In keeping with the tone of reflection to blog content, OD presents an introduction into the Banking Years. The following excerpt is part of working pieces to the story we look to tell. Please share with anyone who might be able to benefit and spread the message along on Facebook and Instagram!
It was in December 2012 when I started mortgage banking, and by that time I was a timebomb. I had completed my undergraduate studies at Central Michigan University in June earlier in the year. Working at the company was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. In so many ways it’s more than a job, it’s a lifestyle. My ex would refer to the company as, “the Quicken Cult” which I suppose is an appropriate description as any I could come up with. Nonetheless, I see the brands appeal. They’ve revolutionized the mortgage industry. Turning what had been a straightforward transaction and making the client experience the primary point of emphasis. I hated the position at the time but that was more so a byproduct of self-hate. On each floor; you’ll find Chex Mix, cereal, and Slurpees free to all employees as well as Red Bull available at every turn.
The company does an exceptional job training incoming mortgage bankers. After America’s Great Recession of 2008 (mainly caused by subprime mortgage lending), the industry has become intensely regulated. At the national level, mortgage loan originators are required to pass the SAFE (Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licencing) Exam and there are individual licensing requirements specific to each state. The first three months of my employment were spent exclusively in a classroom setting. Although I can’t recall for certain, I think this period was called the academy, it was the easy part. The days were (relatively) short, I would get in at quarter to 9 and leave around 6 or 7 pm.
Around February or March I “graduated” from the academy, moving on to the next phase of indoctrination, Blueprint. Essentially, this is call center purgatory. A place where you wait for your state and federal licensing approval to become valid. One might see Blueprint to be the boot camp to QL mortgage banking. The laid-back academic setting replaced with demanding quotas, the nine or ten hour days of the past three months replaced by twelves. It works like this: when you get online to check mortgage rates and provide information it is sent to a number of different lenders. The practical purpose of Blueprint is to verify the information provided by prospective clients and get them transferred over to a licensed banker. The productivity of these twelve hours a day equates to 300 outgoing phone calls and 40 transfers. Some unfortunate souls, those who don’t pass the SAFE Exam, remain in Blueprint until they pass, and as luck would have it, I failed by one question. The worst part of Blueprint is the robotic monotony of it all, and this is where I began to come unraveled. In reality, my unraveling had begun in 2010 with my future ex-wife moving to Nashville and my learning my brother was using heroin. More appropriately, this could be described as the first chapter in my next series of misery.
When I started in December my daily drug intake was 40 to 80 milligrams of Adderall, 100 micrograms of Fentanyl, 10 to 20 Vicodin, and Marijuana. I’d grown accustomed to the cocktail and past experience had taught me it marked the threshold at which I could maintain sanity. Perhaps the quickest way to unravel a mentally unstable drug addict is to throw them into a job with an eighty plus hour work week as it was in blueprint where my level of consumption grew exponentially.