Having the right mortgage products coupled with excellent service is essential as a Correspondent Lender. Whether you are looking for Delegated, Non-Delegated, or Broker lending authority, Dana Brasher at West Gate Bank® Correspondent Mortgage Service can aid you in increasing your mortgage loan volume both quickly and accurately as an exceptional mortgage expert.
Dana is currently the SVP and Correspondent Mortgage Channel Manager at West Gate Bank. She joined West Gate Bank to manage their correspondent customer base, direct the sales staff and oversee project management within the mortgage department. While those continue to be her directives, her job description has obviously grown. “We’ve expanded our footprint, tripled our production and implemented several technology initiatives in the last few years. It’s amazing to witness such growth and be on the ground floor making it happen,” says Dana.
With 15+ years in the banking industry, she manages the day-to-day responsibilities of the mortgage department in the areas of project fulfillment and TPO Channel customer management. In addition, she aids the department in achieving sales and customer service goals, oversees product development and assists in the development of client policies.
We, at Insights Success, caught up with Dana to unveil her diverse career challenges and experiences in the mortgage industry.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
What were the challenges and experiences you came across prior and after joining West Gate Bank?
Previous challenges that bled into my current role were the hesitancy to adapt to technology and initiating process changes. These two items took an enormous amount of buy-in from the staff. While we had the expertise needed, it was challenging to switch things up and retool in a time when production kept increasing.
Being a recognized business leader, what is your opinion regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Financial Services? And how has West Gate Bank, managed to overcome this significant challenge?
COVID-19 pushed all of us further into the digital age. As an organization we had to be nimble, be proactive and adapt to different environments. We pivoted to remote staff, with essential personnel onsite to ensure we maintained our customer service levels. We implemented Mobile Mortgage in order for customers to apply for their mortgage loan through their mobile device. In addition, we launched ITM’s in 2020 to offer customers more self-service options and a more dynamic experience.
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
Almost everyone I come into contact has influenced my life in some way, but the one with the most impact would be my grandmother. She worked her hands to the bone, yet they were also gentle when need be. She instilled the thought that innumerable possibilities lie within me. I carry this thought with me everywhere and apply it to everyone. It’s difficult to recognize your own achievement at times, so my philosophy is to help others foster those possibilities and embrace their greatness.
I also have a dear friend and mentor that helped me when struggling with my career path many years ago. He encouraged me to self-evaluate and define what I love about my skills. This led me to where I am now, building teams and watching them thrive.
What is your thought on the necessity of a positive work culture? In what ways do you implement it at your organization?
A positive work culture is a successful one. While it’s easy to purchase lunch or do a team building activity when you’re in the office, COVID-19 really made us delve deeper into how we can create positive work culture while being disbursed throughout many locations. We became increasingly aware how disengaged staff could become. Communication, empathy, and celebrating challenges kept us a cohesive unit throughout the year and moving forward.
It was vital to schedule quick, frequent check-ups on our teams. Although productivity increased, burnout became a concern. Communicating market changes, projected volumes, trends, etc. ensured everyone was informed, gave leadership the opportunity to reiterate our goals, and recognize challenges hindering the team.
In recognizing these challenges, empathy was an enormous contributor to our culture. Listening as our staff identified what wasn’t working and proposed enhancements to our processes, fostered an environment of learning and created opportunities for improvement.
Knowing the challenges our team faced and surveying not only the small wins but the challenges as well, generated buy-in from the team as they helped tailor the solution, and we celebrated that success together.
What is your opinion on the necessity for businesses to align their offerings with newer technological developments, especially when it comes to New Home Loans and Refinancing?
I believe it is crucial to implement current and future technology, not only at the point of sale, but throughout the entire manufacturing process. Leveraging technology aids in scaling your business model, maximize efficiency, and most importantly, adds convenience for your borrowers.
Adding staff isn’t always the answer when productivity increases. As the market cycles, layoffs are inevitable, the extra space is underutilized, and morale lowers. The right technology at the right price can help you scale without engaging a hiring manager or taking a hit to your budget.
However, software has its limits. With many aggregators trying to customize their borrower’s experience, a one size fits all approach is unattainable. This creates a hybrid approach where leveraging technology to pick up efficiencies is necessary; however, a human element adds to the experience.
The market is primed and ready to experience advantages in tech. With the rise of mobile applications as well as e-closings, and remote notary, the end-to-end process can be completely remote. This is very attractive to today’s consumer and aligns with their purchasing habits and value of time. While customer service will always be needed, the consumer ultimately has more control over the transaction and stays informed throughout the process.
In what ways have you contributed to the community? If given a chance, what change would you bring in loan mortgage for clients?
From Habitat for Humanity to various literacy initiatives as well as donating to impactful organizations, West Gate Bank commits countless hours to our communities in which we serve. Our focus is to continue to aid our communities with housing initiatives and provide products and services that enhance our partner’s offerings so that their communities can benefit equally.
How do you envision on sustaining your company’s competency in a cutthroat and volatile world of business? Where do you see your company in the next five years?
In the next five years, I see a more consumer driven automated manufacturing process that will enable sustainable growth, expansion into new markets, and a wider menu of products. Implementing necessary technology and strategies to keep up with market demand, all while delivering the same customer service our clients are accustomed to.
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