How did you end up at Assurance Financial?
I have been with Assurance for ten years this November. I joined right in the midst of the mortgage crisis, towards the end of 2007. I remember my mom asking me, “Do you not read the paper or know what’s going on?” During my interview, I met with Kenny Hodges, President & CEO, he explained, “[Assurance] isn’t in subprime; everything is going to be fine.” I thought to myself, you have to take a little risk in life to get the reward, and it’s been a huge reward for me since.
About six months in I started hitting my stride. There’s a ton of support here, especially during that time, since Kenny was very active in training us.
The resources have continued to grow as the company has grown. We not only underwrite, process and close our own deals, but we also service our own loans. Now we have a huge underwriting staff available to answer questions whenever we need anything.
You had no experience in the mortgage industry when you first started back in 2007. What were those early days like?
In the beginning stages, you not only have to learn but also get business at the same time, since this is a 100-percent commissioned position.
You always hear the saying, “What comes first – the chicken or the egg?” In this case, they have to both come at the same time: business and learning.
If I was able to get a prospect, between management and other loan officers, there was always someone willing to help me succeed. You also have to have the drive and determination. I have a people-pleasing trait within me as well, so I couldn’t help but work hard to ensure every deal went smoothly. It was a process obviously, but with each new deal, you learned more.
Can you describe how your independent journey at Assurance has been?
What I love about the company is there’s a lot a flexibility. We get a lot of support and encouragement from the sales front, but as far as the schedule goes, it’s very flexible; you are never micro-managed. No one ever tells you what you need to do each day, and there’s a lot of freedom. If you’re a goal-oriented person, it’s an environment where you can thrive.
Where do you see Assurance going ten years from now?
The company has grown exponentially over the past ten years, and I don’t think they’re planning to slow down. We plan to double the number of branches we have now within the next two years. I also know we plan to be licensed in almost every state within the next 15 months.
When a customer comes to you, how do you help them get what they need despite their financial circumstances or background?
Obviously, everyone is in a different place in life, so each person has unique needs.
On the front-end, I look at all of their options. I try to meet with them face-to-face if possible to show them what’s available. We’ll discuss the benefits and downsides of each option.
I always let them decide on what’s best, while also making the process as smooth and easy as possible.
If there’s any question about the file, I always research up front to avoid any problem. This is usually the biggest purchase some people will ever make, meaning there’s usually a lot of emotion involved. The last thing I want is for someone to be in a contract and we run into a problem.
We work with our back-end staff to ensure the client is satisfied, the process is smooth, and that we close on time.
What would you tell a potential recruit about why a career with Assurance Financial is worth it?
I think I am definitely a testament as to why someone should join Assurance. I came into this industry during the worst time possible, yet I still managed to be quite successful. Obviously, all the tools and resources you need to flourish here are available.
I’ve been here ten years, and I don’t even know what another company could say to recruit me away from Assurance. It’s a dream job in my opinion. You get to help people make their homeownership dreams come true. There’s a great work culture and plenty of job flexibility. It’s really the best of all worlds.