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  • Writer's pictureKeith Kemph

Lenders, It’s Time to Think Differently

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

August 3, 2023

By Keith Kemph, President & CEO, BlackFin Group

Leadership teams in the mortgage banking industry, it's time to start thinking differently. Also known as creative or divergent thinking. Cost per loan is sky-rocketing and volume continues to contract with each interest rate increase. While changing norms in our industry is highly complex and difficult, provided all the moving parts – changing the tide to ride a new wave of sales success and increased productivity is not. It just requires a paradigm shift. Moving from defense to offense. Divergent thinking is a valuable skill that can be cultivated through practice and mindset. Here are some strategies to help you think differently in today’s challenging mortgage markets.

  1. Embrace curiosity: Cultivate a curious mindset and ask questions about everything. Don't settle for the obvious answers and be open to exploring new perspectives and possibilities. There are new cutting edge tools that are leading your team directly to new sales.

  2. Challenge assumptions: Question your assumptions and the status quo. Often, our thinking is limited by ingrained beliefs or societal norms. By challenging these assumptions, you can break free from conventional patterns of thought.

  3. Learn from different disciplines: Expose yourself to diverse fields of knowledge. Draw insights and inspiration from areas outside your expertise. This cross-pollination of ideas can spark new connections and creative solutions.

  4. Welcome failure: Don't fear failure; view it as a learning opportunity. Mistakes and setbacks are part of the process. Embrace them, analyze what went wrong, and use that knowledge to improve your ideas.

  5. Brainstorm and ideate: Engage in brainstorming sessions with others or on your own. Write down all ideas, even the seemingly absurd ones. This can lead to unexpected breakthroughs and novel approaches.

  6. Think in opposites: Challenge yourself to think in opposites or reverse situations. For example, if you're trying to solve a problem, ask yourself, "What if the opposite were true?" This can lead to unconventional solutions.

  7. Keep a journal: Maintain a journal to jot down your thoughts, ideas, and observations regularly. This practice can help you track your thought processes and identify patterns in your thinking.

  8. Practice mindfulness and meditation: Clearing your mind and being present can enhance your ability to think creatively. Mindfulness and meditation can reduce mental clutter and open up space for new ideas.

  9. Surround yourself with diverse perspectives: Interact with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. Engaging in discussions with diverse individuals can broaden your horizons and challenge your assumptions.

  10. Allow time for daydreaming: Creativity often emerges during moments of relaxation and daydreaming. Schedule breaks and downtime to give your mind space to wander and make unexpected connections.

  11. Seek feedback: Share your ideas with others and seek feedback. Constructive criticism can provide fresh insights and help refine your thinking.

  12. Read, watch, and listen widely: Expose yourself to a wide range of content, including books, documentaries, podcasts, and TED talks. This exposure can spark new ideas and perspectives.

Remember that thinking differently is not about being eccentric or contrarian for the sake of it. It's about cultivating a mindset that is open to new possibilities, willing to challenge the status quo, and driven by curiosity. With consistent practice and patience, you can develop your ability to think differently and foster creativity in various aspects of your life. Let us know how we can help; strategy, sales, marketing, operations, technology, people.

Keith Kemph is President & CEO of BlackFin Group, a management consulting firm that specializes in the banking, mortgage, and financial services industry. Keith has dedicated his career to helping firms ensure successful execution of critical business and technology projects to help them operate more efficiently and effectively. Keith's career includes management and executive roles with Citigroup, Bank of America, Dime Bank, Merrill Lynch and nearly a decade with a traditional top tier consulting firm in the financial services industry. For more information contact

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