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Transport yourself back to 2019. It’s 9 a.m. You are suited, showered and seated behind a desk in a bustling office. Industry newsletters are reporting that mortgage lenders are tightening their belts as the cost to manufacture a loan peaks at a decade high of $9,299. Then boom! In March 2020 all of that changed. Lenders’ focus on tightly managing margins was replaced by the need to triage an unprecedented surge in refinance volume, which led to a record-shattering $4.3 trillion in U.S. mortgage loan originations, the largest annual volume on record since 2005.

Now, after two years of drinking from a firehose, mortgage lenders must pivot once again to succeed in the vastly different lending landscape that lies ahead. In its December 2021 Mortgage Finance Forecast, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) predicted total mortgage originations will fall 33.6% in 2022, representing a decline in volume from $3.9 trillion in 2021 to $2.6 trillion in 2022. This precipitous drop in originations is grounded in forecasts that higher interest rates will result in a 62.5% year-over-year decrease in refinance volume and the rise of a purchase market.

Amid our industry’s only constant — variability — it should come as no surprise that mortgage lenders are craving ways to more tightly measure, monitor and optimize business and employee performance. Fannie Mae’s Q2 2021 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey found that lenders’ top-two business concerns are process streamlining and talent management.

These concerns were echoed in a survey conducted by The Mortgage Collaborative, in which mortgage lenders indicated that two of their top-five concerns are “scaling and modernizing the loan manufacturing process to better insulate against volume fluctuations” and “measuring operations and employee productivity.”

Data-based performance management is critical to ensuring that each area of an organization is operating in tandem to meet the needs of its customers and is staying profitable. To succeed in a purchase market, lenders should track the following 10 metrics.