First National Financial LP

Team Perspectives: Elena Robinson

  • First National Financial LP

Elena leads the Excalibur Sales Team. She shares why her team is emphasizing consistency in messaging, how they are communicating and educating and why patience is the most important aspect of relevance right now.

How have you been supporting your team, both professionally and emotionally?

ER: My Account Manager, Natasha Alli, and I have been working really closely. We’re in touch often and talk about industry changes, deals, issues and our go-forward action plan. When all of the changes were happening quickly, we made sure that we were consistent in our messaging about things like modified appraisals, e-signatures and deferral payments.

How has your team mobilized to support brokers?

ER: At the beginning, changes were happening daily. Leadership and marketing were constantly updating us, and we passed that information on to brokers to relay to their clients. Many brokers also just wanted to talk, make sense of the changes and have a sympathetic ear. When deferral payments were announced, we spent the majority of our time supporting that process. Customer service was inundated, so we were coordinating with other departments, trying to provide quick responses in any way that we could. We were reassuring brokers a lot – explaining the process, alleviating their concerns and setting expectations. Now, with new business coming in, we are doing more of a deep dive into files and having open, transparent conversations with brokers about the viability of deals. We want to relay messages and set expectations before deals get submitted to underwriting.

What strategies are you putting in place to manage the situation going forward?

ER: Communication is really important. We are living in a new world right now, but this current climate won’t last forever. People will return to work, and the economic stress will lessen somewhat. So if we do have to have difficult conversations with brokers about deal, we stress that optimism. Perhaps now we can’t consider a certain deal, but down the road it will be possible. We are also doing a lot of webinars to educate brokers and help them understand what’s been happening in the industry and what we could expect going forward. We are committed to having ongoing conversations with brokers, so they understand our decisions and actions.

What is the most important aspect of relevance for brokers to focus on right now, and how is your team helping brokers be relevant in that way?

ER: To me, patience and positivity are both really important. I keep reiterating to brokers that this is a temporary situation. It’s so important for clients to understand that the tightening of underwriting is a short-term measure based on what has happened. Clients need their brokers now more than ever for support and solutions. That’s why we need to persevere. If we stay on the right track and stay home, we will get to the other side, and business will go back to some semblance of normal.

Any final thoughts?

ER: We want to be there to support everyone – our brokers and our internal teams -- with the same of levels of service they have come to expect from us. In this environment, we can’t do that in person so we are trying to find alternative methods to stay connected and collaborate.