An old man recently went on a job interview. When the interviewer asked the old man, "What's your biggest weakness?"

The old man replied, "Honesty."

Somewhat confused, the interviewer politely said, "Sir, I asked for a weakness. I don't believe that honesty is a weakness."

The old man replied, "Son, I really don't care WHAT you think."

Hiring can be tough during the holidays for a variety of reasons. Plenty of people don't want to make a move, have full pipelines destined to close by year end, they may be very happy where they are, etc. On the subject of recruiting Jeff Jensen writes, "Most of us have had the most success with passive hires (those currently employed). EMPLOYEE REFERRALS are one of the best business practices to not forget about as we seek those long term quality hires going forward. Longer tenure employees have typically been referred by our own employees (Jobvite Index). They know and trusted who referred them and people like working with equally yoked friends. Incent your employees to make those referrals.

"Retention will always be a top priority, as well as 'hiring up from within' - some companies seem to lose touch with this concept at times. As you continue to improve your on-boarding process with each additional new hire that you make, refer back to them to see if their ASPIRATIONS ARE BEING NUTURED for the growth they were looking for originally by coming to your company. Relationship is king not only while you are prospecting but even after yo­u have made a GREAT hire!

"As the lending industry continues to shrink with talent it is key that your organization's BRAND is reflecting the image you want to portray to prospects. Prospects today have more information available to them than ever before. A great SOCIAL MEDIA presence on your web site with Facebook and LinkedIn will help you attract great quality applicants. Being engaged with your community is an attractant for those younger than the baby boomers. Share company news, employee profiles, products and fun things that you are doing." (A great tool to have in your recruiting arsenal for 2016 is Jeff Jensen's recently published book "What A HOOT! Lets' Recruit!" Available at www.hootinrecruiting. com.)

Recruiting Millennials is particularly of interest in the financial services sector, and the SF Chronicle's Kathleen Pender did a piece on it last month asking, "Will student loan repayment become the next big perk in recruiting wars?" She cites an example where PricewaterhouseCoopers is going to make extra principal payments (taxable) to reduce student loan balances for regular employees. For PwC it is a big deal since the average age of its firm's employees is 29, and "the company recruits about 11,000 people from college campuses each year." "It's cheaper than giving the employee a raise, since the loan repayment is for a finite amount of money for a finite amount of time. Also, not every employee has student loans, so the scope is narrower than providing every employee with a benefit...It's especially helpful in recruiting and retaining recent college graduates who care more about repaying student loans than contributing to a 401(k)." And thus companies like SoFi, Gradifi, and have begun offering services to help process loan payments.

Broadly speaking, recruiting, especially for Ops people, is easier in areas like Orange County, Minneapolis, Dallas, and parts of Florida and Pennsylvania. But what about Beaver Lips, Wisconsin or Moose Tail, Montana? (Names made up to protect the innocent.) Hiring locally can be a very self-limiting proposition, and companies soon run out of family members to tap. The Census Bureau, and United Van Lines, report that 19% of the 36 million annual U.S. moves are job related, and 35% of job applications are sent from candidates who live out of town. And when new hires relocate to a different county, 26% move within 49 miles, 21% move 50-199 miles, 20% move 200-499 miles, and 34% move 500+ miles.

Some lenders create satellite hubs in talent-rich environments. Others become "zip code" agnostic and hire the best candidates regardless of location to work remotely. Being able to working remotely, even if an employee lives within commute distance, is a request many new employees have, especially Millennials. Who wants to sit in traffic for an hour or two each day?

Other lenders are finding talent among employees who are tired of living in the big city, and want to relocate to more rural surroundings. Often times a site visit is all it takes when someone is paying $2,000 a month in rent for a studio sees a country setting, nice homes for less than $200k, great schools, and no traffic. Employers often schedule on-site interviews on a Friday or Monday so that the candidate is more likely to bring their family along to spend the weekend. Lenders arrange for prospective employees to have time with a local Realtor, little league coaches, principals, even the fire chief.

Some companies avail themselves to nationwide surveys, like the Great Place to Work Institute, to show up on lists. Others increase the pay for remote locations, offer stock options, and pay on profitability. And still others hire available talent even though there is no clear cut job available at the time. 

If you're interested in making some decent coin one can always check out the CFPB jobs website. The CFPB knows a thing or two about recruiting. (It reported that as of September 30 it had 1,486 employees.) It engages in "External outreach, which includes participation at professional conferences and university events, with a special focus on building relationships and marketing with diverse affinity organizations, such as the National Black Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, the Association of Latin Professionals in Finance and Accounting, Ascend Pan Asian Leaders, and the National Association of Black Accountants." And to see how it trains and retains employees, go to page 144 in the latest report.

Are there any upcoming events & training sessions? You bet there are.

Capital Markets Cooperative will be attending the MBA's Independent Bankers Conference in Nashville Dec. 2-4th. "We look forward to discussing the value of CMC's roster of products and services to help you reach the next level of profitability. To schedule a meeting, please contact Cassius Cade, Midwest SVP, and Len Patton, CMB, Northeast SVP. See you in Nashville."

The year is coming to an end and many of you still need to fulfill your NMLS continuing education requirements for 2015. If you're one of these people, REMN Wholesale has a holiday gift for you! REMN is partnering with The Mortgage Educators on a live NMLS webinar for half the cost of their usual fee. The eight-hour SAFE continuing education class will cover integrated disclosure changes, marketing rules, non-QM, ethics and more. The December 4 webinar is open to anyone nationwide, not just REMN partners, but you must register using the link above. "The webinar is just one more example of REMN's commitment to an excellent broker experience. In addition to same day turn times on new files, REMN offers free, weekly renovation lending webinars taught by their in-house renovation loan experts. One of the keys to REMN's success has been maintaining optimal staffing at every level and REMN is currently looking for experienced account executives and underwriters to join their nationwide team. Interested applicants should send their resumes to aerecruiting@remn. com."

We have a webinar coming up on manufactured lending for originators. In this 60 minute webinar, hosted by National Mortgage Professional Magazine and presented by American Financial Resources, experts will dig into Manufactured Housing Lending covering program guidelines, property eligibility, submissions requirements, appraisal requirements and engineer certification helping you discover available lending options. "After participating in this webinar, you will be able to identify manufactured housing opportunities and confidently speak with customers who are looking to purchase or refinance a manufactured home."

If you're in New Mexico in a couple weeks register now for NMMLA's December holiday luncheon on December 10th. I am fortunate to have been tapped to install new Officers and Directors. P.S. Don't forget to bring a teddy bear and/or blanket for the BCSO Teddy Bear Drive!

Amerihome Core Jumbo Program and eligibility reviews webinar will be available once a month for the next 3 months starting December 8th.

Impac Mortgage Wholesale has added four more December dates to its review webinar of TRID Process and Procedure. Available dates are as follows: Thursday, December 3 at 10 AM PST, Tuesday, December 8 at 3 PM PST, Wednesday, December 16 at 10 AM PST, and Monday, December 21 at 3 PM PST. Each meeting has a limited number of participants so call in early, use this link to join the meeting.

MBA's "Leveraging GSE Loan Level Data Webinar Series" starts December 3rd The loan-level data published by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, as well as an overview of the GSE risk share opportunities and performance comprises this series.

AllRegs is offering up several online course available in early 2016: Fundamentals of FHA Underwriting - begins January 5; Appraisal Review - The Framework - begins January 5; Intermediate FHA Underwriting - begins January 6; Quality Control - Loan File Review - begins January 6; Underwriting VA Loans - begins January 7; USDA Rural Housing Loans - begins January 7.

Yes, the stock and bond markets were open Friday, but both ended mixed and little changed. There was no substantive news from the United States or overseas. One thing continues to draw attention, however: the continued fall in oil prices. Crude oil has dropped below $42/barrel, so watch for that to garner some interest especially as OPEC (remember it?) has a meeting on Friday.

It's a new week with new news. Today is Pending Home Sales & the Chicago PMI, and the IMF will decide on whether China's currency will be included in its Special Drawing Rights basket. There are several speaking engagements by Fed Chair Yellen as well as several national bank meetings. And don't forget the November employment numbers on Friday. We closed the 10-year Friday at 2.22% (yes, a FOMC short term rate raise is pretty well baked into that yield) and this morning we're at 2.23% and agency MBS prices are worse a smidge.

Jobs and Announcements

In job & expansion news, Assurance Financial, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is growing and is hiring branch managers and MLOs in the Southeast and Southwest. Assurance Financial has built a reputation for being an amazing place to work and thrive.  According to Paul M. Peters, CMB, Sales Recruiting Manager, the company has an immediate need for Branch Managers and Loan Officers in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina and South Carolina. This is your opportunity to join an established full-service mortgage banker that will consistently close your loans on time, provide excellent marketing support and state-of-the-art technology, pay you with aggressive compensation plans, and help take care of your family with medical, dental, vision, and matching 401K. Assurance has a 15-year history of demonstrated growth, efficient operations and a commitment to employee happiness. For more information, contact Paul M. Peters, CMB or visit www.LendTheWay. com.

And Indecomm, a leading provider of mortgage technology, training, and outsourcing services, is seeking experienced underwriters for California. The successful candidate will provide a high level of customer service, communicating well with loan officers, brokers, and processors. The candidate should also have the ability to review regulatory compliance with disclosures, validate data used by an automated underwriting system to decision loans, and perform a comprehensive review of the appraisal report. Other responsibilities include determining if the loan meets underwriting guidelines, product guidelines, investor requirements, and eligibility requirements. These positions for California will be remote. The ideal candidate should have 5 years of continuous active underwriting experience. An active NMLS license is preferred. Interested candidates should send their resume to HR Manager Candy Mechels.