Day in the life: Mortgage Specialist
The key to becoming a successful mortgage specialist
Fancy a job where no two working days are alike? Love meeting new people and forming meaningful connections? Derive joy from positively impacting others’ lives? Jus Yeo does and that’s why he joined OCBC as a mortgage specialist, eager to educate home buyers about available mortgage plans and help borrowers make responsible financial decisions.
Influenced by family members who work as property agents, sales directors, insurance agents and even running a family business, it was natural for Jus to be interested in pursuing a sales career. When recommended by a friend to join OCBC as a Personal Financial Consultant (PFC), our Singapore Institute of Management University of London (SIM-UOL) undergraduate went one step ahead to view other options on the career portal and chanced upon the Mortgage Specialist role. The thought of having a non-desk bound job, working in the frontline of financial advisory and gaining varied perspectives through an interactive job excited him. 1st June 2018 marked the start of his career journey with OCBC, with this being his first full-time job.
Robust training programme
From basics to rules and regulations, OCBC’s three-month programme covers it all. With multiple instructors facilitating scenario-based learning, a dedicated boss who shares his work experience and a month of job shadowing a senior, Jus managed to pick up concepts including but not limited to mortgage comparisons, loan eligibility and handling cases of bad credit. This is crucial as clients would place options that are non-refundable and hence it is imperative for him to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge to give them the right advice.
Learning on the job
Reflecting on over a year’s experience as a Mortgage Specialist, Jus Yeo has identified the following three elements necessary for survival in this line of work.
1. An investment in knowledge pays the best interest
Knowing product specifications and regulations and limitations imposed by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) at the back of your hand is an absolute must. As the real estate landscape continues to evolve, we observe changes in laws as well. Mortgage Specialists must be self- motivated and attend relevant refresher courses. For Jus, he recommends setting one’s own learning targets and aiming to conquer one relevant topic every week. Upon showcasing your mastery of the subject, you stand to be acknowledged by property agents for your expertise, thus building up your reputation as the go-to mortgage specialist.
2. Your network creates your net worth
“A trusted referral is the holy grail of advertising” said Mark Zuckerberg, social revolutionary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Facebook. This too applies for mortgage specialists like Jus, whose main source of referrals are property agents and clients he has worked with in the past. The willingness to network, interpersonal skills and rapport building all come into play for relationship management. Attending show flats with multiple agencies present is a good start. What is more important is the ability to catch their attention, form a connection and hopefully, a lasting working relationship after.
3. Success calls for stamina
Ultramarathon author Michael D’Aulerio proposes that a runner’s stamina is the result of all the struggles they are willing to overcome. Having hustled through his undergraduate days at SIM-UOL, doing multiple part-time jobs to pay off school loans, Jus has had a taste of what it means to be “on” 24/7. Coming into his current role, he had been mentally prepared to work seven days a week. A typical work day for Jus goes something like this: clearing floods of emails in the morning, visiting show flats during lunch, updating valued clients on progress of their cases and completing paperwork through the day. While handling five to six cases at any point in time may seem overwhelming, it has trained his mental rigour, project management and stakeholder management abilities.
When asked about his most memorable case, Jus shared about his encounter with an elderly customer who struggled to meet the minimum threshold to be eligible for a loan. This was despite factoring every possible source of variable income. While the situation appeared bleak and the easy option would be to turn away this customer, Jus was determined to help the customer obtain the loan, understanding the dire circumstances. At the end of three long weeks, he resolved the seemingly unsolvable case. The most valuable things in life come without a price tag and for Jus, receiving a handwritten thank you letter from that customer was extremely rewarding.
The power pairing of continuous learning and professional development on the job plus opportunities to help others is what motivates Jus to keep going and doing the right thing. Having benefited immensely, he has chosen to give back by being a mentor to a new joiner, providing guidance and hands-on work to empower his mentee to achieve career success.