• "Short cuts make long delays." - Pippin
  • "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future." - Galadriel
  • "There's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo ... and it's worth fighting for." -Samwise Gamgee

Welcome, traveler! Are you seeking the great adventure of a career in real estate? Or perhaps you’ve been in the mortgage industry for years and are now strategizing on how to stay in it? Maybe you are frightened of the massive changes TRID has spawned and what they mean for your business. Or have the trials on your quest for regulatory compliance made you world weary?

Whatever state you’re in, the following nuggets of wisdom from the famed J.R.R. Tolkien might inform, inspire and lift your spirits.

If you’ve come across this post by happenstance and are not in the mortgage industry, remember: “Not all who wander are lost.” These quotes might help you in whatever career you have chosen in this vast, wide world.

Quotes for the aspiring mortgage professional

1. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo Baggins

Launching a career can be difficult, and the mortgage industry is no exception. New agents, title agents, lenders and others need to be aware that real estate is a challenging field, and it’s important to “keep your feet.”

Most in the industry will probably tell you the experience is well worth the danger.

2. “We are plain, quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them,” Bilbo said.

“You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back,” Gandalf replied.

“You can promise that I’ll come back?” Bilbo asked.

“No. And if you do, you will not be the same,” Gandalf answered.

Anyone jumping into a mortgage career will be changed as they learn to navigate the industry. But this applies to existing professionals, too. Take fall 2015 for instance, when the CFPB‘s TRID rule upended the industry’s process flow.

Adapting to TRID was difficult, and many are still struggling. And yet it represents something exciting, something worth telling a tale or two about change in the mortgage industry; 20th-century technology has plagued the real estate process for decades, and TRID has initiated a shift for the better in how things are done.

If the mortgage process were a person, it might not recognize itself in a few years.

Quotes for the strategizing mortgage professional

3. “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” – Galadriel

Most people outside the mortgage industry know about the role of the lender and real estate agent. But they have no clue about the title agent, appraiser, home inspector, broker, title underwriter and notary, to name a few.

But the lender is the one responsible for the loan in the end, and the lender is the one who will be held liable if there are mistakes in the Closing Disclosure (CD). Even a minor third party can change the course of a loan’s process and, therefore, the lender’s credibility.

As such, it is important for lenders to have a solid vendor management system in place.

4. “Short cuts make long delays.” – Pippin

Beware processes or procedures that do not properly complete the Loan Estimate (LE) or CD. Fill out the forms correctly the first time, or risk having to provide a revised CD to the borrower, thus triggering a new three-day minimum window for the borrower to review the revised form before closing.

To avoid a delay in selling the loan to the secondary market, document all actions and communications between participants. Investors will want to see this documentation as proof that you have conducted due diligence and made the loan they are purchasing a good risk.

Regulators and lawyers will want to see this as well if an enforcement, civil or class-action suit is brought against your business.

5. Thorin: “Where did you go, if I may ask?”
Gandalf: “To look ahead.”
Thorin: “And what brought you back?”
Gandalf: “Looking behind.”

It’s important to look ahead and see what new rules are on the mortgage horizon. The HMDA rule that the CFPB says will be implemented in 2018 will make another huge impact on the industry.

Neglecting to integrate processes and procedures beforehand will make implementation difficult, just as it has been for some who waited to prepare for TRID.

Look ahead, and look behind. You might be able to prevent future pain if you learn from past mistakes.

Quotes for the frightened mortgage professional

6. “A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it. You have it” – taken from “The Children of Hurin”

Everyone experiences fear. But how we react to that fear is what matters. If we cut and run in a panic, we tend not to look where we are headed.

Avoiding or ignoring the changes TRID has created, for example, could result in a much greater threat than learning different processes and procedures.

If you are afraid of investors refusing to buy your loans because of defects, and yet refuse to do anything about it, your fear will more likely come to fruition. The same goes for regulatory fees and enforcements.

Recognizing the threat is worthless if we do nothing to meet it head on.

7. “It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterward were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait.” – taken from “The Hobbit”

The real struggles in the mortgage industry don’t always manifest as a borrower’s lost pay stubs, a home inspection that has gone awry or a real estate agent who’s out of cellphone range.

Also common are sleepless nights for fear of TRID violations. Or when a community lender considers cutting his or her losses and leaving their business because they can’t afford the technology for compliance.

Bravery is deciding to continue despite struggle. Whatever happens is nothing compared to the battle fought inside our heads against fear.
For the Tired Mortgage Professional

8. Frodo: “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”

Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”

Some of you in the industry might wish the call of real estate had never come to you. You might feel beaten down, disillusioned and cynical. Colors have turned to gray. You go to bed tired and wake up tired.

But don’t lose heart. There are forces at work in the real estate industry beyond regulations, class-action lawsuits, buyback risk and indemnification fees. There are hopeful homebuyers who need help securing their dreams.

Who else would have the courage and the skill to help them but you, who have been doing it for years? Who else will make it possible?

When you are good at your job, you might be meant to do what you do. And that is an encouraging thought.

9. Sam: “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?

“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.

“But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

Frodo: “What are we holding onto, Sam?”

Sam: “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo … and it’s worth fighting for.”

You might be beyond exhaustion. Perhaps you’ve crossed into the Mordor of all mortgage closings and can’t remember what you’re holding onto.

You’re not just tired or cynical; you’re beaten down. You might feel it’s too late for you to have a future in the mortgage industry, because how could it go back to the way it was when so much has changed?

The truth is, you are living a great story. One that matters. Full of darkness and danger, yes. But in the end, the light of a new era in mortgages will shine out clearer. You’ve had plenty of chances to turn back, but you haven’t. You kept going because you’re holding on to something.

Remember why you became a mortgage expert in the first place. Remember being a bright-eyed, dream-filled youngster that originated their first loan. Or, remember that feeling when you helped that first couple close on a house. Remember the look on their faces, that happy glow.

Hold on to that which is good in your world. It’s worth fighting for.

Emily Hoffman is the blogging and social media manager for ATS Secured. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her LinkedIn.

Email Emily Hoffman.