I think the mortgage industry is finally moving toward the social media tools that other industries have been finding so useful over the past couple of years. I know this because I can hear them kicking and screaming. I’ll admit that the conservative banking industry probably deserved to be among the last to the party, but it’s been going on for some time now and if mortgage lenders are going to get any benefit out of the new media tools and social networking websites that are all the rage, now is the time to get moving. Some of the industry’s largest companies have begun work on their new social media policies, which they believe will result in Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and LinkedIn proliferation within their organizations. I hope they’re right, but they’re probably not. Conversations with at least one marketing department tasked with looking into the benefits of a possible Facebook page revealed frustration. They can’t access Facebook from inside the enterprise because management deemed it unnecessary in the past. There’s also concern that the B2B customers this company serves won’t have access to Facebook either, at least not from work. They’re probably right. It should be easier on the B2C side, but a conversation I had today with a Florida mortgage originator revealed that since his customers come to him via referral, having a social media website just doesn’t seem worth the investment. Since most of his referrals are coming in from real estate agents, which is an excellent way to prospect for leads in our business, he’s not sure that they would use a Facebook page, say, to share information about his company. He could be right. Agents are not likely to go online and share their best resources with just anyone who wants to log on. But what about his satisfied customers? They’re all over Facebook. Now, I realize that back when loan originators pitched a loan over the fence to a closing agent and let the title company worry about fixing the HUD-1 at the closing table, goodwill was not a commodity we saw very often in this industry. But now that the borrower cannot be surprised at closing (unless a fee increase of 5% or less surprises them), customer satisfaction is almost certain to go up. You want those satisfied customers referring you to their friends and family. There’s no easier way to do that than social media. For those of you are still resisting this, who don’t even know that REO Expo is all over social media this week and information is flowing almost effortlessly from that event out to anyone who knows how to get a free Twitter account or click “like” on the event’s Facebook page, quit stalling. The time for social media in the mortgage industry is now.