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Why Contractors Are an Excellent Asset in the Banking Industry

Why Contractors Are an Excellent Asset in the Banking Industry

Due to the banking industry’s current state, the mortgage space has been crazy busy for some time now. With Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) looking like it will be ramping back up, now may be the perfect time to avoid a natural lull that happens; the fatigue and overall tiredness that occurs over time. I hear it in the voices of potential candidates I speak to every day. Candidates have flat out told me that they are looking for a new opportunity because they need a change in pace; they are tired, worn out, and are looking because they want a change in scenery. How does an employer combat fatigue and retain their long-term, hard-working staff? Utilize some contract employees! Here are why contractors are an excellent asset in the banking industry.

Contractors offer flexibility

If you are worried about your team feeling burnt out or overworked because of the red-hot mortgage space, bring in some help. The market will only get busier as the pandemic concludes and interest rates remain low. Instead of risking losing some of your most valuable staff, you can bring in contractors to help with the workload.

Contractors can offer the support your team needs without any long-term strings attached or term commitments (unless, of course, you decide to bring them on full-time after their contract). Instead of spending a ton of money to bring on a new employee, you can hire a contractor to support your staff with a timeframe that fits your needs. You can hire them on a three-month contract term and decide to extend the term if you still need their help. You can also terminate the contract if you no longer need their assistance. It’s that simple. Using contract workers can come in and fill an immediate need for you, boost margins, productivity, and most importantly, provide support to your existing staff in a non-threatening way.

Want to learn more about utilizing contract staffing?

If you need a little extra help in the coming months, give me a call, and let’s talk about your hiring needs. Johnson Search Group can work with your company’s specific needs to keep your existing staff happy and boost production.

The 5 Hottest Banking Jobs in the New Year

The 5 Hottest Banking Jobs in the New Year

2020 has been a tumultuous year for many industries. The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the labor market for most of the year, but business is finally returning to (a new) normal for many sectors. The banking space has been able to adapt and even flourish in certain areas. As a result, banks are making significant hiring pushes next year. Here are the five hottest banking jobs in the new year. 

Commercial Lenders

Typically, banks are always looking to add commercial lenders this time of year. If you are searching for greener pastures in the new year, now is a great time to start looking so you can make the change mid-first quarter. If you are a commercial lender, relationship manager, or business development officer and aren’t super happy with your current bank, reach out to me about making a move. I can help you make that career transition to a banking institution that will appreciate you.

Credit roles

Many of my banking clients are looking for additional help within the credit space. This hiring push runs from the entry-level credit analyst roles all the way up to Credit Administrators and credit executives. With the uncertainty in the market, banks are looking for additional talent in this space to help them stay profitable and continue their growth.

Information Technology

Technology is always changing, and innovations are constantly evolving in this space. Plus, with millions of people now working remotely, the demand for IT professionals is at an all-time high in the banking environment. With this new shift to working from home, information technology and information security are in a massive growth state.

Mortgage roles

Usually, the mortgage space is not an area we talk about at the first of the year. However, over the last two years, the mortgage market has been one of the hottest spaces in banking. All things mortgage as well, not just MLOs. We are seeing record numbers of processors, funders, and admin roles. With interest rates at a historic low, mortgages will be a significant revenue stream for banks in 2021.

Risk Management

With the coronavirus causing millions to work remotely, banks are bulking up their risk department to improve their institutions’ safety. This growth is occurring in all areas of risk, such as analysts, VPs, and even SVP-level roles. Some organizations are even hiring Chief Remote Working Officers to improve the safety of their at-home workers.

Are you ready to make a career move?

So, those are the five hottest banking jobs we’ll see in the new year. There might be a few areas that are not as busy, but overall, banking institutions will be off to a hot start in the new year. Employers are finally making a comeback from COVID-19, and business is, for the most part, back to normal (except for the retail front levels). If you are in banking and considering making a career transition, now is the time to accept that recruiter’s call and have a discussion with them about your next career move. It might just be the best thing that happens to you in 2020.

How Hiring In 4th Quarter Has Changed In 2020

How Hiring In 4th Quarter Has Changed In 2020

Usually, the 4th quarter is one of the most challenging times to add top-tier talent. There are several reasons people don’t want to make a change during the last few months of the year. Let’s explore the three main ones and why hiring in 4th quarter has changed in 2020.

Annual Bonuses

During a typical year, people have a pretty good idea of what their annual bonus is going to be. Depending on the role, it can be a significant amount of the overall pay. Some have to wait until February or even June for some to receive this bonus. I certainly would not want to walk away from a 20-100% bonus unless there was a significant reason to leave. 

However, in 2020, many of the Bank Executives I’ve talked to are predicting annual bonuses to be minimal. Due to local shutdowns, a fluctuating economy, and uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus, there are many uncertainties. Professionals don’t feel as secure in their positions or as confident in their annual bonus. As a result, they are more open to making a change.

Flexibility In Hiring

The pandemic has really exploited the weaknesses of mediocre performers. And, with limited bonuses at competitors, banks have the opportunity to capitalize on capturing high performers. Additionally, if you are willing to get creative with the compensation and work/life balance, you’ll be able to attract A-level candidates. These are the areas in which professionals are looking for a change. 

This year has demonstrated that remote work is effective. Banks are rethinking the mindset of “all employees MUST work in the office.” Being flexible on this is really going to allow you to capture the best talent you are looking for to help your team.

The Holidays

Normally, the holidays are hectic and chaotic with parties and travel, but not this year. Travel is limited at best, and parties are not happening. Even major retail cornerstones like Black Friday will be completely different this year. Often, hiring in 4th quarter is slow because of the holiday. However, this year it is the perfect time to snag top talent. There are some incredible candidates looking to start 2021 off on the right foot.

They want to be a part of a strong leadership team with a bank that has a successful track record. We are talking to hundreds of people who will be making a move in the 4th quarter this year because they put up with less than ideal circumstances for too long. This is the time to uncover game-changing talent.

As you have seen, the pandemic has been a challenging time for most. However, it has created some fantastic opportunities for those ready to build the best team. (Even when there is a bit of chaos in the market.) It certainly changed the way we do business. Banks have realized that many jobs can be done remotely. Additionally, it can save a ton on rent, equipment, and, most importantly, staff happiness. 

Now is the time to cut the mediocre and capture the best. And to do that you need to use the best firm to help you find those candidates. Call me today, and we can discuss your situation and how we can help you find the best talent for your team.

mortgage industry

Attracting Talent in the Mortgage Industry

It’s no secret. If you’re currently in the mortgage industry or have been at some point within the last 3-5 years, you’ve probably been contacted recently by a lender, financial institution, or a recruiter, like myself. You may be turned off to hearing about new opportunities because of the plethora of jobs being thrown your way. However, you may be missing out on an excellent opportunity that can jumpstart the career change you’ve been needing.

The mortgage industry will remain hot in 2021

According to Housing Wire, mortgage rates will continue to stay low in 2021, and the talent pool for mortgage candidates is scarce. Ideally, companies can always find experienced candidates who can hit the ground running. However, this hasn’t been the case. There must be something enticing candidates to entertain a new opportunity in the mortgage industry.

In my recruiting experience for these positions, people are mainly looking for fair compensation (inclusive of benefits), flexibility, and stability. These candidates are being contacted multiple times a week by financial institutions in desperate need of their skills. So, for these candidates to entertain a career change, it must be an attractive offer.

What mortgage candidates are looking for

Whether it’s a mortgage company, bank, or credit union, most companies need to offer a base pay along with additional incentives like a per file bonus or enticing bonuses. Most competitive mortgage companies attracting the best talent are using per file bonuses, retention bonuses (to avoid attrition), and other financial incentives.

Remote work flexibility

These candidates need to have some sort of remote work flexibility. Depending on the role’s criticality, the company should cast their recruiting net wide, so there are more candidate options. Especially in today’s environment, some candidates need to work from home to be with their kids or simply don’t want to spend hours commuting every day. This is beneficial for both employers and candidates because hiring managers can tap into better talent pools if they are not restricted to local markets.

Offer stable working environments

Stability is going to be so important to candidates in the mortgage industry. It’s not a stable industry in and of itself, but offering a candidate stability during slow times will be paramount. People want to know that they won’t be out of a job six months down the road.

These three points are things that I implement in my recruiting process. I like to ask candidates why they’re looking for a new opportunity or what would get them to be interested in a new opportunity. This allows me to understand if a candidate will be the right fit for my clients.

If your mortgage team is struggling to find the right candidates in this market, you are not alone. Reach out to me today, and let’s discuss a potential partnership. I specialize in recruiting for banks and credit unions. My team and I can help source the right candidates in the mortgage industry for your company.

blockchain

How Blockchain is Shaping the Financial Services Industry

The financial services industry continues to evolve with our ever-changing world of technology. Most people have heard the term ‘blockchain’ before, but what does it mean? And how is it revolutionizing the financial services and banking industries? Here is a brief overview of blockchain and how it is shaping the finance industry.

What is blockchain?

In the simplest sense, blockchain is a chain of blocks. However, these blocks are not a traditional one; they are a block of digital information, aka a digital transaction. These “blocks” are stored in a public database, which is called the “chain.” So, in laymen’s terms, blockchain is a string of digital transactions and contain information such as time, dates, dollar amounts, etc.

How is this technology benefiting the financial industry?

Blockchain has been out for about ten years now; however, more recently, banks and credit unions have evolved and started using this technology as it provides a more secure transaction process. The DLT, or “distributed ledger technology,” is safer because of self-sovereign identity. This system doesn’t rely on any centralized authority as it is a portable form of identification. Thus, it makes it almost impossible for anyone to hack into and steal information. This added security is clearly beneficial to banking institutions and credit unions because it allows for safe and efficient transactions of customer data.

Blockchain can also reduce “Know Your Client” expenses. Rather than regularly having associates update clients’ information, blockchain can instantly update their information, which lowers costs and time for you and your client. 

Blockchain also offers “smart contracts.” These contracts are a code on top of a block that automatically executes with set terms and conditions. Smart contracts get rid of the middleman and can help you “exchange money, property, shares, or anything of value in a transparent, conflict-free way.” 

Need help building your IT team?

It’s no wonder that banks and credit unions are shifting their efforts to blockchain technology to reduce costs, save time, and make transactions more secure. If your institution is looking for talent to facilitate this technological transition for your organization, reach out to me. My team and I will work with you to find the best IT talent in the market. Reach out to me today, and let’s work together!

Banking Technology In The Wave Of The Pandemic

Banking Technology In The Wave Of The Pandemic

Did COVID-19 force the financial industry to warp into the future in just a matter of months? It may seem crazy, but the pandemic pushed banking technology into the future! And in the end, it will be extremely beneficial. Almost overnight, employers implemented hiring freezes, many office workers began working from home, and bank lobbies were closed or reduced to appointment only. The banking industry completely shifted its gears to keep the wheels turning. 

Sounds dramatic, right? Well, massive growth can come from the most uncomfortable of places. And I think we would all agree that the last six months have felt a little uneasy, to say the least. From the largest to the smallest, financial institutions across the country are being innovative and resourceful during these challenging times. The industry as a whole needs to take a moment and recognize these accomplishments and give themselves a huge (probably virtual) pat on the back. 

Banking Technology To The Rescue

How did we overcome such an obstacle and transition into an unprecedented win in a matter of months? Technology. In fact, the last decade of growth in the banking tech space created the perfect space for rapid innovation. Robust online banking systems allowed everything from virtual tellers, online helpdesk chats, mobile deposits, transfers, and more. Think of the position we would be in right now if we had to survive the last six months in the mid-’90s? The “natural growth” in terms of infrastructure, security, front and back end system integrations, and let’s not forget the dreaded merger. You know, the same “growth” everyone is always joking about? How everything is continually changing in banking? Well, all of that is what set the industry up for this success!

That same, inevitable (sometimes painful) constant change in infrastructure is precisely why giant steps forward could build out a more efficient business model when it counted. 2021 is now full of renewed energy and hope because of the pandemic’s massive jolt in momentum. The financial industry was forced to innovate and is now better poised than ever to take on the future. As a result, financial institutions are able to streamline their processes and offer better customer service. These banking technology innovations are helping financial institutions across the nation to future-proof their services and provide better experiences to all.

Need help building your banking team for the future?

If you are looking to have a breakout year in 2021, making strategic hires now will be key. Contact me at 630.206.5056 or tbashore@nulljsirecruit.com. Let’s have a conversation about goals for your team and how we make that a reality together!

Artificial Intellingence (AI) In Banking

Artificial Intelligence (AI) In Banking

I had a conversation recently with an industry leader regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI) in banking. Among other things, we discussed how smaller banks should really be thinking about how to utilize and implement AI in their models. More prominent institutions are already using this technology. In fact, nearly 30% of all financial models have already adopted AI. However, there is still a vast opportunity for local banks to benefit from this advancement.

Putting AI In Banking On The Map

About ten years ago, there was a huge hiring push for Ph.D.’s in math and statistics to build models within the banks and implement purchased models into the existing systems. Banks needed those incredibly intelligent people to help them understand how they can “predict” future outcomes to assist in planning and fulfilling their regulatory obligation. Now we are at a point where those areas play a much smaller role in the bank, and they no longer need the massive influx of Doctorates, as many of those models are now AI models. This has caused a hiring gap as banks have room to be selective in their hiring pool. As such, the large collection of local candidates is taking priority over those requiring sponsorship.

How Banks Can Find A Balance With AI

Financial institutions will always need those crazy smart financial model developers and validators, but their focus has changed. Banks are now looking for candidates with the base knowledge of financial models, who can also work with business line leaders to determine primary wants and needs. They are focused more on profitability and how the bank can reduce expenses and increase profit. They are now looking for more people who can speak both the statistical “language” and the line “language” and can be the in-between person to help them determine what they want and how to implement that technology. And often, that means researching and finding the best AI models that can do what they need at that moment.

Due to the fact that AI will reduce staff in certain areas, profitability will definitely be improved. However, banks will need additional headcount in other areas that can focus on customer service and customer experience. Obviously, AI is a great technological advancement. However, companies will need to strategize how to implement it to best suit their customers as competition heats up. Competitors are willing to invest in improving the banking experience, and the customers will follow.

If you’re looking to boost your team’s presence in the AI space, let’s have a conversation. I can help you build a custom hiring plan tailored to your needs. From temporary contract to permanent placement, we’ll assist you in establishing your presence in the market.

Post-COVID-19

What Banks Are Going to be Looking for Post-COVID-19

The Coronavirus outbreak is destined to halt hiring in certain industries. Some industries are putting a hold to interviewing and hiring altogether, while others have just temporarily postponed their hiring efforts for a week or two as a precaution. However, banking institutions still need professionals during this difficult time. Here are four areas that banks need to keep in the back of their minds for the post-COVID-19 market.

Special Assets

With all the panic happening in the markets at this time, it is time to start ramping up the Special Assets Group at the bank. They might not be busy at this point, but having them in place or at least at the ready, will help your bank with the inevitable calm of the post-COVID-19 market. It will take some time for the markets to recover from this, but they will recover. We are America, and we always find a way to keep moving forward during times like this. At this time, there is no telling how long this bear market will last, but we will likely know more over the next few weeks.

We have ramped up our bench in the Special Assets area and are ready to help our clients with those professionals. Whether you need them on a contract basis or as a permanent member of your team, Johnson Search Group can help fill these critical roles during these difficult times.

SBA Lending

Another area to turn your attention to is the SBA space. With the government just about completely opening all avenues for SBA loans, banks are going to need people that can sell them, as well as perform all the back-office operations to process, underwrite, close, fund, and service those loans. This is probably going to be more on a temporary basis; however, finding these professionals will be challenging for hiring managers. Banks will need to rely on experts in the SBA space to ensure they get the right talent immediately to help them service the businesses that need the funding. Our team at Johnson Search Group are experts in recruiting within the SBA space. We have a team dedicated to this market and will help you find the best talent for your team.

Mortgage Lending

The third area banks should focus on is the mortgage space. We haven’t seen much in the new purchase/new construction metrics at this point. Still, with the declining stock market, people will be hunkering down and looking to capitalize on the low-interest rates to help them uncover a little extra to assist with the rest of their budgets. I am in the midst of this myself with refinancing my home mortgage. I am moving to a 15-year mortgage, and my payments are going down by a couple of hundred dollars per month. Banks are already experiencing this and will be seeing more of this with fewer governmental restrictions to help during this time of need. Banks will need the back office support roles, processors, closers, funders, underwriters, and other miscellaneous mortgage folks. Many of these are going to be contract positions to accommodate the growing demand at this time.

Commercial Lending

Another area I am discussing with my clients is commercial lending. This is coming from banks that have ramped up for a potential economic downturn and are ready to capitalize on the banks playing catch-up. We recruit heavily in this market and have a number of clients that tightened their belts in the last couple of years, so they can expand when the time is right. Just like the stock market, you buy when it is low and sell when it is high; these banks are preparing to get top tier candidates that can help them land new business.

Get some help for the post-COVID-19 market

The current situation can be scary due to the Coronavirus outbreak. However, hiring is not freezing in many markets within the banking and finance industry. Therefore, banks must prepare for the post-COVID-19 market now. If your team needs one of these banking professionals during all of this uncertainty, let’s have a conversation. My team and I can help you source the talent you need during all of these economic fluctuations. Reach out to me today. And if you’re searching for a new job during this madness, check out our job board for exclusive banking opportunities.

Candidate-Driven Market

Today’s Candidate-Driven Market Isn’t Disappearing in 2020

Well, 2019 has gone away. And along with it, the decade. That was an interesting year in the staffing and recruiting space for hiring managers! And if you were a candidate seeking new opportunities, it was an exciting year filled with hope. Let’s look at what 2020 looks like and see how you can navigate today’s candidate-driven market.

It’s still a candidate-driven market 

2019 was an excellent year for candidates. The sea was your oyster as far as employment opportunities go. Candidates could look for a job at any time of the year and make a move. Employers were offering more competitive compensation packages, and there were more job openings than available workers to fill them. What a fantastic year, and I will leave you with a little hint – 2020 will be about the same. Woohoo! 

However, if you were a hiring manager, things weren’t quite as kind to you. Most were able to get jobs filled, but it took months to fill instead of weeks. Your employees were overworked and starting to feel the pressure. There was significant lack of candidates, and the ones that applied to the jobs were generally not the right fit for your team or demanding way too much money. 

Hiring managers were feeling this pain in almost every industry – especially in the banking space. Many financial institutions had great years, but many struggled to navigate this tight talent pool. If you were a bank that relied on SBA lending, many had a lackluster year. It didn’t help that the SBA division shut down for 35 days at the beginning of 2019. This affected the market as a whole, as small businesses have a significant impact on our country’s economy. 

However, if you were going after C&I business, it was a great year! Additionally, the mortgage business was hot this year, which is somewhat of a surprise as many analysts thought it would be a flat or slightly down year. 

2019 was a “rebuilding” year for many banks 

I work with many banks, and I always want to understand their plan of attack for the new year. Many took 2019 as a “rebuilding” year. They maximized where they could but tightened the belt where they had inefficiencies before. Many banks took the year to make adjustments that will be needed to succeed during a potential downturn or recession. 

2020 is looking fantastic! The market is expected to be tight, and thus, job seekers will prosper, and some hiring managers will continue to struggle to attract top talent. So, what can you do as a hiring manager to navigate this tight market? If you need talent this year, you are going to have to think outside the box. 

More candidates are partnering with recruiters 

Banking candidates want to partner with a recruiter more now than ever. They see the value in what we offer, as they know we can get them directly on the hiring manager’s desk. The ease and convenience of not having to stress over the back and forth of interviews, information gathering, or negotiating compensation and benefits. They also know that a trusted partner, like Johnson Search Group, will help them navigate the entire interviewing process. We prep every one of our candidates along the way. We never let anyone go into an interview without knowing what to expect. 

Banks must expand their hiring efforts to ensure their hiring is successful in 2020. And the easiest way to grow your pool of qualified candidates is by partnering with my team at Johnson Search Group. In today’s labor market, many candidates are passively looking for their next opportunity and like the idea of working with a “middle person” to buffer the hiring process. 

Partner with a great recruiting firm, like Johnson Search Group, and we will help you avoid the pitfalls of today’s candidate-driven market. We are working with dozens of candidates that are ready to make an impact on your institution in 2020. You are busy running divisions of banks; you don’t want to constantly be on the phone with candidates trying to get answers, schedule interviews, and scan hundreds of resumes. We make the hiring process smooth and seamless for you and your team. Let’s work together and start your hiring efforts off strong in 2020. 

2020 Banking Industry

Top 5 Jobs in the 2020 Banking Industry

As we make our way into the Fourth Quarter, many banking organizations are preparing for the new year. As you’ve probably heard, the market is hot. Throughout the year, the unemployment rate edged down to a 50-year low, with a record-breaking quit rate. As your institution prepares for next year, here are the top 5 most in-demand jobs we’re going to see in the 2020 banking industry.

Mortgage roles

With the rates declining and nearing all-time lows, the mortgage industry will continue to be hot. We just received a large number of mortgage support roles with multiple banks throughout the country. This is usually the slow time, and banks/mortgage shops are laying off or “restructuring” (aka letting people go). However, many are growing through this “slow” time. It helps that unemployment is at an all-time low. If you need these professionals for the short term (contract/temp) or perm, we can help you get them in place immediately.

Risk/Quant roles

Again, with the super M&A playground in the banking industry, banks are merging and growing, thus needing to add to the risk team. This includes Quants (Model Developers, Model Validators, etc.) to help calculate risk for the bank and how the bank will grow. Again, we partner with multiple banks that have recently gone through a merger and now are needing to add these people to their teams.

The other day, a bank we work with asked us to fill a Risk Manager role. My team and I were able to close that deal out in record time with a relocation for the candidate. These people are in high demand, and with the lack of available talent, banks are utilizing our expertise in finding talent. You need an expert, like Johnson Search Group, with all the connections in this industry to help you fill these roles in today’s tight market.

Audit/Accounting roles

These are always going to be a constant in the banking space. Accounting is so interchangeable in all industries; they can get great talent from anywhere. However, Audit is a little more challenging. Finding the talent that understands the Audit space and working with outsourced and insourced providers, as well as working within the business lines, is incredibly hard. Especially if you’re looking for talent that is going to stay with you for a few years of audits.

That is where a firm like ours comes into play. We recruit so heavily in this area that we have people on the bench that are ready to go on the contract or perm side. If you are sick and tired of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on “Big 4” audit firms, it’s time to bring a pro onto your internal team.

User Experience roles

This comes in the form of both Marketing and IT as a whole. With the marketplace so competitive and every bank trying to be on the leading edge of what people/businesses want in their bank, these UX folks are going to be invaluable to the team. Many times, you can add contractors to your team to tackle a project or if you are doing a complete overhaul that will take years. We can help you find the perm talent that will be the difference makers and help keep your project on time and on budget. 

Commercial Lender roles

(Or really all lending roles.) Most banks are finding the commercial side to be most profitable, and they want to continue that growth. Again, this is one of the hardest areas to find top talent. We just moved a candidate that was with the same bank for over 25 years to a new bank. Every bank wants those candidates that have proven longevity. These are the type of producers we bring to the table.

We also recently placed another candidate that was with their former bank for 13 years. Our team helps them see why your organization will help get their career to the next level. We are truly subject matter experts when it comes to commercial lending. If you need talented lenders on your team, don’t wait to contact us!

Partner with a recruiting firm that knows your industry

At Johnson Search Group, we pride ourselves on knowing the ins and outs of the banking industry. Reach out to us today if you need a helping hand with your hiring process. We’ll help you get the talent you need to enter 2020 on a strong note.