Top Loan Originators and Branch Managers at NFM Lending in Charlotte, North Carolina, Chris Taylor and Taylor Croy discuss their first year originating mortgages at NFM Lending – they talk about their initial struggles as their incredible successes. Enjoy this NFM TV interview with Greg Sher.

Full Transcript is Below:

– [Announcer] Executive leadership, industry news makers, top producer insights. This is NFM TV.

– It is that time again, Top Producer Series time, and we’re mixing it up right out of the gate. We’re going into our own cafeteria here at NFM corporate to sit down with two incredible leaders from the Charlotte, North Carolina area, Chris Taylor and Taylor Croy. Talk about starting out the new year with a bang. This is awesome. Taylor Croy, Chris Taylor from Charlotte, North Carolina. You guys got on a plane for this. Is that right?

– Always.

– [Both] Absolutely.

– That’s unbelievable. Congratulations on an amazing 2019. I know you’ve got big plans for 2020. Before we get into that, we’re going to visit the trials and tribulations of 2019, because there were quite a few. You two gentlemen have been together as co-branch managers for 18 months now. Yeah?

– Mm-hmm.

– You’ve known each other for 10 years,

– Mm-hmm.

– But it wasn’t always smooth. We’re going to talk about the numbers you ended the year with, but there were some really bumpy, bumpy things that occurred during the year. Talk about your journey, Taylor, from the beginning of 2019 to where you ended up.

– Well, production grew by probably 300%. That’s the quick synopsis.

– [Greg] Yeah.

– Chris and I, as you said, we partnered almost two years ago, and we had a vision of the direction we wanted to go, but it doesn’t always happen instantly. So we made a few mistakes, had to adjust a few things, had to invest in our team, and it finally started to take off. Right, so spring time of this year, we added some key components, some good people and production has consistently grown ever since.

– Yeah, and there were some really tough decisions to make too when it came to personnel. Being a branch manager comes with a lot of responsibility, comes a lot of upside too, but the downside is that you’ve got to make very tough decisions. What was that like in kind of gutting it out and starting from scratch again, rebuilding?

– Well, it was really a check on for us.

– Yeah.

– We had to basically look at what we had in place, and look at where we want it to go, and determine how are we going to get there. And the answer to that is you have to have a foundation. Strong foundation starts with processors LOAs, and once all that is in place in NFM’s fulfillment team, everything else runs smoothly. So then we were able to go out and get LOs that could produce and build our team out, and get to where we are now.

– And that really impresses me by the way. So numbers wise, you guys were doing three to four million a month pretty consistently, but you ended the year, some months, 8 million, some months, 11 million, anywhere in between. That’s a tremendous jump up, and I know that you attribute a lot of that to the people you were able to attract, which is the hardest thing for any branch manager to do in the midst of their own production. And making sure loans are tight on the front and back, then to bring in loan officers and give them enough value to be able to see, and you’ve been able to do that.

– You’ve got three or four producers that are doing one to three million right now. Just walk us through that. What’s the value proposition that’s allowing you to land such incredible talent?

– I think we just had to take a minute to assess what is it that top producers don’t have? Because most top producers at any organization, have the same, a lot of the same skills. They have the support, they have the technology that, you know, a lot of companies are offering the same stuff. We all have the same products. What most top producers don’t have is time. And when Chris and I joined, when we partnered, that was one of the key components to it. And we’re both, we both have families. He has three kids, I have one, hopefully more to come. We value our realtors and our clients and those relationships very deeply. But we also value our families and those relationships. And we both were at a point in our careers where we realized that those two things were conflicting, and that’s where we were able to help each other, is to give each other the… You know, our realtors and clients still get the 24/7 service they’re used to, but we’re able to step away when we need to, to be with our families. And so it took us a minute to realize that, wow, that’s why we came together, and that’s why our lives have gotten better, so let’s, let’s start teaching other people about that.

– That’s helped you get traction with bringing in LOs, offering enough support

– Yes. to give them back balance of life. Yeah, work life balance?

– [Both] Absolutely.

– Yeah, and we’ve set up our own process so that, I mean, when you talk to an LO that’s doing well, the answer is always the same. What’s important to you? Money, right?

– Yeah.

– Less stress, dealing with underwriting, dealing with closing. “Hey, I’ve had a loan fall apart “at the end, and I can’t close on time.” Whatever the case may be, we’ve set up and been able to set up with NFM’s help, a process, an environment that allows mortgage sales professionals to plug in and hit all their goals, be successful, take the stress off of their plate, and go out and crush it.

– From an administrative standpoint, you’ve removed all those layers.

– Right.

– You’re handling all the nuances once the sale is made, and the relationships built obviously.

– Right, right.

– Where they can know that the loan’s gonna get to settlement. You don’t have to babysit.

– Exactly.

– Well, well both actually from the administrative standpoint, but also on the front end. We encourage our people to enjoy life. Inevitably, a phone call comes in from a realtor, “Hey, I’m really sorry I’ve got this client. “We need a preapproval ’cause we just saw a house.” Right, it happens all the time. Well, if you’re the only person that handles that, then you have a decision to make, “Am I passing this on to some other loan officer, “or am I going to, you know, and have dinner with my family. “Or am I going to step away from my family?” Well that’s ridiculous. That doesn’t need to happen. We have a team of 11 people, soon to be 13. Inevitably somebody is not sitting at the dinner table with their family. That’s the culture that we create, and that’s the people we bring in. Is if this occurs, you simply raise your hand, right? You shoot out the text, “Hey guys, who can knock this out for me?” Someone’s going to handle it. We’ve done this all the time where I’m, I’m driving, I talk to a client, I have a 20 minute conversation with them. I know exactly what they’re looking to do. I send them to the website to apply, and he logs on at home, and he knocks out the preapproval and sends it to him. And you know, life is good. It’s front end help and back end help. Now that’s the piece you’re touching on is look, consult your clients, make sure that you know their goals, give them the best programs and the options to choose from to accomplish that. Once they’re under contract, put it in the pipe and move on.

– That’s a rosy picture, yeah?

– Yeah.

– Of you two contributing to knocking it out of the park. But it’s been said by many that partnerships, especially partnerships among friends, are very challenging and don’t work out. What do you think about that, and how do you balance that out? ‘Cause I’m sure there are moments and times where you don’t agree?

– Right.

– It happens, yeah.

– There were always times that you don’t agree with, with the person you work with, with your wife, but it comes down to commitment, right? You’re committed to your spouse. I’m committed to Taylor as my business partner, and through thick and thin ups and downs, you both share that same vision and goals, and you know, on a daily basis that things are going to get rocky, but you have each other’s back. And that’s what’s most important. And that’s what we share with our team, with new recruits. “Hey, you’re not joining a company that’s going “to leave you out to do your own thing. “We’re here to bring you into our team and our family, “and we’re all going to support you and have your back.” That’s what it’s all about.

– That’s an incredible vision I would imagine, and I want to touch on this last layer of evolution for the loan officers. ‘Cause you’ve talked about the value proposition for them, balance of life, being able to trust the loan process, but there are some loan officers that want to take it to the next level. They want to be in your seats, they want to learn how to grow and lead. Is that part of this vision that you have for the next chapter? And when does that occur?

– Absolutely.

– No question. It occurs at the very beginning. When we’re just talking to someone, we ask them where they are right now in their journey, and where they want to go. And you know, we can’t help coach, and train, and things like that if we don’t know their desired destination. ‘Cause everyone’s is different. But we’re very transparent, and we bring people in, and whether they want to ultimately be a manager, or a, you know, run their own branch or what, we still teach them the things as if that’s where they wanted to go. We explain the margins, we explain the expenses. We show them all of that, so that way they can respect what we’re trying to do as a team, and understand each decision they make impacts everyone as a team. From the loan officer standpoint all the way up.

– It also has them look at things differently, so if they’re ever in your seat, which hopefully they will be.

– That’s right.

– They will already have had a nice course or two on learning those fundamentals. That’s so important, yeah?

– That’s right.

– Absolutely.

– Really glad you guys took the time to jump on a plane from Charlotte to come up to Baltimore. It’s always great to have you here. We wanted to do something a little more casual, a little more…

– This was nice.

– It’s a little more chill. So this is a great way to start 2020. We wish you just the most greatest success. We know that you’re headin’ to the moon, so we look forward to watching that ride and being alongside.

– Thank you.

– Appreciate your time.

– We appreciate all the help and support.

– Thanks buddy.

– At this time, you smile. Come on let’s give it to me, all right, excellent. They do smile, I promise. They’re not all business. All right. I’m Greg Sher from NFM TV. This has been January’s edition of the Top Producer Series. We will see you next time, thanks.