Top Originator Spotlight: Jenny Barton of Taylor Morrison Home Funding

Mortgage consultant gives tips on how to increase loan production in a slower economy

Top Originator Spotlight: Jenny Barton of Taylor Morrison Home Funding

“Once you’re in the industry, you never get out,” said Jenny Barton, loan consultant at Taylor Morrison Home Funding.

That may sound grim, but Barton, who has been in the mortgage industry for over three decades, has stayed for a reason.

“I never wanted to quit,” she said. “The one thing that keeps me in this industry is getting people into their new homes. That email/text after closing showing gratitude for our assistance in making their dream come true – that’s it.”

In this exclusive Q&A, Barton opened up about her mortgage career and how she weathered the “perfect storm” that is 2022. What follows is an edited version of our interview.

Mortgage Professional America: Can you tell us about your mortgage journey? How did you come into the industry?

Jenny Barton: I got straight into the industry the Fall after graduating college. I made a connection with an owner of a small mortgage company sitting at a beer tent at a trap shooting event. He hired me as an entry-level closer and worked my way to a branch processing manager. Once you’re in the industry, you never get out.  I have worked in so many facets of the industry, from origination, to processing, to closing and management. This is an industry that allows you the flexibility to use your skill sets and knowledge in so many ways. I have been fortunate to be able to work in different aspects based on what works for my personal needs during different stages of my life. 

MPA: What are the threats to your business and your success, and how are you handling them? Have you ever been so discouraged you wanted to quit?

JB: In our current environment, threats come from different angles. Rising interest rates driving new home buyers out of the market – both for affordability and qualifying – threatens the number of new people we will have available to help. This could also result in a significant exiting of many lenders. I expect to see some of the same exoduses we did in 2008-2010. Only the strong and reputable will survive. Those that will succeed will be customer focused and offer a fair and competitive product with the service to back it up.

MPA: What’s the most dangerous behavior/trait you have seen derail originators’ careers?

JB: Lack of accountability. You have to take ownership of every customer – from prequalification to closing.

MPA:  How do you encourage mortgage professionals not to give up?

JB: With over 30 years in the industry, it comes with weathering the ups and downs. The mortgage meltdown in 2008 was tough, and 2022 has been the toughest year since then – the perfect storm of increasing prices and increasing rates. A market environment we haven’t seen in a long time, since I can remember. You just have to know that the business is cyclical, and we will see the “better days” again. But it’s time to dig in, use all the skills we have, and get it done. It will get better.

MPA: How do you stay grounded and take care of yourself?

JB: Take on one task at a time. One customer at a time. One challenge at a time. Knowing you can only do so much in a day’s work and balancing my personal life is extremely important to me.

MPA: What advice would you have for any originator who is either starting in the business or has been in the industry for a long time and is having difficulty boosting their production?

JB: Starting in the business – learn from the ground up. Soak in as much knowledge as you can about all departments that participate in “making a loan.” Knowledge is power for your success. You’re in for a long time. You’ve stayed for a reason. Remember those, remember all the homebuyers you have helped and take one day at a time. Boosting production – make time in your days to build relationships with your referral sources and your customers

What strategies are you employing to improve loan production during this market downturn? Let us know in the comments below.