Motto Mortgage is a one-of-a-kind mortgage brokerage franchise that is taking the mortgage industry
by storm and making home loans less intimidating to consumers.
By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Knighthouse Media
Homebuying – and securing a mortgage loan to fund the purchase – can be overwhelming and stressful, especially for first-timers which is why one franchisor is working to better that experience – not just for consumers but for franchisees too.
Denver-based Motto Franchising LLC, the second member of the RE/MAX Holdings Inc. (NYSE: RMAX) family of brands, launched in October 2016 as the first national mortgage brokerage franchise concept in the United States. A growing network of Motto Mortgage brokerages is built on exceptional service, a better customer experience and, in many cases, the convenience of having loan originators in close proximity to real estate offices.
Motto Mortgage loan originators work directly with real estate agents and enjoy access to a wholesale lending mix that provides a wide variety of home loan options and competitive rates.
The Motto Mortgage network has expanded very quickly. Fifty franchises were sold the first year, and the 100-sale milestone was eclipsed before the brand’s second birthday. A significant portion of the franchises are up and running. More than 70 network offices in 30 states are open, representing a solid foundation for even more growth to come.
Part of the Motto Mortgage success story is tied to its RE/MAX roots. “We’re a startup that enjoys the advantage of being closely tied to RE/MAX, an industry leader with over 45 years of franchising expertise,” says Motto Franchising, LLC President Ward Morrison, who spent more than a decade in RE/MAX operations. “It’s the best of both worlds – we’re innovating with the hunger of a newcomer, and at the same time leveraging the skills that come through experience.”
“Hitting 100 franchises sold in less than two years is remarkable for any new franchisor, regardless of the industry,” Morrison adds. “Our growth really showcases how revolutionary the Motto Mortgage model is. It’s an incredibly exciting thing to be part of.”
Joining the Disruption
As more people turn to franchising to be in business for themselves but not by themselves, the Motto Mortgage business model offers a somewhat turnkey solution. “We designed what we call a mortgage brokerage in a box – doing much of the heavy lifting beforehand so the new franchisee doesn’t have to. Then we provide very focused onboarding, training and support, as well as a constantly evolving suite of products and services,” Morrison says. “Our prospective franchisees bring experience in mortgage, real estate or finance, and then we help them build from there – helping them get set up with licensing, product training, compliance, technology and many other things they need to get started.”
As the very first national mortgage brokerage franchise in the country, Motto Mortgage pioneered a unique onboarding process that emphasizes continuing education and legal compliance. “Compliance is very important in the financial industry, so we help our franchise owners through the licensing process,” Morrison notes. “From their first day as Motto Mortgage brokerage office owners, we train them to cultivate a culture of regulatory compliance. We believe a compliance-first mentality helps all the other large stones – like loan originator recruitment, state exam preparation, or employee productivity – fall into place more smoothly.”
Motto Mortgage brokerage office owners are encouraged to recruit loan originators who have backgrounds in the mortgage industry and other financial services. High-quality loan originators are crucial to growing the network, which is why Motto Franchising, LLC offers an in-depth, three-day training program for brokerage office owners and loan originators at its headquarters in Denver.
In-person training enables brokerage office owners to learn at an accelerated, focused pace. Attendees learn about the brand’s workflow and many mortgage tools, such as marketing and continuing education platforms. The monthly on-site trainings build productive relationships between the headquarters team and the network offices, as well as among the brokerage office owners themselves. The peer support and camaraderie can make a huge difference as the new brokerage office owners navigate uncharted territory in running their own businesses.
Once training is complete, brokerage office owners and loan originators can continue their education through Motto Mortgage University, a learning portal with dozens of compliance videos and courses.
Motto Mortgage loan originators work close by – and closely with – real estate agents to deliver a one-stop solution. Understanding no loan is one-size-fits-all, loan originators in the Motto Mortgage network work hard to give homebuyers options and present competitive quotes from a network of approved wholesale lenders. “We want to maximize the consumer experience,” Morrison says. “Homebuying can be a scary process, and we understand the positive impact of transparency and communication. When the loan originator and real estate agent are both aligned working for and with the consumer, it’s a big win for everyone. It creates an experience the consumer is excited to tell friends about. In many respects, focusing on the interests of each customer is what drove RE/MAX growth and success through the years. Motto Mortgage network offices are in the business of building and maintaining these relationships. It’s what will continually set us apart from our competition.”
Staying Ahead of the Curve
In the ever-changing mortgage industry, Motto Franchising, LLC partners closely with high-quality vendors to implement the latest technology. “We stay ahead of the technology curve and find the best tools and products for brokerage office owners,” Morrison says.
Industry changes and their impacts on the market and Motto Mortgage network loan originators are also a top focus. “The biggest thing right now, is education on how mortgage rates are changing and what that means,” Morrison says. “The 30-year average rate on home loans is 8.1 percent, and right now consumers are concerned that we’re about to go above 5 percent. Millennials have never seen interest rates above 8 percent. They can’t even fathom it. That’s why it’s so important for us to educate buyers about the short- and long-term impacts of home ownership as it continues to be something important to their financial future.”
Motto Franchising, LLC shares updates and best practices with its brokerage office owners and their loan originators through “Motto Minute” videos and monthly calls. The company has multiple channels that enable brokerage office owners and their loan originators to share their insights, ask questions and uncover solutions to common challenges. “We value franchisee feedback on every aspect of the system,” Morrison says. “We’re constantly following up on things, such as the new Customer Relations Management (CRM) system we rolled out. We want to know how every new tool is working out. Franchisees should never be shy about giving us their feedback.”
The Wow Factor
“I think it’s important for people in the franchise world to realize the value of being customer-obsessed at all times,” Morrison says. “We’re constantly asking ourselves, what can we do today to wow our franchisees and new customers? It really never stops. We’re obsessed with helping our franchisees build their business and become the success they want to be.”
A key for each Motto Mortgage office is having ambitious brokerage office owners who are natural leaders and can support their team. They are vital in building a strong business foundation which can help recruit top tier loan originators, who can in turn, help attract new clients. It all starts at the top. Morrison says it’s getting easier for brokerage office owners to recruit loan originators than it was a year-and-a-half ago. “I think it’s a combination of factors, many of them tied to our growth. Motto Mortgage is becoming a much more well-known brand, and we’re developing a reputation of being innovative in our industry. I think people want to be a part of that.”
By attracting the right people and strengthening the brand, Motto Franchising, LLC plans to keep growing, evolving, and providing opportunities for franchisees and their loan originators alike.
“We’re always working to strengthen our core and provide our franchisees with new competitive advantages,” Morrison says. “We’re into our third year now, but we’re as charged up and ready to go as we were day one. A lot of terrific people have joined us on this adventure, and we owe it them to give it everything we’ve got. Every single day. Hitting 100 franchises is fantastic, but it’s just the beginning.”
The Motto Mortgage Mission Against Hunger was founded as an avenue for the Motto Mortgage network to give back to the local communities they serve. “Everyone wants to be part of a company that gives back to the community,” Motto Franchising, LLC president Ward Morrison says. “We connect franchisees with local food banks, charities and churches by hosting food drives and letting consumers know about donating non-perishable food items if they don’t want to move those food products to a new home.”
The Motto Mortgage Mission Against Hunger strives to bring hope to those in its communities who are food insecure. One in seven Americans relies on food banks, according to Feeding America’s 2014 Hunger in America study. Community members can take and fill a Mission Against Hunger bag with nonperishable food donations and return the bag to the Motto Mortgage network office, which then delivers it to the local food bank.
“Here at headquarters we did a food drive for the holidays and we’ll host one at the end of May because we know children are home from school for the summer,” Morrison says. “Motto Mortgage network offices believe in building healthy communities and are encouraged to host their own food drives. We know the needs of customers, partners and communities go far beyond home loans.”
Getting to Know Motto Mortgage
* Founded Oct. 25, 2016
* Second member of the RE/MAX Holdings Inc. family of brands
* Over 100 franchises sold, and more than 70 offices open in 30 states
* Brand’s name “Motto” is a nod to former CEO of Motto Franchising, LLC, and RE/MAX co-founder Dave Liniger, who is well-known for his inspiring entrepreneurial mottos
* Among top 1 percent of fastest-growing emerging franchises in 2018, based on a Franchise Grade® review of sales information in 2,500 Franchise Disclose Documents (issued during a 12-month period ending August 30, 2018)
* Motto Franchising LLC President Ward Morrison was recently named a HousingWire 2018 Vanguard recipient
* Franchise opportunities available in all 50 states
* Each Motto Mortgage office is independently owned, operated and licensed.
* Motto Franchising LLC is not a lender, bank or broker.
This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a Motto Mortgage franchise. It is for informational purposes only. Motto Franchising, LLC, 5075 South Syracuse St #1200, Denver, CO 80237, 1.866.668.8649. For full legal information, visit www.mottomortgage.com.