UNSUNG HEROES : PERSONAL QUESTIONS, ASIDE

Apart from a prospective in-law, there are a few people in the entire world who can get away with not knowing you personally but asking you a rather personal question like, “So, I would like to know how much it is that you earn in a year?”

A Home Loan Counsellor is one of those few people.

The Loan Counsellor being the one who, after completing the requisite due diligence, recommends individual loan applications for approval, is the starting point for what becomes a lifelong monetary commitment (read 20 to 30 years).

And his work is not just getting you to divulge secrets. The Loan Officer who can either represent a financial institution or function as a standalone financial consultant is tasked with a very structured and timely delivery of duties.

A very basic overview of his responsibilities would be analysing financial stability, credit and property evaluations, arguing a case for the best loan and credit option and loan approvals.

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When Clear Estate spoke to Seshadri Puvvada, owner of Get Home Get Loan who also comes with more than a decade of experience in the field, his first comment was on the ‘absolutely schedule-less’ existence of a Loan Counsellor. And with the BPO and IT job formats that have evolved into 24/7 shifts, one is on call all day, every single day.

This sentiment was echoed by Anand* who works in a private financial institution and has been for the last one and a half years. He spends a large part of his work day travelling from the developer’s offices to client’s homes or offices, collecting documents.

Kadhir’s* approach to his working day is a little differently, with a little more planning involved. A Direct Selling Agent (DSA) for the last six years, Kadhir schedules all developer meetings during the course of the day and meets with individual customers during the early hours or much later in the evening. This is because the latter have their own work schedule to plan around.

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With all this back and forth, wouldn’t technology make life easier? To that particular question, Sheshadri has this to say, “As most of the work involves meeting and collection, there is little involvement from technology, which is usually relegated, in larger importance, to back-end work. This is in the form of financial institutions launching on-line apps and mobile-tech that has made application submission, verification easier which speeds up the entire approval process.”

Jeeva* working with HDFC’s Housing Loan Team for about four years had a similar thought in mind and commented that technology plays a huge role in keeping up-to-date with news from sources like the Reserve Bank of India and guidelines of the National Housing Bank.

Keeping all relevant information on hand is one thing but the job does comes down to a personal interaction with people, practically every day. That must affect work satisfaction to some extent right? “Yes!”, says Seshadri who believes that his job of helping people get to live in their dream home is an enviable role. Ever cautious Anand relegates his job satisfaction completely dependent on the happiness to his clients.

But it was Kadhir who surprised us with his personal confession that while on, “some days he is super exited, on other days, he feels the pressure and is a little lost. Never the less, the magic of success lies in pulling up your socks and going hunting the very next day.”

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But excitement aside, there are some difficult aspects to the role. Jeeva and Kadhir’s concern lie in the dependency on the back-end process once they upload filled-out applications. The suspense of approval or not for the indicated loan amount can be quite stressful. Everything from legal issues to credit scores and documentation have to fall in place.

Sheshadri and Anand’s challenges lie in handling difficult customers – especially the ones who simple cease contact. Following up with these customers can be a nightmare, especially when there are timelines involved.

However, as tough and demanding as the work can get, good and hard work is always rewarded. Based purely on volume of business generated, Loan Counsellors can receive anywhere from 0.25% of the loan amount depending upon the disbursement during the month, this can go up to as high as 0.75%.

Considering the combination of a hectic lifestyle, rather large payouts and inter personal communications skills that are paramount to a Loan Officer, we were curious about how people come across this career choice.

Anand, for one, sort of landed the job. There was an opening that he applied for and he got the job. For Kadhir, it went according to a plan that evolved as he recognised his strengths as an employee. After working across a few industries and understanding that his personality was best suited for handling people, Kadhir opted to work in the Home Loan Sector.

Sheshadri, who was in corporate financial consultancy, took up an ex-colleague’s offer of a role that opened up with an loan agency (affiliated to a bank) fifteen years ago and the rest is history.

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We realised that irrespective of the differences in how they landed the job or how they approached work, all the Loan Counsellors that we had spoken to were doing what they were doing and were successful at it because of their answer to our question, “What is the one thing that they love about their job?”

Their answer was simple and immediate. They loved being in a position of influence and to be able to give good advice that made a difference in people’s lives by bringing them closer to a home that their family could settle in to.

* Names have been changed to protect the individual’s identity

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