Thankful For My Team
Katerina, Erica, and Corliss. You may not have seen these names on ActiveRain, but if you've worked with our team in the past 12 months, odds are good you're familiar with at least one of them (most likely my right hand woman, Erica). In 2020, I decided it was time to grow a team. In 2018-2019, I was suffering - I had moved to the bay area to accept a position in our corporate offices while still maintaining my loan business. Long, long hours, tedious work, and nights in the office sometimes til 10 or 11pm left me unhealthy, and worse, unhappy. I was making more money than ever, and business was booming, but it wasn't sustainable.
In early 2020, I made a decision to bring on a team to help me get back to some semblance of balance. My first move was to hire a loan officer to train to do business the same way I do to ensure a loan process that would be top notch and industry-leading whether it was my name or another LO on my team's name on the application. Katerina joined our team in early 2020 (a week before shelter in place/lockdown orders were implemented in CA). For the next 2 months, Katerina sat in my office daily, scripting calls, learning about loans, seeing how I worked and communicated, and all the other things she'd be doing in her role as the only 100%-sales focused person on the team. Toward the end of the year, I hired Erica as a loan partner and processing support. Young, inexperienced, but ambitious, Erica learned the business incredibly fast, and added a much needed layer of processing support to our team, cutting our loan process down by about a week, almost instantly. In early 2021, we brought on Corliss as our full time processor, working mostly behind the scenes with underwriting, and further increasing our efficiency so we could grow without sacrificing service levels.
Fast forward to today. I can take time off. I can be out of the office training branches nationwide (in the past month I've been out of the office for 3 weeks, and we've closed several loans with 21 day escrow periods early). I can focus on big picture growth, ensuring we can help our referral partners and their businesses, and most importantly, I can stay out of the paperwork and drudgery that a loan process can entail (45 minutes of hold music while waiting for an insurance agent or trying to get a loan payoff, anyone??).
I'm blessed to have a supporting cast of absolute rock stars that are only getting better each day. The funniest part is that my biggest concern in growing a team was that they wouldn't care about the customers and having the best loan process as much as I do. It turns out, they're even MORE crazy about customer service than I am, and they all go above any beyond to ensure we are delivering for not only our customers, but our business partners as well.
I am beyond grateful for this team and am looking forward to where we go in 2022. The sky is truly the limit, and I expect we'll continue to grow, and continue to deliver a 5 star experience to everyone we're blessed to work with along the way. In writing this, I checked our numbers, and the main graphic is our current customer service rating - 4.98/5 stars. Which shows, we're not perfect, but my team does a phenomenal job at making customers happy, and while it's my name on the blogs, the reviews, and our marketing, it's our team that truly makes it happen.
I'm still a bit of a control freak, but having such a great team keeps me sane!