of their educational achievements. However, he is willing to assist the employees with money for college if they choose to go while working for him. Steve worked the usual fast food and retail jobs just out of high school, then applied with a temp agency to break into clerical work. He began at the mortgage company a year ago, stuffing envelopes, making copies, and faxing information. From there, he was trained as a loan processor. After six months on the job, he was given the choice to either be a manager or a broker (he would have to get his broker’s license, the classes would be paid for by the owner). He chose to be a manager because he would rather motivate employees to do well and thus provide him with bonuses rather than depending on the customers directly for a larger salary. At this time, Steve wishes to go back to college and get a degree in finance. In the future, he would like to own his own mortgage company, one which specializes in refinance loans exclusively.

    The organization must beware of rising interest rates as this will influence customers to hold out on acquiring a loan, and refinance loans completely disappear when interest rates are too high. In addition, they must be careful to keep the good employees happy because a high turnover rate costs the company money in terms of training and potential customers lost. Finally, while it is benevolent of the owner to provide the employees with opportunities and education, he must be aware that employees such as Steve would prefer to eventually leave the company and start a company that will be in direct competition.

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