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Becoming a branch manager is hard.

But, it can be the most rewarding career you ever choose. It incorporates writing lots of loans, building an awesome team, and leading the branch.

When you learn and combine those skills, it becomes life-changing with the friendships you create and the money you make.

Robert Fillyaw spent 18 years perfecting those skills and now is on pace to bring $1 billion in loans by 2022.

In this episode, he reveals how to put the process in place to become a branch manager.

Show highlights include:

  • How focusing on your on own loan processing production gives you more time to build your team (3:02)
  • The “McDonald's University” flowchart that guides you to write more loans (4:53)
  • Why slowing down to trust the loan process and not blundering ahead lets you get more loans done (even if your loan partner doesn't do them right away) (7:42)
  • The “Daily Success Plan” that eliminates your rollercoaster of tons of sales one month and no sales the next month (8:51)
  • Why making many mistakes for years and years launches you to building your own team and managing your own branch (16:09)

Want to get your questions answered live? Head to MLOlive.com and discover how you could become a Millionaire Loan Officer!

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to The Millionaire Loan Officer podcast with your host, Scott Hudspeth sharing tools, tips and strategies so that you can go from a mortgage loan officer to a millionaire loan officer. It's your host, Scott Hudspeth.

Scotty: Hey everybody, this is Scott Hudspeth with Millionaire Loan Officer powered by Mortgage Marketing Animal and The Loan Officer Breakfast Club. I'm super excited to have a dear friend of mine, business partner and man, dude Loan Officer Extraordinaire. That's what I'm going to give you brother.

Robert: That's high praise coming from you man.

Scotty: We got a little love Fest with Corvette, but we'll leave that. We'll leave that out of the podcast. Yeah.

Robert: That’s another show another time.

Scotty: That’s another show another time. Might have to do it from a vet like you're in a vet and I'm going to vet. That'd be pretty cool, man.

Robert: Maybe like from the track.

Scotty: From the track. Just to like.

Robert: Yeah.

Scotty: Just hit it about a hundred and just like podcast it out, you know.

Robert: Absolutely.

Scotty: So, Robert man, Robert had been friends for a long time. I know like the last three years dude have been like the atomic bomb. Like your life has literally done a, I can't even say a 180, cause it's not, it's so much better than that. And I just want to start out, like, let's just back up. Well, tell us a little bit about yourself, Robert, and how long you've been in the business and then we'll kind of jump from there. [01:23.9]

Robert: Yeah, man, absolutely. Thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it. So, I've been in the business longer than I care to admit, cause my first mortgage loan back in 2003. So, coming up on that 20 year mark.

Scotty: Woooffff.

Robert: Not too far in the future, right.

Scotty: Okay.

Robert: I’m not that old, but I guess I am. And you know, had a good run, a lot of fun, a lot of closings along the way and were we're fortunate enough to meet you and coming to the freedom club and everything that that is, I guess probably 2016. So, it's five years under our belt, Scotty. That, does not seem real either.

Scotty: That does not seem real at all, man. So, I remember having dinner with you and your wife. I think it was either Colorado or Texas. I don't remember. I think it was Colorado.

Robert: I think so.

Scotty: Yeah.

Robert: I remember the dinner. I don't remember where we were there, hmm.

Scotty: We were Downtown.

Robert: Maybe in Puerto Rico. Was it Puerto Rico? We've been so many places, man. It's hard to say. [02:16.5]

Scotty: I know. So, I know that you, you got a lot of different things, but the mortgage business has been very well to you and you're, you're helping a ton of people follow the DSP and you do weekly coaching with your people, but like from three years ago to today, man, do you mind if I share your numbers?

Robert: No, no not at all.

Scotty: So, three years ago you were doing about 80 - 90 million. Would that be fair?

Robert: Yeah. Branch did 92 million in 18.

Scotty: Okay. And then what's your forecast? Like what are you doing per month right now on average?

Robert: We're doing about 52 to 53 million a month on average.


Robert: So, we're pacing on 600 mil.

Scotty: Wow. I'm pace to hit 600. Does that even seem real man? Like did you.

Robert: It's a dream. It's indescribable man. Totally blessed.

Scotty: Yeah.

Robert: To have the people that we've been able to line up with to make it all possible. That's cool.

Scotty: Very cool. So, what would you say like three years ago, let's talk about three years ago when you first got started growing this thing, you’re like, all right, I'm going to go this direction instead of this direction, I'm going to help other people grow loan officers instead of myself and just build out my own business? Like what was it that helped you go down that road as far as building something this big? [03:20.7]

Robert: Yeah, I mean, honestly man, it was a lot of them, it was just the mentality and the thought process of yourself and Carl and everyone I've been so fortunate to meet in the club. Everyone's just so giving and so, in a spirit of mindset of abundance. I had in 2016 I had started kind of building my team and, or perfecting I've started building it, but not very well. So, from kind of 16 to 18, I really just focused on my production and building my team and had it dialed in and running really smooth. I mean, honestly, Scotty, I had gotten to a point where I was a little bit bored, one of two things, as I looked around, I wanted number one to be able to give back and you know, pay it forward, like had been paid for it in my life. And then number two, I wanted to build something that could, that could be generational and that could be a legacy, you know, moving forward for my kids as they so decided that they wanted to get into this crazy business. So that launches to the branch man. And as we launched the branch, I knew my mindset the whole time was kind of that servant leadership, you know, help others come in and grow. And that's really what we decided, we wanted our message to be on focus to be. And it's been a game changer, not only, you know, for, for my life, you know, from the numbers and all that, but just to be able to participate and help loan officers get out of their files and get out of their mess and watch when they come in and you know, it's all new and then start to fall into place and the things start happening. It's awesome. Like it's truly amazing. [04:51.8]

Scotty: Yeah. I know you're at the freedom club events that we go to and the MMA events you're known as the detailed guy, like your systems that you have in place, I believe are second to none. And I just, is that your doing? Or is that like just kind of how you're wired cause I know a lot of good salespeople aren't detailed oriented, right. And so that's a great mix if it was you or if it's your wife or cause you had to spend a lot of time on being detail oriented and to do 52-53 million, you have to be detailed oriented. Where'd that come from? [05:20.9]

Robert: Yeah, you know, I think I was a logistics specialist in the Marine Corps, you know.

Scotty: Ahh.

Robert: So, eight years of nothing, but making sure that the beans bullets and band-aids got to the fight, and you know, a lot of that is the details and making sure that, you know a lot of it's applicable to our loan process. We think about, you know, through the loan process, you've got to do A, to get to B and if you don't do A timely, then B's hung out. So, you've always gotta be thinking, you know, a step or two ahead of the curve. So that kind of put the mindset in place for me, but really, and truly man, I've been blessed to be surrounded with some amazing individuals through my career and have them play a part of it. You know, we locked ourselves in a room one day on a Saturday for probably about seven hours. And just literally I think about it, if any of you have seen the movie, the founder about McDonald's for their in, they draw out the McDonald's and they're going through the, like making a burger and bumping into each other and kicks in their foot, like we did that with a loan. Start to finish, let's talk through the flow of the loan and who's going to do what, and like it was Acts of Freedom on steroids and scripted out every piece of the process, every email, all the phases. And then it's just continual tweaking it as we go. So, we were really blessed to have strong people involved that participated in that. [06:36.8]

Scotty: Have you had to redo and for those people that, I mean, if you don't know what the Acts of Freedom is, man, just give either Robert or I, get on our calendar and we'll show like it's the most, especially if you're running a branch.

Robert: Game changer.

Scotty: It's the only thing. Yeah, it’s a game changer. Is that something you've had to redo on a regular basis as you've grown? Or do you find yourself going back in that room and redoing it like once a year? Like what does that look like?

Robert: We probably do a deep dive probably twice a year into it to tweak it. You know we're consistently both in my personal team and at the branch level consistently looking for ways to get better in ways to improvement. So even today with the branch, the size that we are still have a team sales meeting with my team to make sure everything's put in. I do a sales call with the LOs every week. We do an all hands call every week and then we do a leadership call every week where we dig into specifically the loans and the process and the flow and did something get off track. And what was it? How do we fix it and how do we make sure it doesn't get off track again? Yeah, there's constant attention to it. [07:36.3]

Scotty: Gotcha. Dude what is one of the things that you see loan officers as you meet them? Cause you're at all the events and you talk to people. What's the, one of the big things that they miss out on when it comes to the process, if there is one?

Robert: You know, I would say that they miss out on it. I think the biggest challenge for them as it comes to the process is actually trusting it and letting it go. Like getting, putting the pieces in place and letting it run the way that it's supposed to run. You know, loan officers are typically just very, very high if we talk about the risk and take charge and they want everything done right now and they're used to doing that. So, when you have a loan partner, you start kind of getting out of your files. It's hard, it can be a real big challenge. And they started to jump in because something didn't get done in 20 minutes, right.

Scotty: Right, right.

Robert: And we're constantly preaching on that. Like let the system work, let the system work.

Scotty: Yeah. You got to wait 30 minutes for even try anything.

Robert: Right, right. Exactly. [08:31.3]

Scotty: I love it. I love it.

Robert: It's funny loan officers are calling me, and I'll be like, oh, this hasn't happened yet. I'm looking and they send an email at seven o'clock last night and it's 9:15, this morning, I'm like 15 minutes has gone by, 15 business minutes. I’m like let's give it a chance.

Scotty: Let the people get their coffee, first cup of coffee.


Scotty: I'm gonna talk to him, yeah. So, with all the people you work with and have worked with as far as loan officers, what's one thing that you think has helped loan officers, the greatest, having a process in place and letting go. I know what the hardest part is letting go. But what's the, one of the things that if they do it, they will have more business, get more business and just be more successful.

Robert: That's lifestyle you should do. That's the DSP.

Scotty: Yeah.

Robert: Nothing else compares. And I don't care what, you know, until someone can prove otherwise the DSP rules the world to build your business.

Scotty: Yeah.

Robert: You know, it's tactical, it's already built. You don't even really have to think about it. Just do it. And people get so wrapped up in their head and you know, have a little down on their shoulder and just get some call reluctance, get outside of your, get comfortable, being uncomfortable and just do the DSP. And I guarantee you, your business will grow. I've never seen someone do it. And their business not grow, have you? [09:38.9]

Scotty: To this second, o, not even close. I mean.

Robert: Not even close.

Scotty: Why is it you think, man and just for everybody listening, the DSP stands for daily success plan. We have a tried-and-true Bulletproof Monday through Thursday daily success plan that just has made loan officers so much so successful, I'll just say it that way. You can take this thing as big as you want. So, what is one thing that, so you've got the DSP. What is it that keeps like, I know that no’s are the hardest, but like a lot of loan officers start the DSP, they get sidetracked and then they have these roller coaster months. How do you remove them from having a big month and then a no month and a big month, no month. How do you remove them from doing that? [10:22.7]

Robert: You got to provide the support. You got to give him the support and the support you provide has to have the capacity to handle the business they're bringing in. Because loan officers are, you know, it's like anything else with trust, right? Like it takes a long time to build it and the minute they feel that they're not covered, they're going to dive back in cause it's their reputation, it's their name, it's their paycheck, right. So, you know, you've got to give the support and you've got to have capacity with the support that's provided to make sure that they're taken care of and don't feel that need to jump back in.

Scotty: Gotcha. And I know it, man, you've been so instrumental in removing yourself from the equation and putting people in place. Was that hard at first? Or because you built something pretty big before you even started building this monster, was that hard and how how'd you overcome those letting goes of now you have like, how big is your team? [11:10.1]

Robert: We've got 22 locations in 10 states.

Scotty: Wow.

Robert: Where a 120, we’ve got 120 employees now.

Scotty: Wow, okay.

Robert: 25 family members in the group, so. Yeah, it was really hard scouting. It was really, really hard. I mean, there's still times when it's hard, you know, I still get, I'm find myself jumping in and I'm, knee-deep in fixing something instead of my highest and best shoes and let me trust in the system and let it work, right.

Scotty: Hmm.

Robert: So, you know, I think what helps me is to realize when I'm doing those things and I'm not letting the system work, we realize, what am I missing? What am I not doing? What am I sacrificing as a result in terms of time? And typically, that sacrificing is either having conversations around recruiting for us or a lot of times, honestly for me, man, I'm digging into something and not trusting the system, I’m sacrificing family time and work life balance, which is something that I never want to do because that was the whole catalyst that put me on this path.

Scotty: Yeah. Gotcha. [12:08.7]

Robert: So, you know, if you find yourself out there and you're not, you're finding yourself getting drug back in and, and not trusting the system, I think there's two questions. Number one, does, you know, is your system broken and maybe it is and that's something we can talk about and look at fixing. Number two is it's not or if it's a huge issue because there are a lot of loan officers that it's a them issue. They just take back in. What are you missing out on as you're doing those activities that should be on someone else plate. What's the true cost of that? You know.

Scotty: The cost is so high, it's just scary. It's so scary to not do that DSP. I mean, on average, I, you know, when I do the DSP with somebody and I run through the numbers that they're missing out on from, you know, not doing the Monday through Thursday, activities is minimum 10 loans.

Robert: I know.

Scotty: It's just like when you take that times $300,000, whatever, is the loan size, 3 million out, like we're talking, life-changing money, that's sitting right there with people that you already know, you know, it's. So, at what time, when did you decide? Cause you were doing loans at 80 as what you're billing as a branch manager. Did you remove yourself from loans and say, all right, I'm all out of loans? Did you delegate that part out or did you put a team in place just for your production? Or you just said, man, I'm out and then you'd start helping grow something bigger. [13:16.7]

Robert: Yeah. So really, as I was building the team, it was probably midway of like 17, right. That we looked at it and I said, okay, the branch is on the horizon. So, then the back part of 17, I really worked on having my personal team self-sufficient. And the conversation was, you know, when I launched the branch, I'm going off producing and I'm going to need you guys to run, I'm going to be focusing on other things. So, I need you guys to run it on the production. And so really it was at the beginning of 18 when we launched the branch out, we’re now producing out of the gate and just let, my internal team managed my production.

Scotty: Awesome.

Robert: They've done a great job with it man. So, I think anybody, I always look at being a branch manager, really kind of three phases. First of all, you've got to have your team in place and running. Like, you know, we talked to a lot of LO’s out there that are doing strong volume, good business, but there's still a one-man band and they don't have any team built around them. And they, you know, they think the next, the next natural step is to be a branch manager. That's not necessarily always the best next step for most people, honestly, I would say. So if you don't have your team built out to where they can handle your business, I don't know that being a branch manager is the best call. That's step one. Then step two, you start working on building the branch, right? Bringing in the people and supporting them and helping them grow. For me, now that's the phase that I'm in, man. I'm loving it. You and I have talked about this a number of times, I'm just trying to put ripples in the pond, man. Everybody that I have helped and everybody that we take their business and change it, give them work life balance back. It's another ripple in my pond of, of success of paying it forward and then they doing it, you know, down the road, which is really cool. And then the third phase, once you get all that built in, you know, you're running, you've got to start looking at the legacy planning piece I think. This is a business where I think there's a lot of opportunity missed in this industry and business with loan officers and branch managers who have built something really cool with a lot of and a lot of . And then when they get ready to step away, they don't have a defined exit strategy. You don't have any legacy plan, you know So, then what are you building it for? So, I think those three phases of kind of running the branch are pretty cool. [15:21.4]

Scotty: I love it, man. I couldn't have said it better myself brother. Going back to, and this is so important, you know, you and I, both everybody in the freedom club try to keep people from doing as they try to, without having their team in place, go build a branch. And it's so dangerous. Something's got to give, right.

Robert: So tough. It's just so hard.

Scotty: Yeah.

Robert: Yeah, cause invariably, you're going to get to that situation where your loan officer has something that's gone sideways, and you have something that’s going sideways then what do you do? What do you pick? Right and let's be honest like we talked to loan officers every day. I talked to a ton of loan officers every day who are with producing branch managers who don't have the theme and they don't get the support that they're looking for, tight. They can't get them; they're competing with them in the market, right. So, it's just, I'm not saying that's right or wrong, it's just not what was a fit for us.

Scotty: Yeah.

Robert: But we wanted to do it. [16:08.4]

Scotty: Yeah. Good stuff. Good stuff. So, so would you tell somebody that man, I want to have what Robert has someday and would you known what you know now before you had the aid, like to say you're at 15 million, 20 million, would you plug into someone else first, grow your own production to where it's sustainable and then with another team and then start putting your own team in place? Is that kind of, or is there a different road that you take on that?

Robert: Yeah, I mean, I think it all depends on where you're at. I think you can do both. I think you can, you know, if you were at that kind of 10, 12, 15 million production, you don't have the team yet and you may not quite be there to be able to stand on your own, building your own team. It makes a lot of sense to plug in with someone. The other part of it is Scotty that people don't think about is like you and I talked about at the beginning, right? This process flow, what we have built people look at it from the outside. And so that's awful. I'm going to do that without the realization that, I mean, this is 18 years of.

Scotty: Yeah.

Robert: You know planting and pruning and trimming and fertile like yeah, hell of a nice harvest right now, but 18 years in the making. So, when you are able to align someone with someone who is there, as you're starting to do this, you can avoid a lot of the pitfalls and a lot of the missed steps, right? Like I can almost guarantee you I'd probably mess up every facet of this as we've figured it out along the way, right? Like I've made all the mistakes. It's nice to be able to align someone and them show you how to do it without making mistakes. And then when you're ready to launch, you have that, just that next step that's there, you know, to bring your full team in and then ultimately take it where you want to from there. [17:43.8]

Scotty: Yeah, Matt Rowan he’s on here saying, ‘if you can't be a great manager, if it's still about you.’

Robert: 100%

Scotty: Which is so true. So, man, what are you doing? Cause man, I'm, I'm a little nervous about this for a lot of reasons. For a lot of people, 2022, the forecast is, you know, for 2021, 3.4 trillion.

Robert: We're going to lose a trillion dollars.

Scotty: Trillion dollar decrease in production.

Robert: It’s all refi business

Scotty: All refi, but like what, man, I get chills talking about it. Cause I know what's going to happen. What are you doing to prepare and help your people prepare for it? [18:16.9]

Robert: DSP all day, every day.

Scotty: Yeah.

Robert: We're preaching it, DSP DSP. You know, here's the thing, this is almost verbatim the conversation we have. Guys listen, if you're not doing your DSP, you're going to get left behind. You have to build the relationships now so when this happens next year, when we start seeing this, we're already seeing the refills pull back, right. But when it happens that you are the trusted professional, that real estate partner is referring to. That way you're not getting into these knife fights in terms of rates, as margin compression sets in and all the Refi’s bubba’s out there who don't do, purchases are trying to just compete on price. You've got to have that edge. You've got to have the relationships already there. You've got to already be established for these agents not only for that, but also because every time they can, hear you, they're going to be starving if they've just been doing refills and they're going to be chasing your agents. So, you better be entrenched with them. You better have deep and strong relationships and you better run it.

Scotty: Yeah.

Robert: Like it's going to be a mess next year. [19:16.2]

Scotty: It’s going to be a mess. It's only going to be a mess if you don't start now.

Robert: Yup.

Scotty: Literally it's life like almost start, like you have no money and you're just starting out and you need to build something quick, or you're going to starve and go out, you know, like literally lose everything. You know, it's almost like you have to be right now. I feel so.

Robert: I don't disagree, man. If you're looking at your pipeline, you know, year to date and you're, if you're not 70 to 75% purchase, you need to be kicking in and then the next year.

Scotty: Yeah.

Robert: To start on some realtor relationships, a hundred percent.

Scotty: Amen. So what tell us somebody that's just getting in the business, cause man, I'm seeing a lot of people coming in the business cause it's, it's almost like they're coming in. I don't know if it's the, I don't want to say it's the wrong time, but.

Robert: Yeah, yeah.

Scotty: Yeah, everybody heard how good it's been the last two years, but oh, here we go next year so. What would you tell somebody just getting in man? You and I sound like a broken record every time going on DSP, DSP.

Robert: Yeah, and yeah.

Scotty: It's so, thank you Carl for just making it so simple. I love the people that fight it. Cause we'll just, you know, like you said, blow right by him, but what would you tell somebody to just getting in? [20:14.4]

Robert: You know, obviously DSP is a big piece of it. You know, the other thing we talk about this all the time is just proactive, effective communication and under promise and over deliver. I think those two pieces are missing from our industry. You know, part of that is not being scared to have a difficult conversation. You know, as loan officers, we take so much burden on our shoulders. When in reality, a lot of the stuff that's either out of our control or not about making do things right. It's just get in front of it, eat the frog, communicate it. You know, if you, if that appraisals delayed and you think it's going to come in Thursday, don't, don't tell everybody we're closing Friday. You're just throwing your whole ops team behind the gun. Like, okay, if it's coming in Thursday, we're going to probably close Monday maybe, you know. Like, who just under promised over delivered, that way you're always hitting the expectations that you set, and you know, they can, you're you're accountable and trustworthy at that point. [21:08.0]

Scotty: I love it. I love it, man. So, dude what's next for you man? Throw some out there. Give me what you got. What are you going to do next year, man? I know what you've told me, but I don't want to put that out there. Like, what's the Robert goal? Cause everybody's tasted Robert whether you want to admit it.

Robert: I don't know if everybody's chasing Robert.

Scotty: Everybody is chasing Robert.

Robert: I'm just blessed to be surrounded by a lot of people that are keeping me honest and keeping me pushing man. The goal is a billion. We're run the bill to a billion and a that we had set that goal at the end of 2023. But I've been challenged by some others, yourself and Carl, just some other people in some organizations as well to make that billion-dollar goal, they run rate at least a billion-dollar goal by 2022.

Scotty: Love it.

Robert: That’s why that 83 - 84 million a month.

Scotty: You got it man.

Robert: So, I got some work to do.

Scotty: Of course, it’s easy everybody to do right.

Robert: Right.

Scotty: Dude I can't tell you first off, thank you for your services. I know you were in there and thank you so much for what you've done for our country, man. Appreciate you.

Robert: My pleasure man.

Scotty: You're a dear friend and I love hanging out with you. I love your drive. I love the legacy that you're leaving for your children the same with me so, it's just really cool stuff. So, any final words before we shut her down here man? [22:16.8]

Robert: No, man, listen, I appreciate you having me on, much love to you. You know you guys, I say it all the time, you and Carl and everybody over there, Tammy, all of you guys, you guls like literally changed my life and I'm just humbled and honored to be able to know you and to benefit from an end and to be able to pay it forward in a small, just a fraction of what you guys have done, but to be able to pay it forward and to give back to others now is a really cool thing. But it's a hell of a lot of fun. [22:44.0]

Scotty: Yeah. It's amazing. So, someone to get a hold of and say, Hey Robert, what's up? Dude what kind of process you got going over there, man? Like get into, I want to help Robert get to a billion. Like how do I get ahold of Robert?

Robert: Yeah. Hit me up. Listen 352- 665-1302. That's the direct line, you can get me.

Scotty: That’s the 911 call man. That’s a lot of numbers right there.

Robert: That’s it man.

Scotty: That’s a lot of numbers. All right brother, thank you so much. We appreciate you more than you know, man. I'm going to throw it out there. I hope we get to hang out in that. What is it? A 10 bedroom or something like what?

Robert: That's in. Yeah, listen a 10 bedroom in Lake Tahoe

Scotty: Lake Tahoe.

Robert: We just got to nail it down, man. I got to get what the and get the green light, but I’ll work on that.

Scotty: All right. Sounds good, man. Hey, if you need me to call her man, I'm a closer.

Robert: I might do that; I might do that. [23:23.7]

Scotty: All right guys. Well, if you want to hang out with us, man, if you want to kind of find out what the freedom club is all about, find out what Robert is all about, you can and want to jump on my calendar, you can go to meetwithscotty.com, S C O T T Y meetwithscotty.com and would love to share with you what we're doing over here. Maybe I'll share with you what we're doing and Lake Tahoe, maybe. We're gonna have a lot of fun. So, appreciate your brother. Love you, man. And can't wait to be there and if you're going to hit it, I want to be there with you when you hit it, brother.

Robert: Sounds good man, you will. Appreciate you Scotty.

Scotty: All right. Thank you so much. Appreciate it, man. All right guys. Thanks so much for being here on Millionaire Loan Officer powered by Mortgage Marketing Animals and Loan Officer Breakfast Club. We'll see you guys same time, same place next week, on Millionaire Loan Officer. Have a good day everybody be safe. [24:04.5]

I'm a Millionaire Loan Officer.

Thank you for tuning into the Millionaire Loan Officer podcast with your host Scott Hudspeth, don't forget to visit MLOlive.com to have your questions answered. See you next time. [24:24.5]

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