Sunday, June 24, 2012

WFG National Title Appoints Florida State Counsel

WFG National Title Insurance Company (WFG), Santa Barbara, Calif., has named Joseph J. Tschida, Esq. as its new Vice President & State Counsel for its Florida office, said Joseph Drum, Esq., Executive Vice President for the company. The company is a full service provider of title insurance and real estate settlement services for lender, commercial and residential transactions nationwide.

Tschida will provide underwriting support, guidance, and education for WFG National Title's Florida agent base. He comes to WFG National Title with over 18 years of industry experience, most recently serving as Vice President and Associate Underwriting Counsel for one of the nation’s largest underwriters. He began his legal career in 1985 as an Assistant State Attorney before joining an Orlando law firm as a commercial litigator in 1988. After practicing commercial litigation for several years, he entered the title insurance industry in 1994 as a claims attorney, and then moved on to underwriting in 2000. He is a member of the Florida Bar, Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section. He received his Bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State University in 1981 and received his J.D. from Stetson University College of Law in 1984.

"Joe emphasizes strong business relationships between the underwriter and its agents, and he knows what those agents need from their underwriter to be successful," said Gene Rebadow, Senior Vice President, Florida Agency Manager. "The addition of Joe reaffirms our commitment to agency relationships and furthers our goal to support them in whatever ways they need."

Tschida will be based in the company’s Florida state agency headquarters at 801 International Parkway, 5th Floor, Lake Mary, Florida 32746. He can be reached at (407)562-1267 or JTschida@WFGNationalTitle.com.

For those of you keeping track, this is the 4th new personnel announcement this company has made in the past 6 weeks or so. This is one firm that apparently believes we're in recovery.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why People Who Are Already Successfully Find Most Success with Social Media

Why is it that the people who seem to get the most out of social media are the ones that were doing great before the advent of social media? It’s almost like only those who already have a huge audience are capable of attracting a huge audience online. Why is that?

People who are already successful in their businesses are doing a few things right. They probably have the operational side of their business down and have been creating satisfied customers--a valued commodity when you move into social media. They have also probably got the promotional side of their business down and know what marketing messages they must send out into the marketplace in order to get prospects to willingly enter the buy zone.

In other words, successful companies come to social media with a marketing communications strategy already mapped out and the success stories to power it. They treat the various social media as just additional communications channels, not individual solutions. When you think about this, it makes a lot of sense.

When we have car trouble and we need to take it to the shop, do we seek out a mechanic that’s really, really good with a wrench or a set of sockets? No, we look for a complete solution with the end goal in mind (our car, working perfectly) and when we find such a solution, we’re not surprised at all that our mechanic makes use of a wide range of tools in its delivery.

So, why is it that we think that Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook can be a stand-alone solution when, in reality, they are only tools that can (and should) be part of a unified marketing communications program built to support a good strategy for meeting the company’s goals.

Well, you probably don’t think that, and that’s a good thing.

Do you have your communications strategy all worked out? Do you know the four types of stories you must tell your prospects in order to make them feel comfortable doing business with you and have you build them into your strategy? If you want to visit about this, give me a call. But whatever you do, don't jump into social media expecting it to be a communications strategy. Get your strategy down first.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Getting Creative with LO Compensation

You may have noticed that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau held a conference call today with 17 small lender participants to talk about its controversial Loan Officer Compensation rules. I read about it in Paul Muolo's blog at National Mortgage News.

It's not yet clear what the CFPB will do about how the industry pays loan officers, but what is clear is that the old days of making more money for closing more lucrative loans are over. So how will the nation's originators hold on to their top loan officers? Well, you're going to have to get more creative. Perhaps you could send them out to dig ditches.

Seriously. At least Salt Lake City-based Academy Mortgage seems to be serious about it. The company recently sent its top twenty-five performing loan officers from around the country out to do that, as a reward. The lender admitted that when the LOs were told about the reward they would receive for their outstanding service, "digging trenches in jungle roots, laying concrete, moving boulders, fighting off mosquitoes and pulling teeth were not the immediate images that came to mind for them. However, this is exactly the reward that they were given."

“The goal of this program is to give our employees a more fulfilling experience that they probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do otherwise," said Mike Jensen, CMO, Academy Mortgage, who conceived the trip. "Before participating on a trip like this, people really don’t know what to expect and at times are even a little surprised that this would be their 'reward.' However, after completing this trip, every single one of the attendees will tell you that the experience absolutely changed their lives. They come back with a new outlook and fulfillment on life and even a new perspective on how they see themselves as loan officers and the work that they do helping people achieve their dream of owning a home.”

The company's top 25 loan officers traveled to the remote village of Secanquin, Guatemala – an isolated poverty-stricken community located in the Cloud Forest Region that is home to an indigenous population of just 200. They stayed in the village for seven days, constructing the village’s first running water system, laying the foundation for new infrastructures and assisting in medical and dental care for the villagers.
Academy's top performing Loan Officers and their
guests in Secanquin, Guatemala.

"Loan officers were digging trenches, moving boulders, literally pulling teeth, after undergoing training, to help accomplish these goals during their stay," according to a company release. "They slept in tents located in a field within the village and spent their free-time bonding with locals by playing soccer, coloring with the kids and even partaking in their sacred Mayan rituals."

So how do you qualify for such a "reward?"

"Academy's incentive trips are awarded based on Loan Officer production - total and purchase volume," I was told by Libba Cox, a spokesperson for the company. "Academy's top producing loan officers (President's Club) were invited to attend the service Expedition in Guatemala this May. Each loan officer selected to go was allowed to bring one guest to accompany them."

Academy has committed to future trips to Secanquin in its overall effort to help this village become a self-sustaining community and will continue organizing bi-annual service-based trips as the foundation for its rewards and recognition programs. More information on Academy’s innovative rewards program can be found here: Get Rewarded!

While doing good in a third-world country may not be your LOs' idea of a good time, lenders who want to hold on to their top talent will follow Academy's example and begin thinking well outside of the box when it comes to rewarding their employees.