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Complete Guide to Loan Officer Business Planning

At APM, we set aside time every year for strategic planning on how we’re going to succeed in the coming year, and we encourage all mortgage loan officers to do the same. The more intentional we are with what we want to accomplish, the more likely we are to achieve our goals.

complete guide to loan officer business planning

In a rapidly changing industry, you need to outline your business objectives, set strategic goals, and review and reaffirm these plans every 90 days. That’s why we encourage our loan originators to set a 90-day plan each quarter that helps them achieve their long-term goals.

At APM, we’ve built a six-step process for mortgage loan officers to craft an effective business plan:

  • Start with self-evaluation. Look back on the year and your performance both personally and professionally. We also recommend a scoring system around key areas of your business to help highlight areas of focus in the new year.
  • Know your mortgage origination numbers.
  • Look forward to the coming year and determine what you want to accomplish.
  • Set your production goals for your business.
  • Write down strategies and actions that will fuel your goals.
  • Establish personal goals and strategies for balance.

Focusing on these six areas ensures that you’re covering every aspect of your work and personal life in your strategic planning, maximizing your chances for long-term success.

We’ve created a free guide that makes loan officer business planning simple and will help you evaluate your performance and set goals with action items to help achieve them.

Click here to download the APM Guide to Loan Officer Business Planning. 

How to Structure Your Goals

Breaking your goal down into strategies with action items will help you achieve your overall goal. Here’s how to look at it:

  • Goals: A goal is a business objective you seek to achieve by implementing the necessary strategies to get there. Goals define the destination, help you change your mindset to get to that destination, and create the need for tactics to get there.
  • Strategies: Strategies are the stepping stones for achieving a goal. They’re the method or plan that will bring about the goal or the tactics that will get you from where you are to the end goal.
  • Action items: These are the actions you need to take to implement your strategies. Mortgage loan officers should organize action items in the order of ideal execution.


Before we dive into the specifics of loan officer business planning, it’s time to do an honest review of your performance over the past year. So consider what went well and what you need to tweak moving forward.

  • What were your biggest business successes?
  • What were some of your biggest challenges?
  • What did you hope to accomplish but did not?
  • Did you have a satisfying work-life balance throughout the year?

For more help, click here to download our comprehensive loan officer business planning guide.

Loan Officer Business Planning

First you’ll decide on your goals for each of the areas below for the new year. Then you’ll set one to three strategies for each of those goals every 90 days and identify the action items that will help you implement your strategies. 

Strategies are simply things to keep doing, things to change, and things to start. By working your strategies with this discipline, it won’t feel so daunting to come up with something new every 90 days. Possibly it’s a small adjustment to an already-great strategy that will make all the difference. 

Every 90 days, you’ll adjust as needed and plan your next 90 days. This allows you to make large goals but break down the things you need to do to achieve them without getting overwhelmed. It also builds in a specific time for you to review and reset course, which is important in the current market.

Here are the six areas to look at.

1. Strengthening referral partners (B2B)

How will you grow your relationship with strategic partners in the new year? It’s all about adding value, and here are a few of the strategies we recommend:

  • Dedicate one day per week to connect with your top five real estate agents. Also reach out to two to three new real estate agents.
  • Join a networking group to help build new referral partners and relationships in your community.
  • Invest in lead acquisition to drive new business to yourself and your realtor referral partners.

2. Prospecting for new business (B2C)

When you’re looking for new clients, prospecting and marketing strategies are key to sourcing, transacting, and earning new business. Here are some ideas we recommend to our mortgage loan originators at APM:

  • Try new marketing strategies to reach new clients. This might be adding a new social media platform, trying out geotargeted mail drops to renters, offering a free webinar on homeownership, or targeting people relocating to your area.
  • Find a niche market, and create a campaign around it. This might be a specific type of home loan, a lending product with high demand and low competition, or marketing to a specific client type. Niching down can be a great strategy.
  • Leverage video across all your marketing platforms.

3. Enhancing client experience

So much of what makes you successful as a loan officer isn’t the type of mortgage you offer. Instead, it’s the experience you provide the people who come to you for help with their loan options. At APM, we call this “Creating Experiences That Matter.”

That might translate into creating raving fans and referral partners for your business. Setting goals about the customer experience ensures that you never forget how important that is.

Here are some ways you could focus on your customer experience in the coming year:

  • Each week, take the time to evaluate the experience you’re offering your loan applicants.
  • Personalize the experience through designing memorable moments during the transaction. Determine how and where to connect, educate, and amaze.
  • Use an interactive sales presentation to drive customer engagement and make the process of getting a home loan an empowering experience.
  • Develop and implement a post-meeting follow-up plan for every new application. Ensure that you document the plan and that all team members adopt it.

There are a number of ways to improve your customers’ experience and make their transactions meaningful. The important thing is to make sure you’re tailoring the experience to what your specific customers want, and that won’t look the same for every loan officer.

4. Developing knowledge and skills

Loan officers can’t afford to take their eyes off professional development and mastering their craft. There are always additional things to learn, whether it’s new types of loans, mortgage officer regulatory guidelines, or a new sales technique. 

In today’s high interest rate environment, your expertise is what will win you business. Here are a few action items you’ll want to have on your radar:

  • Dedicate two hours per week to increase your knowledge and skill level to learn niche or new products for your business.
  • Increase your knowledge of technology features and advancements for higher adoption and efficiency for yourself and your clients.
  • Mentor with a top producing mortgage broker or business coach to learn the disciplines, practices, and tactics that bring success. Implement the learnings from these coaching sessions, and amend the strategies as needed.

5. Retaining clients and earning repeat business

Keeping the clients you already have is vital to loan officer business planning. Here are some action items in this area:

  • How much business is sitting in your database right now waiting for you to reach out? If you don’t know, it’s time to focus some effort in this area.
  • Ensure that all contacts in your database have accurate records and are signed up for automations, campaigns, and customer intelligence alerts.
  • Schedule routine check-ins with past clients, something that is consistent and actionable.
  • Spend time monthly reviewing contacts, content, and touchpoints and adjust as needed.

6. Personal development

It’s hard to do excellent work as a mortgage loan officer if you’re not also thriving in your personal life. That’s why one of our areas for loan officer business planning focuses on personal development. That includes setting strategic goals around several main areas of your life, including:

  • Physical and mental health
  • Learning and intellect
  • Improving key relationships
  • Financial security
  • Personal aspirations
  • Spirituality

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to your personal goals. What matters is that you take the time to be intentional about what’s working and what’s not and how you can make positive changes in the coming year.

By focusing on these areas of loan officer business planning and business strategies, you’ll find that you accomplish more than you ever have before and feel better while doing it. For more help with your 2024 loan officer business plan, make sure to download our 2024 business planning book here!


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