Independent mortgage banks (IMBs) and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks reported a net loss of $82 on each loan they originated in the second quarter of 2022, down from a reported gain of $223 per loan in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) newly released Quarterly Mortgage Bankers Performance Report. Plus in a recent speech The Fed said that he plans to keep raising rates this year. This means that the mortgage space will be tough, but you can still grow in this environment. Michael Hammond of NexLevel Advisors shared his thoughts on how to succeed in the current mortgage market.
Q: How did you get started in the mortgage industry?
MICHAEL HAMMOND: Just over 25 years ago, I saw an ad for a Director of Sales & Marketing with a mortgage technology company in Livonia, Michigan. At the time, I knew very little about the mortgage industry, let alone mortgage technology. Still, I was highly interested in a position that combined using my law degree with my marketing and sales experience. This opportunity allowed me to utilize multiple skill sets by heading up the sales and marketing departments of a Loan Origination System while being responsible for all contract negotiations.
Many people in the mortgage industry have told me along the way, “Once you are in the mortgage industry, you never leave.” That statement has proven to be true. After 25 plus years of being in the mortgage industry, I could not be more pleased with my decision to join the ranks. I have had the opportunity to meet many exceptional individuals and help numerous companies grow.
Q: Michael, for more than 25 years, you have dedicated your career to driving growth and helping companies differentiate themselves in the marketplace. What factored into your decision to start NexLevel Advisors over 14 years ago?
MICHAEL HAMMOND: My decision to form NexLevel Advisors was in the middle of the mortgage meltdown in 2008. While many thought I was crazy to start a company at that time, I saw a great need in the industry. Companies needed expert advice on navigating the highly challenging market conditions and how to grow their company and gain market share in a down market, but they didn’t have the resources.
They could not afford to hire full-time employees-especially at the executive level to handle their sales, marketing, and public relations initiatives. Yet, they knew they would go out of business if they did nothing. Providing executive-level insight and the ability to execute, create, design, and deliver on those strategies was critical to their success and mine.
That’s what NexLevel Advisors can deliver. NexLevel Advisors is the premier strategic business advisory firm that assists companies in growing their businesses more quickly and strategically than they could by themselves. We specialize in branding, marketing, public relations, growth coaching, video creation, content creation, and social media outreach & message amplification.
Q: You started a podcast Fintech Hunting a few years back. Why a podcast and how has it evolved over the years?
MICHAEL HAMMOND: We created the Fintech Hunting podcast to give the industry a voice. I seek out tech visionaries, leading lenders, trailblazing executives, and other financial influencers to bring you actionable insights all centered around industry success.
We have already published more than 140 episodes and have had tens of thousands of views on social media and thousands upon thousands of full listens. It has been a privilege to speak with so many bright and passionate people who share their story and how they are bringing value to the industry.
Podcasts are personal. By speaking directly into the ears of listeners, they’re communicating with them in a powerful and personal way. Subscribe to the Fintech Hunting podcast here https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/KeOc7ISNEsb.
Q: Over the time that you’ve been in the industry, how has your role changed? What is it like going from the person out in front to the man behind the scenes?
MICHAEL HAMMOND: Since the beginning of my career, I have been responsible for driving growth, hitting and exceeding sales numbers, delivering brand differentiation, implementing marketing programs that generate leads, and constantly working to provide thought leadership and brand awareness to the financial services industry.
Those key fundamentals have not changed over the years. What has changed dramatically is the use of data and analytics in marketing and the techniques and distribution channels being used. Instead of just using direct mail, print Ads, conferences, and cold calling, there are numerous new tools and channels to bring your brand story to life and drive traction throughout the buyer’s journey. These include email marketing, social media, video emails, video interviews, text messaging, digital Ads, Ad retargeting, eBooks, and so on. Learning how to leverage these different channels, the frequency, cadence, content, analytics and data and creativity that needs to be used dramatically impacts results. That’s where knowledge and expertise in this industry is a key differentiator.
Another significant change has come from the number of companies I/we can help. Before forming NexLevel Advisors, my sole focus was on applying my knowledge and expertise to the one company for which I was working. Now, I can use all of those lessons learned to benefit many companies looking to grow. So while I might not be the person in the headlines getting the credit for driving growth for that one company, I receive much greater satisfaction knowing that I/we have added significant value to many companies. I truly believe that has a much more substantial impact on the mortgage industry.
Q: Tells us about NexLevel Advisors as a company.
MICHAEL HAMMOND: At NexLevel Advisors, we say, “We move audiences, generate leads, drive sales and ignite brand stories.” We assist companies with executive-level insight, proven strategies, unique differentiation, action plans, and the ability to execute plans specific to growing their business. We are passionate about taking their business and people to the next level by differentiating their company and its unique offerings.
Q: You talk about helping companies grow. What specific products and services do NexLevel Advisors provide to help companies grow?
MICHAEL HAMMOND: We provide solutions and services in branding, content creation, marketing, digital media, digital Ads, executive coaching, public relations, video outreach, social media, and Podcasting.
Today’s ever-changing marketplace and economic uncertainty challenge every business. These challenging times also present opportunities; to capture market share, gain a competitive advantage, and increase revenue through new customer acquisition.
NexLevel Advisors provides various customized solutions and services to address these market conditions and a company’s desire to take their business to the next level. The specific products and services include the following:
In today’s marketplace, differentiating between competing companies is becoming more challenging. Products and services are becoming increasingly similar, and buzzwords used by many companies are creating noise that can blur the lines of differentiation. Inevitably, a company’s unique personality – its identity – will become a significant factor in choosing between one company and another. NexLevel Advisors helps its clients break through the noise and create true market differentiation.
NexLevel Advisors’ marketing services help its clients strategically market products and services whose complicated selling propositions or complex technical offerings require the communication of highly specialized information to elevate results. We offer world-class expertise and insight to deliver dynamic marketing strategies and campaigns that will take their organization to the next level.
NexLevel Advisors’ media and public relations services assist clients in influencing the influencer to gain maximum exposure and name recognition for their products and services. Our customized solutions allow clients to gain valuable insight and access to industry publications, editors, and analysts while presenting their extraordinary value propositions to the markets they serve. Our media and public relations expertise has secured several industry awards and national recognition for our clients.
Digital & Social Media
Social media is revolutionizing how companies connect with their prospective clients, including the nature of business-to-business interactions. Millions of individuals and business professionals each day are searching online for the answers they need most.
People are looking for information-yes- but they also want to connect with other people and companies. From searching for products and services to sharing success stories, decision-makers are leveraging the Internet to make an informed decision. They are seeking companies that come recommended and ones they can trust. All of this activity has social underpinnings but are they seizing the social media opportunities that are present and continue to grow?
NexLevel Advisors’ digital and social media marketing helps its clients strategically plan, develop, and execute a dynamic program to allow organizations to tap the power of social media, taking your organization to the next level.
Executives value the knowledge and expertise that NexLevel Advisors deliver when making decisions. Executive leaders look to make informed decisions based on more than just “internal knowledge”; they seek information from trusted external resources. Fact-based research, viability assessment, target market segmentation, and competitive analysis provide a detailed view of potential opportunities, risks, and rewards developed explicitly for their organization.
As a trusted business advisor, NexLevel leverages years of experience in business strategy, corporate performance, strategic selling, and marketing to deliver customized solutions that help our clients take advantage of their unique business opportunities. These custom-developed solutions allow them to obtain new insight and perspective, optimize sales and marketing effectiveness, and increase customer loyalty quicker and more strategically as they take their company to the next level.
Q: How is NexLevel Advisors Truly Unique?
MICHAEL HAMMOND: Unlike many traditional agencies, we have been on the client’s side of the fence. We have run mortgage technology companies and have successfully executed growth strategies for those organizations. We have coached lending executives, branch managers, and leading loan officers. This provides critical insights that our clients can’t get anywhere else.
We can both strategize and rapidly execute growth programs for our clients. We are entrepreneurs at heart and highly driven to help our clients accelerate growth and outperform their competition. We help companies establish aggressive business objectives and achieve them with high intensity.
Whether we provide fully integrated programs or assist with specific initiatives and projects, NexLevel Advisors’ focus is always on driving growth. We understand the complex factors in the business environment and how to navigate them, which provides our clients with a fresh perspective and a partner who understands their unique business challenges.
Specialized Financial Services Expertise
NexLevel Advisors offers exceptional, specialized expertise in the financial services and mortgage industries. We work with a broad range of clients ranging from start-ups to mid-size companies to the Fortune 500.
As an active Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) member, NexLevel Advisors attends key industry events and participates in the industry. They will see NexLevel Advisors at events such as the MBA Annual Convention, the MBA Technology in Mortgage Banking Show, ICE Experience, and others. We attend the tradeshows to stay in tune with our clients’ target audiences and industry trends and support our clients’ public relations and marketing activities.
NexLevel Advisors’ public relations group has established relationships with the editors of the leading financial services and mortgage industry media. We regularly propose and provide thought leadership content to these publications. Our public relations organization is in contact with the industry press every day on behalf of our clients.
Our depth of understanding of the financial services and mortgage industries is unsurpassed.
Q: What’s Next for NexLevel Advisors that companies looking to grow should know?
MICHAEL HAMMOND: NexLevel Advisors is committed to taking companies of all sizes to the next level by harnessing the power within people, prospects, and clients. We will enthusiastically bring strategic expertise to every engagement. We are committed to lifelong learning. We will provide our clients with an exceptional customer experience.
We accomplish this by employing and investing in talented people, fostering an environment of continuous growth and creativity, and dedicating ourselves to a commitment to excellence while elevating and supporting our client’s business objectives.
This commitment will allow us to continually bring new and innovative solutions and services to our clients while helping them proactively address market conditions and grow their businesses.
Q: As we wrap up this interview, it is clear that you are passionate about helping companies grow. Can you tell us a few things people may not know about you?
MICHAEL HAMMOND: I have been very blessed throughout my career, working with many wonderfully talented people and great companies. That is why I think it is so important to give back to others.
I have been an Executive Mentor at Xavier University, where I have worked with marketing students since 2003. Working with these bright students and sharing critical insights and experiences so they can make a difference is extremely powerful. I often say I have gotten more out of this experience than the students.
I have also had the privilege to volunteer my time at Catholic Vantage Financial on their board of directors since 2010. This too allowed me to work with some highly dedicated individuals.
In addition, I attend a weekly “Men’s Prayer Breakfast” with over 200 men looking to enhance their Catholic faith by discussing how their faith can significantly impact today’s society.
I love spending time with my beautiful wife Erin of over 27 years and our two amazing daughters. I am also an avid sports fan and passionately root for Notre Dame football and Xavier basketball.
Michael Hammond is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. NexLevel provides solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. A seasoned technology executive, Michael brings close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product and services experience. His expertise spans start-ups to multi-billion dollar corporations, running businesses, business units, marketing, sales, strategy and product and services organizations. Michael brings exceptional insight, leadership, passion, and strategies that create profitability.
Michael Hammond thinks:
1. Companies that want to thrive amidst constantly changing market conditions must lean in and focus on attracting new business.
2. With all of the noise in the industry, companies must work to differentiate their brands if they want to remain relevant.
3. Content is king. Companies must deliver relevant content that adds value throughout the buying journey in unique and different ways through the use of data and analytics.
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