Lafayette Business Spotlight
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and the events that led up to where you are now (i.e. education, career path)?
I was a graduate student, in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, in Chicago and took advantage of the opportunity to visit family in the Greater Lafayette area. I was struck by the resources the city affords – a major research university, a healthy mix of large industry and small businesses, a panoply of cultural events, and a range of career opportunities. I decided to put my graduate studies on temporary hold (that was 15 years ago!), and made Greater Lafayette my home, where I met the love of my life, John, who is a professor and Alumnus, at Purdue. I began in a sales position for a local company and discovered that I had a knack for dealing with clients and their concerns, and I quickly transitioned into the mortgage industry. It is a challenging profession, but I love the exacting detail the job requires if it is to be done well, working with the numbers, and most of all, helping people in achieving home ownership – and in bettering their lives.
What led you to Approved Mortgage? What services do you offer?
I began in the mortgage industry with a large national company whose main office was in Indianapolis. I was the top Indianapolis-area loan officer for 7 consecutive years, but, quite frankly, I tired of the commute. Some of my colleagues from that company had transitioned to Approved Mortgage, and they spoke highly of the owner, Derrick Christy, and the Approved approach to working with clients – Approved Mortgage is a locally owned and operated company that places emphasis on developing a close, working relationship with prospective borrowers.
In conversations with Derrick, I let him know before coming aboard that I would need an office in Lafayette and would be focusing less on the Indianapolis market and devoting the majority of my energy to duplicating what I had done in Indianapolis in the Greater Lafayette area. Some people questioned the wisdom of that move, but I knew that if you are on top of every aspect of your business, if you are tireless in what you do, and if you truly listen to people’s concerns, success will follow you wherever you go. Moreover, Approved Mortgage has backed me every step of the way; they have provided all the support and resources that I need. Unlike many local lenders, we offer a complete portfolio of lending options: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, 203k loans, construction loans, home equity loans, reverse mortgages, and down-payment assistance programs.
And the Realtors here in Greater Lafayette have taken notice of all of this, and
for their confidence in me I am truly appreciative. Since coming to Approved Mortgage, and even having worked to establish an office in a “smaller” market, I have been the company’s top-producing loan officer for going on 8 consecutive years.
What is unique about your business (what sets you apart from the rest)?
It is important for people to understand that we are not your local bank or credit union; we operate on a much larger playing field than that. Approved Mortgage works with more than 40 different investors (i.e., banks and other lending institutions) to provide the most competitive rates available. At the same time, we are not a mortgage broker – Approved Mortgage is a wholesale bank, which means that we close and fund loans in our name.
Beyond simply providing more options than any single bank or credit union can provide, there is another advantage inherent in the Approved Mortgage business model. In the wake of the 2008 mortgage meltdown, many lending institutions became “gun shy” about lending and turned to what are called “overlays” – lending requirements that are above and beyond what Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or other government-backed loans require. It is advantageous that I am able to work with investors who WANT to close loans, as opposed to erecting higher barriers for prospective borrowers.
And there is yet another advantage to working with motivated investors – I can move quickly. I have established a reputation in Greater Lafayette as the fastest and best in moving an application to the closing table. If it can be done, I will get it done, and quickly.
Given your business expertise and the nature of what you do, what advice (whether general or specific) can you offer to the residents?
I think that there are several attributes that a prospective borrower should look for in a loan officer, and integrity, doubtless, is at the top of the list. Beyond that, two other considerations come quickly to mind. Knowledge of every aspect of the loan process is essential. Federal lending guidelines and regulations are always changing, and it is important to work with someone who is fully versed on those changes. Several times each year I am asked to address the agents at the various Realty companies in our area to answer their questions and keep them updated on lending requirements.
Beyond integrity and expertise, work ethic is key. I don’t work “bankers’ hours.” All my clients and local Realtors know that I am accessible 24/7 – always on weekends and evenings. And this is true even for prospective borrowers who cannot qualify for a loan – I spend a great deal of time working with people with less than perfect credit scores to identify the steps they should take to become loan-eligible. Six months later, they are back, and we are ready to go.
For those clients who are actively engaged in the home-search process, being available is essential. The housing market in Greater Lafayette right now is very strong – a delay of a day, or even a few hours, in making an offer may result in a family losing out on their “dream home.”
From the very outset of the application process I take careful notes and make sure that clients are fully informed about each step along the way to the closing table. That way, we don’t arrive at the closing with any “Oh, by the way…” surprises. The result is that clients leave happy, having found the home-buying experience to be an enjoyable one – exactly the way it should always be!
What do you enjoy most about working with clients?
Meeting so many good people in Greater Lafayette. I love my job so much because of my clients. They make it so rewarding. To help someone purchase a home – which for most people will be their biggest lifetime investment, is thrilling for me. Over and over again, I get calls from past clients interested in buying a new home, or their family members, coworkers, or fellow church members, all calling because they heard I was the best in Greater Lafayette. I am deeply appreciative of the confidence that people place in me.
What else we should know about your business?
As a wholesale bank, with access to dozens of investors, Approved Mortgage gets its rates at wholesale costs and is able to pass the savings on to our clients. My clients and I are after the same thing – the best possible rate and the best possible experience in purchasing a new home.
Senior Mortgage Consultant
760 Park East Blvd Suite 1
Lafayette, IN 47905
NMLS Co ID: 122171