Hi everybody, looks like in the Hot Topic segment we’ve got a really interesting “Lykken on Lending” podcast with….Bill Cosgrove President & CEO at Union Home Mortgage Corp. to discuss “Recruiting World Class Talent” and how their company has been able to continue to recruit interns during the pandemic!
More about Bill……
Union Home Mortgage, is a high-growth, full-service retail, wholesale and consumer-direct independent mortgage banking company headquartered in Strongsville, Ohio.
A recognized thought leader, Mr. Cosgrove has more than 30 years of mortgage industry experience and is a former president of the Mortgage Bankers Association and Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association.
Mr. Cosgrove joined Union Home Mortgage in 1994 and became its sole owner in 1999…..
To continue reading the show notes click here!
Recruiting World Class Talent With Bill Cosgrove
Good to have you with us. It’s Monday, March 8th 2021. It’s good to have you here. This show is created by mortgage professionals, for mortgage professionals every episode and we are so grateful to have you here as our reader. Our commitment is to bring you timely information you can read anytime and anywhere. In our hot topic segment, we are going to be continuing our discussion, which we started in the last episode with Jim and Genia Blanchard. We are talking about recruiting and building healthy, strong companies. I’m so honored to have Mr. Bill Cosgrove, President and CEO of Union Home Mortgage.
We are talking about recruiting world-class talents. How do you do it? How does someone like Bill who has been in the business for so long? I have interviewed Bill for the Lykken on Leadership show and he’s one of the few folks that didn’t get into this industry like most of us did by accident. You got to go read the interview that I did with him. I believe that’s posted on the Lykken on Leadership show. He got into the industry intentionally, by purpose, and he has built a company intensely. That’s one of the largest and most excellent companies.
Those of us in the Independent Mortgage Banking world are so grateful to Bill because he’s also, chairman of the MBA was started the Independent Mortgage Bankers Group. It became the conference. It was under Bill’s leadership there and we are so grateful to have him. Stay tuned all the way through to the hot topics segment and we get to learn Mr. Cosgrove.
I want to say a special thank you to IndustrySyndicate.com. They are part of the show. Again, we are one of the first out there but Industry Syndicate now has done a great job of helping get out in publishing all the shows related to the mortgage industry. If you are looking for great content, go to IndustrySyndicate.com and they are about the mortgage industry. There are also some real estate programs related to that, but it’s all about real estate and real estate finance.
I want to say a special thank you to our sponsors, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Again, we had Michael Fratantoni on January 4th, 2021. Make sure to read that interview. We also want to say thank you to Finastra, whose fusion bot mortgage solution helps you as lenders experience the power of a fully integrated approach to mortgage lending. Out of systems say they are fully integrated. This one truly is. It will help you engage with borrowers and create a greater experience for your borrowers. Again, interviewed on January 11th, 2021 in Putney.
We are so pleased to be a part of two great co-ops Lenders One, as well as the Mortgage Collaborative. Bill Cosgrove is going to be one of our guests on the hot topic and was one of the founders of the Mortgage Collaborative. I’m very excited to be a part of both of these. Be sure to check out both of these on our website to learn how you learn more about these two. We are members of both and I recommend people consider both.
If they sound like also extravagant, you will find out there are wonderful nuances in differences between the two. The most important to our association you need to be a part of all of them, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Also, we are proud to have the community Mortgage Lenders of America as a sponsor. They do a great job working with some of the smaller lenders out there, CMLA.
Also, Indecomm, Alice’s old company, partners with lenders and services mortgage insurers and title insurance companies to achieve one specific goal to help them grow. Check out the interview with Linda Bomar, on August 31st, 2020. Also, Josh Friend has a company by the name of Insellerate, that helps lenders close more loans by radically changing how lenders communicate and engage with borrowers. They have great CRMs and technology, but most importantly, some best practices. If you have not had a conversation with Josh Friend, do so. It will be probably the best 15 to 20 minutes you could invest, especially as you are looking at how to engage more effectively borrowers.
Also, Knowledge Coop. A good friend Ken has Knowledge Coop up there and does a great job with helping you train your people. Also MobilityRE and Modex. Both of these companies are brilliant and how they give you real-time information about, who you are recruiting as far as it relates to their production status. Also, some of the things they can do to help you connect with the right realtors, especially, as we are seeing this market shift to a purchase market. These two tools will help you. Check out MobilityRE, also as Mobility MMI, Mortgage Market Intelligence, and Modex both. We used both of these companies in consulting with our clients. A special thank you to all of our regulars, Alice Allen, and Matt.
Welcome to the hot topic segment of the show. It’s so good to have you here. We have Bill Cosgrove, President and CEO of Union Home Mortgage. We are going to be talking about recruiting world-class talent. I look across the landscape of companies that have built world-class talent and have an abundance of it in their staff. Union Home stands out. If we don’t have to say anything more than just say, “They somehow captured, Alice Alvey. Took her out of consulting to the industry and broader in-house.” If that is a fantastic example of recruiting top talent, world-class talent, there’s no better one. I rest my case on that one. Bill Cosgrove, good to have you back on the show. You have been here before. I’m always honored when you take time on your very busy day to join us. Thank you.
Thank you. It’s great to be here and I could not agree with you more.
We are talking about Alice and what a great example of recruiting world-class talent. Alice, we are not trying to make you embarrassed, but when you look at great talent, it’s one of the places I want to go. It’s recognizing the passion that someone has. The passion for excellence. You surrounded yourself with a lot of people but for those that might not know who you are, give us a little insight. Take a brief moment to talk about yourself and Union Home Mortgage.
Union home is a passion of mine. We started the company many years ago off a small foundation that was provided for me. We are in 44 states. Last year 2020, we did a little bit over $10 billion. We are a little over 1,500 Partners now, a partner employee. Our servicing portfolio is at about $14 billion or $15 billion and growing. About 90,000 customers a month or mortgage payments to Union Home. The company continues to grow both in retail lending, wholesale, consumer-direct, and correspondence. We have all four growth legs of the school, so to speak. That’s just a quick overview of Union Home.
You have done a great job of building outstanding stuff, but we have come through one of the most unprecedented things called the pandemic. What I’m interested in is how Union Home is able to continue to recruit interns during the pandemic. For those of you who don’t know, you have known me talk about in the show, Alice and I talked about, how successful Union Home is, the most successful story in our industry that I know of bringing interns into the company. Talk about interns during the pandemic and I love to hear some stories of the success of what you would have with those wonderful interns.
We are proud of the intern program. The first thing is, that Alice can speak to this, but the entire senior management team has adopted the intern program and they support the intern program. When the young people come and spend their summer with us, the amount of attention, resources, and planning is world-class. Our intern program every year continues to grow and improve and is multiple award-winning.
To answer your question directly, in 2020, we had 85 interns at the company. In 2021, we are going to have 108 interns. It’s amazing. Our number one goal is not to turn every intern into a mortgage professional in their given vocation, whether it’s sales, accounting, or IT. You name it. That’s not our number one goal. Our number one goal is to expose them and give them an experience of what a world-class career is about and what type of communication, commitment, and what you do with great opportunities and challenges.
We want to give them a real-world experience about what a career is supposed to be. In between all of that, whether we get them in their sophomore year, junior year, or senior year, about 25% of that intern class ends up being offered and accepting an offer to start their career in the mortgage business at Union Home. It’s cool.
It’s great that you have another greater purpose than just recruiting. What comes out of that, is converting that many. Alice, you and I were talking about it as you guys were working on launching the program. You said, “You should see the research that our interns are doing.” It’s not like they are just dragged like barnacles under a sailboat moving through the water and slowing you down. They are helping facilitate things. Alice, expound on that a little bit. That’s so wonderful. Your enthusiasm for the intern program is infectious.
As Bill was saying, it’s not just about trying to teach the mortgages. We give them projects that could be any type of work and they love that. They latch on to that. They bring tremendous value to the company and they walk away knowing what a good company should look like. They have said some great stories. We have had a couple of interns who helped to get us off the ground with our correspondent lending and manage client relations. They are amazing how they stepped up to the plate and do bigger things that never underestimate what you think they can do. They are always looking for a challenge.
Bill, you’d be so proud. Alice, I should pick up on David. What do you think about this? What about that? She’s had several interns on and I’m so impressed with a question that some of the interns asked. I don’t know how you were getting the crop, or the quality of individual interim programs. It’s one of the things that I celebrate that you are doing, Bill.
In a previous interview, they were out recruiting at these college campuses and we got the younger group to talk. That was one of the strategies that’s working so well for you which is getting into some of the key strategies that want to go to next. What do you think the key strategies are for recruiting top talent, Bill?
The first strategy is a foundation that wherever your company is at now, whatever size it is, the amount of resources, both human capital and marketing, and others. It takes to get your company to the next level. It’s not 200% more than you think. It’s not 300%. It’s 500%. We put a tremendous amount of resources into acquiring world-class talent. We have ten wonderful people every day who do nothing but talk to operations people throughout the country.Wherever your company is today, whatever size it is, the amount of resources, both human capital and marketing and others, it takes to get to the next level is not 200%; it's 500%. Click To Tweet
We have business development people who do nothing but talk to loan officers both in consumer direct retail and wholesale. We have another group that you mentioned, very young people in their 20s and early 30s that do nothing but recruit talent from campus for our intern program. That’s just for starters. Number one, if you want growth comes to putting resources and talent towards it, whatever you think it is now. It’s five times that amount. That’s the first lesson that we learned.
When you talk about the strategies, one of which was who should be recruiting on college campuses, but when you are looking at those key strategies. It also goes into other things. You have your recruiting department that covers all areas of the company, do you not?
We do and we added the past years. We added diversity to that recruiting talent because over 35 years of career when it comes to a diversified workforce, diversity doesn’t come to you. In other words, financial services of all kinds. Not just the mortgage business, but the whole platform of the financial services industry mortgage being a small part of that has always had a challenge recruiting a diverse workforce.
It doesn’t come to you naturally. You have to have diversity in your recruiters and a strategy in which to reach diversified candidates expose them and show them how dynamic the mortgage business can be. The word mortgage is not dynamic, but when you open up the doors and look under the hood of the mortgage business. There are 25 careers within Union Home and every other dynamic mortgage company in America. When you look under the hood, there’s a lot there. We are excited about that and that’s a strategy that will pay dividends for a long time.
When you look at Union Home and do the recruiting, you are recruiting an option for training. Talk about recruiting sales talent in this environment, especially when there are so many big pipelines that so many are carrying, or at least, they were going into this rate. Maybe they will manage a bit and everyone is working remotely. What is working for you when it comes to sales recruiting and what is not?
More than anything, you have got to have a lot of resources in the field that are keeping in touch with high-quality salespeople that their character, honesty, and reputation match your company culture. From there, it’s a matter of it almost selling itself. There’s no selling in recruiting. More than anything, we show people the number of world-class people we have, the talent and volume they are doing, how much business they are doing, how they are doing it, and their reputation in their community.
It’s a matter of as Union Home, do we represent in your community what you want to represent? You have to have what everybody wants. You have got to have competitive rates, great support, great technology, and so forth. It’s more fundamental that if you simply tell your story, don’t oversell. You are who you are and show who we are. You attract who you should attract and hopefully, you detract who doesn’t represent what you want to represent.
One of the things that impressed me as I have worked with you and known you now for many years is its authenticity. One of the things when someone is enthusiastic and I’m an enthusiastic guy. I am oftentimes, so self-critical that I’m overselling. “You are overselling because you are so enthusiastic.” Be yourself. Be who you are.
That’s one of the things that I wonder isn’t one of the things that draws people to you. Alice, I’m shifting to you and I will let you respond to this. You see the genuine and the transparency. You don’t say, “We are the greatest,” and that which goes to the overselling but we are who we are and it communicates to how you are striving. Alice, chime in on that point the sincerity because you see it. It may be more difficult for Bill to comment about that because that is him.
It is. It’s the number one reason why I was very comfortable coming to Union Home because the culture starts at the top. With Bills’ sincerity, you could see all the way up to the top. There’s Integrity, and attention to quality, and his heart is about the partners. It is always there about, are we taking care of partners. Are we doing the right thing for partners and education? Education is one of these number one things. It’s what drew me as well. You can see that every day.
I love that about you, Bill. Please don’t ever change. No matter how successful you become. It is who you are, so I anticipate that but it is one of the things that is a hallmark of Bill Cosgrove, is your frankness, straightforwardness, and genuineness. That’s so good. When you look at United Home and building its staff, there are not enough Mortgage Bankers to go around, which goes to what Alice does and that’s the training program.
You have made a significant investment. The size of your recruiting group, people ask several questions coming in is, how big is that quick group? How many people do you have dedicated to recruiting? Also, what effort have you made to train your staff? You got the best trainer in the country. What are you doing?
We do. To answer the first question, we have ten operational recruiters who do nothing but that all day. We have about fifteen loan officers of all types, retail, consumer-direct, and so forth. There are about 5 or 6 recruiters that do nothing but interns and other things. If you add it all up, it’s an incredible amount of people who are looking for talent all over the country. We do what we call a round table.
Once there’s an interview or two with the candidate, we think the candidate is right for us. The candidate thinks we are right. We go into a round table phase where they talk to 8 or 10 people from our company they can ask a lot of questions of any type. When we choose to make an offer to a candidate and candidate uses us. They are very well informed and that creates low turnover and sticktoitiveness that helps.
Regarding the training, like most companies, twice a year we do retreats. This time, we did a virtual, where we took a couple of days away from the business and reflected and said, “Let’s not talk about the 95% we do well. Let’s talk about the 5% we need to improve upon.” This story goes back about 6 years but for 4 years in a row, 1 of the top 10 that we needed to prove upon and this is before we were fortunate enough to bring Alice to the company.
1 of the top 10 after we whittled it down from 60 little things we wanted to get better at to what are the most important 10. For four years in a row, it was training. Everybody said that they wanted to get better at training but no one wanted to invest the millions of dollars to do it. The employee partner, it’s not like getting a massage. You don’t lay there, be trained and get better. You have got to work at it. You have to do your part.
You don’t lay there and feel better. That’s what we teach at Union Home with Alice putting together a world-class comprehensive training program. It’s embedded into the culture. It’s something we are proud of to invest in that level and our partners. The employees have to bring it every day because to get better, you have got to make the effort as well. When you have the marriage of the commitment to training and the effort from your employee partners, you get better and that’s what it’s all about.When you have the marriage of the commitment to training and the effort from your employee partners, you get better. Click To Tweet
I love what you are doing there. I have one last question. I always loved stories. There’s a story that drives home every good point and there are some great stories behind the scenes and successes that you can talk about some successes and challenges. I love to hear about those stories because you are a great storyteller.
A lot of the stories are so long and some of them are so short. It’s funny, with the interns you have got these young people that are anywhere between 19, 21, and 22 years old. You capture them. In normal times, they are at our headquarters for 100 days, about 3 months, so about 100 days. You are with them eight hours a day and you become close to these young people.
I had an idea. If it was my child or my young person, I want to know where they are going every day. I said, “We are going to have an open house for the parents.” I thought it was a great idea. Some of the interns said, “No way. I will blank Alice Alvey and you and all the other characters and senior management at Union Home together with my parents because we would never have a chance after that. Once we compared notes, it’s all over.” It goes that deep and that was a beautiful night. There’s one little story. There’s another level but that’s one.
Let’s get to some of the questions that are coming in. There’s one that’s reoccurring, that is going to be some depth with this from about a dozen text messages from readers. They said, “Bill, it is great that you have a great recruiting program and a great training program. I love all the stuff that you are doing, but what are you doing to retain top talent? We are having people parted it away constantly. What is your trick, tip, or strategy to hold on to the talent like Alice and others in the crazy world?”
I’d love to share it. It’s a challenge for everybody. It’s twofold. Number one, after transitioning, training a normal times where we bring people in Cleveland for a week and they are on campus and normal times for a week. They are living with us on campus for a week. They start to develop very deep relationships within the organization and they live and breathe the culture for a week. That’s number one.
Number two, we have post-transition training because, in transition, everything is shiny and new. What you find is in most positions of the company, it’s that 60 days to 120 days after they joined your organization, and now they have full pipelines. They are fully engulfed in their role where they struggle. We have put teams together and my competition can use this or I’m happy to give it to them. It works like a charm. Post-transition training, a floating transition team that sticks with new employee-partners, the first 30, 60, 90, or 120 days with the organization.
It takes a lot of resources and a lot of money to do it, but I’m here to tell you. When you are new employees have trouble, it’s in that 60 to 120 days with your organization that they need your help. They don’t need to abandon at that point. They need your help. That’s number two. Number three, for long-term retention, you have to have great managers and leaders throughout your organization.
No matter who recruits everybody, everybody is recruiting everybody. If you love and respect the culture of your organization and your manager. You have developed a great relationship with your manager and your leader and they make you better. You become part of the family. It’s hard to leave leadership that you love and care about. It’s a local level that management and leadership are how you retain talent.It's hard to leave leadership that you love and care about. Click To Tweet
There are a number of studies that are out there. When it comes to why does someone stay at a company? Compensation on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being the most important and 10 being the least important. Every study shows that compensation is usually around seventh or eighth in the list. The top three have to do with how they perceive themselves in the company, how the company precedes them in the company, and how they understand their role and how it relates to the bigger picture.
Alice is telling me one time in a conversation because I love listening to the intern program. She says, “Dave, we move around. It’s like, ‘You have this much time at this desk looking at this function and then everyone gets up, rotates, and goes to the next function.’ We do train people all the way around to the various functions.” When you understand what Union Home is done, it’s creating a broader understanding of the whole overall process of what they are involved in. I celebrate you, Bill, and your success. Congratulations on it. I will leave you and Alice with the last thoughts. Alice, do you want to add to anything we said?
I love listening to it. I would say that every day, you wake up and you love going to work. When you talk about how you retain people to Bill’s point. There’s an amazing group of leaders here at the company that makes it so easy every day to want to go to work. That’s the bottom line, is your leadership. They respect each other, get along, and know how to work. I would say it’s our code of conduct. At the end of the day, we all wake up and want to honor that code of conduct. That’s the secret sauce right there.
We have still got a text in, Bill, that says, “When are you having Cosgrove back?” This is so interesting. I have a whole bunch more questions and I know you are out of time, so we have got to have you back. Bill, thank you so much for being here. Wrapping up the thoughts of, where you see the industry going? Where do you see Union Home going in the future?
I’m going to wrap it up. I’m going to change it up for you a minute. I want to give your readers this point. My number one job at Union Home is I am the chief dysfunction police officer. What I mean by that is at Union Home or any other company, no matter how successful you are or not. If you have dysfunction anywhere in your organization where people are attacking each other and they are not working together to attack problems or opportunities.
If they are attacking each other, as leaders of the organization, you have to resolve that dysfunction immediately. If you do that, you are going to be successful in our business and have great retention. If you don’t do that, you are going to start losing people. The best advice I can give your readers who are in management or leadership roles, you have got put people in a position to work together and eliminate dysfunction from the organization. You will be improving all the time.
At Union Home and everywhere else in the mortgage business, we want to get better every day. We want to become more efficient. We want to be able to become efficient, so we can continue to invest in people, in technology, and for success. Everything changes in the mortgage business, but what doesn’t change, it’s all about great people and creating great manufacturing processes. If you do that in our business, David as you said and you teach this and so does Alice, you will be successful.
It’s great words of wisdom. Thank you so much for being here with us, Bill. I know how busy you are.
I’m happy too. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Our guest has been Bill Cosgrove, President and CEO of Union Home Mortgage. He has done a great job in so many years. Share this show with others, especially if your company struggling to make an investment and recruit. Look at what he said. How many people are there involved and dedicated to it, both operations and sales? Not just sales. It’s the operation part that is so important.
Also, listen to what they have done in investing in training. These are some key components. Listen to other values that Bill said here. There is so much information we can pull out of this and we can keep going on forever, but we have to wrap it up into the show. In the next episode, we have got Kris Dunn coming on with Kinetix. That is a recruiting firm that’s out there. We are going to talk to some recruiters in this journey as we talk through how to recruit some of the top people.
We are going to read it on the other side. Someone who does recruiting professionally as a lifestyle and a living. We are going to get into and talk to Kris. It’s very interesting. He has a show as well. It’s going to be good. We want to say special thank you to our sponsors Finastra, the CMLA, the MBA, the Indecomm as well as Insellerate, Mobility MMI, Modex, as well as Knowledge Coop, and Lenders One. Thank you so much for being here and we are thrilled to have you as our reader. Share this with everyone. Have a great week, everybody. I’m looking forward to having you back here next episode.
- Union Home Mortgage
- Lykken on Leadership
- Mortgage Bankers Association of America
- Michael Fratantoni – Past episode
- Linda Bomar – Past episode
- Lenders One
- Mortgage Collaborative
- Mortgage Lenders of America
- Knowledge Coop
- Mobility MMI
- Jim and Genia Blanchard – Past episode