Guest article provided by: sandiegohomelender.com
Years ago, if you asked someone to picture a mortgage broker, any mortgage broker, what image do you think would have come to mind? Probably a man. But today, if you asked a number of people that same question, you would probably get varied responses.
The mortgage industry has grown to encompass much more diversity over time. But how well-represented are women at mortgage companies? And what is it like to work as a female mortgage lender or broker?
The Numbers: Women in the Mortgage Industry
Data USA provides statistics on loan officers and credit counselors, a category that includes real estate brokers. Interestingly enough, for the entire category, the female workforce of 201,000 people exceeds the male workforce of 153,000 people. Women comprise 56.8% of the workforce. Female workers in this field have an average age of 44.
It is worth pointing out that “loan officers and credit counselors” is a pretty big category, however. Within the mortgage field specifically, women are still underrepresented. Mortgage news site MReport talks about how the mortgage industry remains a male-dominated one, and also is still largely dominated by Caucasian workers.
There are professional organizations and publications that cater specifically to women in the mortgage industry, for example the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women (NAPMW), and Mortgage Women Magazine. Resources like these are helping more women to break into the industry and build thriving careers.
San Diego Mortgage Lender Maureen Martin Shares Her Experiences
We talked with Maureen Martin to find out more about the lives of women in the mortgage industry. Maureen is a residential mortgage lender in San Diego with more than 18 years of experience.
Speaking about her work, Maureen is very positive of the role that her gender has played. She explains, “I think that being a woman in the mortgage industry has helped me. After all, woman are masters at multitasking, and if there is any job that requires multitasking, it would be a mortgage lender! But in all seriousness, I have been blessed in that I haven’t really faced the glass ceiling. I KNOW it exists, but I’m blessed to have been able to work around it.”
Maureen continues, “When I first started back in 1998, I was the only woman in sales. I even heard at one of my first jobs that I was the first woman in sales at the office to ever be number one. Typically, the women were in the back office doing processing and underwriting, and the men were in sales. But again, I believe that the skills women are often socialized to develop—like multitasking—are a great fit for a female in this field.”
The Increase in Women Working in the Mortgage Industry Parallels an Increase in Women Buying Homes
It is a good time to get into the mortgage industry as a woman, because female homebuyers are also becoming more common.
NBC News reported in 2020, “Single women accounted for nearly 20 percent of home purchases in 2019, and that number is only continuing to grow.” It makes sense that to serve a growing female customer base, the mortgage industry would benefit from more female loan officers.
This article explains, “Loan officers might have an easier time monitoring and disciplining borrowers of their own gender, in which case we would expect to find a lower arrear probability of female borrowers if the loan is approved and monitored by a female rather than by a male loan officer and vice versa.”
As Maureen Martin discussed, the ways in which women are commonly socialized may also mean that female mortgage employees can bring additional benefits to the table.
The same article points out that women tend to be more averse to taking risks than men. If this plays out in the mortgage industry, “it may be that loans handled by female loan officers are less likely to become problem loans because women grant loans more restrictively.”
More research is still needed to fully understand the way in which the genders of loan officers could impact their performance and the experiences of borrowers, but it is certainly food for thought.
It Seems Likely Women Will Continue to Play a Larger Role in the Mortgage Industry
Now you know a bit more about what it is like to work as a woman in the mortgage field. While this is still a male-dominated industry, women are playing a larger and larger part in it. Given shifts in borrower demographics as well as theories about ways in which being female could be advantageous for loan officers, it seems likely that we will see more and more women becoming mortgage brokers, lenders, and loan officers in the years ahead.