The journey from rookie loan officer to top producer may seem like a long road, but Mortgage Loan Originator Cynthia Lewis speaks to OVM Financial’s contribution to her continued growth and success. Here’s her story:
What about the behind the scenes action?
Cynthia: Absolutely, I’ve worked with a big lender, I’ve worked at a bank, I’ve worked for a broker, and I’ve worked at a direct lender, such as, OVM. I can honestly say, (not just because I’m employed here) OVM has been the easiest place, as far as, operations are concerned. There’s nothing better than to be able to e-mail your underwriting manager if you have a question, and she legitimately will respond in a reasonable amount of time.
On top of that, it’s not a two to three-day response time it’s literally a few minutes. To be able to ask your processing manager for support, or even in extreme cases, to be able to knock on your CEO’s door and say “Hey, I really need your help with something” is so valuable. From what I’ve experienced, operation-wise OVM has probably one of the best support systems.
At most companies, it is always operations versus sales, but I think we have a nice marriage of the two. You never feel like one is against the other. We always feel like we work together, and I think that’s what helps to make for any smooth process.
You know, it’s very rare that your underwriter and your processor understand that this is not a file, but there is a person attached to this, and there’s a person that you’re attached to, attached to this file. They work very hard to make sure that you’re able to do what you said you were going to do: Get that borrower in that home and close that loan in a timely fashion. I really appreciate the operations department and the culture of the operations department here.
We’ll start with an easy question: How did you begin working in the mortgage industry?
Cynthia: I started working in the mortgage industry shortly after I graduated college in 2003. My father encouraged me to begin working in the business. I wanted to be a real estate agent, but he didn’t think that was the best path for me. So, I made some calls, and I bumped into another loan officer that works here now, Russell Kesterson. At the time, he was working at Countrywide. I gave him my resume, went in for an interview, and it was history after that.
Nice, and what did the first year look like when you were ramping up your business? Walk us through that time period.
Cynthia: Absolutely, my personal story is a little different. When I started working in the mortgage business, I came in during the boom, and then I came into a subprime refinance market. So, my first couple years were phenomenal. I’m clearly a facade to what the industry really is like. It was simply answer the phone a few times and you were going to get a deal. So initially it was great, and then of course, the crash happened and that is where the rubber really met the road in my personal career.
That’s when I basically rebranded myself, and even though I knew how to do mortgages, I had to learn this business all over. I came out of a refinance market and went into a purchase market. It went from just answering the phone to making calls, talking to agents, and getting them to utilize me. That required me to be able to effectively communicate my service offerings and explain what made me different from the competition. To me, that’s when my real career started. Those first few years were kind of tough. I didn’t have a mentorship program. I really didn’t have anyone saying go left, or go right, don’t do this…So everything for me was trial and error, but I don’t regret it because it made me a stronger loan officer.