Full Transcript is Below:
– Welcome into our Top Producer Series for the month of July, 2022. I’m NFM TV’s Greg Sher. We have a really special guest here as we introduce Larry Sutton. He is the Division President of Element Home Loans, a brand new division of the NFM Family of Lenders. Larry, thank you for being with us. We’re so happy to have you at NFM Lending. Welcome
– Greg, thank you. I appreciate being here.
– We are so excited to have you and to share with the world really this new partnership that we have formed. You have been in the game for quite some time. In fact, you’ve only been at two organizations over the last 25 years.
– That’s right.
– So to join NFM that’s a big step for you. Why did you take it?
– You know, we almost came a few years ago and just the leadership at NFM, it just matches perfectly with everything we’re doing, the cultural values, the geographical impact of what we bring to the table along with NFM, it just was a perfect match. So it’s actually overdue.
– Well, you’ve got 26 offices and you helped close to 4,000 families in 2021. You’re well on your way to doing that again. You do about 800 million in volume. That’s a tremendous number and not an easy one to get to. So what’s kind of the secret that makes Element so special and so successful?
– I think it’s just a combination of the teamwork between our operations and sales team. I mean, we empower our sales associates, our branch managers, and our operations team to just do what they do best. And that is work well together. So that’s it.
– Not just that though, you’re being humble. There’s a major leadership component here and I know that you try your very best to kind of bring people up and to lift them up. So talk about that a little bit. How you’ve taken some folks who had aspirations to do more than just originate and you’ve been actually able to develop them into management.
– We do, we pride ourselves on being able to take some of our managers or loan officers even, and make them into managers and P and L owners and that sort of thing. So nothing excites us more than to promote them within and grow our people.
– You described to me when we were getting ready for this, you described Element as kind of a loan officer oasis. What does that mean?
– I think if you’re an originator today, what we do best is we put sales first and sales is just paramount in our company. We do everything from A to Z that serves as the customer in the face of the customer. So we’re processing, underwriting, closing and funding our own loans, which just empowers our loan officers to feel like they have total control, at least partnering with our operations team to get the deals from A to Z and get ’em done. So I do believe it is an oasis and we do perform, we do not miss closing dates.
– Now, that’s a big statement. And I know you support that with actual action and also marketing is important to you in your group. You guys are really out there, making it rain and sharing information with people. Tell us about your marketing efforts and if somebody joins Element, what kind of support they’ll get there.
– We’ve got our own branded marketing portal that’s obviously fueled and helped by NFM. And we’ve got a dynamic marketing leader in Charlotte that drives that for us. And so if you’re a loan officer here, there’s just not much we can’t help you with and just promote your business. When you come in on board, we just really blast you out into the community and help you get started. And just bring all that home to you with our branding.
– Well, the timing is interesting. We’re not at 2 1/2% fixed anymore. Think at the time of this recording, we’re at, I don’t know, 6 1/4, 6 1/2%. So what’s the market look like to you right now other than a little tougher?
– It’s a little tougher, but we concentrate on purchase business. We’ve always been a purchase shop, if you will. Our loan officers are street fighter loan officers. They’re getting their business from core realtors and builder relationships and past clients. And we’re still very busy. We see this as an opportunity to separate ourselves from others. And we’re just gonna keep doing what we do. And that is making people’s home ownership dreams come true.
– Well when your guys and girls are not out there fighting for business and putting their best foot forward, you guys are having a lot of fun and that’s important, right? ‘Cause this business is challenging, it is stressful. And I know you go to great lengths, you and your leadership team to also make it fun. You have an elite circle trip where you take your top producers for the year. You’ve been to some really fun places. Tell us about your culture and what is the bedrock of it?
– I think we have a special culture. We’re small enough, I still know everyone in the company and that’s nice to your point. We do celebrate our successes and our sales people’s successes when we go on the elite circle trip. Again being the size we are, we have the ability to just really underscore and focus on the success of our people. We’ve been to some really cool places lake Tahoe, Dana Point, California, Las Vegas a couple of times, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, we’ve been to Aruba. You know and really what we do is while we do a little bit of work in the celebration component of it, as far as awards, it’s mainly just serving the sales people. It’s their trip and we make it about them. But each office has their own philanthropy and the individual things they do. So I think we’ve just got a very special culture and again, it’s really nice with the size because I get to go around and see everyone and it’s just great.
– Well, I think most companies and we consider you a company within a company, have their own kind of DNA, their own kind of person that fits best with what they’ve built. What does that person kind of look like, act like, how do they carry themselves? What’s a really good fit for Element?
– I think a good fit for Element is someone that can be a self starter, that can take the training that we give and run with it. I’ve got just several examples I could name. I won’t name the names but people that have just absolutely excelled beyond anything that we would’ve ever thought. And those are the success stories that we see and it just helps to develop the culture because once they get ingrained in our system, they end up helping us develop the culture and helping others around them rise to the occasion. So it’s just kinda fun to watch it grow.
– What keeps you up at night, Larry, when it comes to the mortgage business?
– Well, I don’t worry about operations. I’ll tell you that we’ve got that nailed down. And honestly the market doesn’t keep me up at night because sometimes I’m right, sometimes you’re right, but the market’s always right. So I can’t control that. I think it’s the next 200 people I hire. We gotta make sure we do it right. So I don’t wanna make wrong hires. I think that’s something that could put us into a place we don’t wanna be.
– Well, we’re very happy to have you here finally. Thank you for putting your faith and your trust in NFM and we’re just so delighted to have you as the newest member of the NFM Family of Lenders we can’t wait to see Element Home Loans do incredible things and to be a conduit for all of that success. Larry Sutton, division president of Element Home Loans. Thank you for being with us and welcome to NFM.
– Thank you so much.
– I’m Greg Sher from NFM TV. We’ll see you again next time.