What makes a good branch manager? The answer may depend on who you ask, but clearly, loan officers are very opinionated about this issue.
Among the most frequent complaints about branch managers is that they are slow to act when a loan file needs approval, they micromanage staff, and they pass off problems to someone else. Another is that they only care about sales — but won’t lift a finger to help loan officers improve their numbers.
Because branch managers wield enormous influence over a loan officer’s success, the quality of a branch manager is extremely important. To find out if you have a great branch manager, ask yourself if they have the following traits.
The Ability to Listen
Many loan officers appreciate managers with experience. When you’re dealing with up-and-down markets, it’s comforting to know your manager has seen it all. Others appreciate sales expertise, believing that a manager who knows how to produce can help them do the same. But equally important as these qualities — maybe even more important — is the ability to listen.
Strong, supportive managers will always ensure a loan officer’s voice will be heard. They not only listen to problems and concerns, but actively solicit them. They take the time to build one-on-one relationships with loan officers and are always receptive to their questions, feedback, and concerns. By doing so, they show they care about the loan officer’s success.
A Willingness to Act
Of course, listening isn’t much help unless it results in some type of action when necessary. When branch managers listen to a loan officer’s problem and choose to do nothing or “pass the buck,” it can destroy a loan officer’s morale.
For example, suppose you have a borrower with a unique situation and you need advice. If your branch manager tells you to “find a way to work around it,” that’s no help at all.
On the other hand, if your manager cannot solve your problem but refers it to upper management until the problem is fixed or resolved, you have proof that your manager cares — not just about you, but about your customer, too. That’s a good manager.
An Ability to Inspire
Good branch managers listen and have your back when there’s a problem. Great managers, however, do much more. They inspire and show loan officers how to take their businesses to another level.
These managers are constantly leveraging new training methods and resources. They’re unselfish with their sales strategies and ideas. And they help loan officers discover their own strengths and leverage them to provide better service and increase sales. They do these things because they have a shared responsibility and interest in your success — and because it’s the right thing to do.
The bottom line is that great branch managers do more than manage. They listen, they act, and they inspire loan officers to think outside the box and to hold themselves to high standards. They are the kinds of branch managers we recruit and cultivate at Embrace — because we know that great branch managers create great loan officers.
As you can see, your branch manager can either help or hinder your performance. So how would you rank your current manager? Do they listen and respond to your requests for help, or let you figure things out on your own? Do they make you love what you do, or hate it? It’s worth thinking about. Your career may depend on it.
If you’d like to learn more about Embrace, visit our website.